Damages 101: What Damages Can You Ask For?


Personal injury lawsuits always revolve around compensation for some kind of loss that the plaintiff suffered. This is always due to the defendant’s wrongful conduct. In a personal injury case, the plaintiff seeks monetary compensation for his or her medical expenses, loss of wages and other damages. When it comes time to determine how much a case is worth, you have to know what types of damages you can ask for. Here are the three main types of damages that you find with personal injury lawsuits.


Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are the least specific of all damages. These are damages that seek to punish the defendant for his or her negligent conduct. Now, in this case, the plaintiff has to meet a burden of proof that is extremely high. Each state handles these damages different and you may even face a cap on punitive damages. Now, if you do receive punitive damages, then these will not exceed the compensatory damages. If you are awarded high punitive damages, keep in mind that the defendant will probably appeal the decision. In this case, the award may be lowered.


Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are specific and quantifiable. Compensatory is the most concrete of the damages that you might seek. These are solid dollar amounts for property damage, lost income and medical care. With the documents provided to an attorney, he or she can usually determine what the dollar amount is. This is based on injury and property damage.


General Damages

General damages are less specific than compensatory damages. This might include pain and suffering and mental anguish. In addition, it may include any future lost wages and medical care. For instance, some injuries may force you to find a different occupation or you may have to cut your hours on a long-term basis. There may also be medical costs that spring up later as a result of your injury. This is what general damages covers. The court does take a few factors about the plaintiff into account to make the decision. These factors include income, occupation, age and the permanency of the injuries.


If you’re prepared to file a personal injury lawsuit, then it’s important that you know the types of damages you will be asking for. If you understand the damages, then you can also help decide how much compensation you should ask for. Consult with a personal injury lawyer, like a Memphis personal injury lawyer, to assist with your lawsuit and to aid you in deciding the types of damages you deserve.


Thanks to Wiseman Bray, PLLC for their insight into personal injury claims.