Understanding Your Rights To Claim Expenses and Other Damages After a Personal Injury

personal injury lawyerYou may wonder what types of damages you can claim if you experience a personal injury due to an accident involving a car, slip-and-fall or other incident involving someone else’s negligence. It is possible to collect damages from among three categories, as a personal injury lawyer in Trenton, NJ, like from Davis & Brusca, can explain.

Special Damages

You can seek reimbursement for various expenses and economic losses directly resulting from a personal injury, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Wage losses
  • Physical therapy fees
  • Prescription expenses
  • Mobility aide purchases
  • Car rental fees or transportation costs 

Gathering medical records and receipts is necessary to collect the financial damages you seek. When filing a claim through another party’s insurance policy, you must expect to provide legitimate documentation for all your expenses to the adjuster representing the insurer. If you are working with your insurance provider, as you might after a car accident in a no-fault state, you will still need to offer proof for all the expenses you hope to recoup.

General Damages

It can be difficult to assign values to some types of damages, but that should not disqualify you from claiming them under the right circumstances. Pain and suffering are among the most common types of general damages that individuals seek following a personal injury. These damages provide compensation for subjective reduction to life quality due to pain, disfigurement, functional loss, depression, sexual incapacity and other life changes after an accident. Individuals may pre-determine the value of general damages they plan to seek. They have the best chance for obtaining compensation by providing an insurer or judge with supportive documentation or testimony, including:

  • A personal statement describing an accident’s impact on your life
  • Family and friends’ observations of the accident’s effects on you
  • A mental health professional’s statement asserting your emotional state
  • A doctor’s statement describing your physical pain or long-term limitations

Depending upon the type of case you have, you may need to initiate a separate lawsuit to claim pain and suffering damages.

Punitive Damages

Most personal injury cases do not involve punitive damages. Still, for those that go to trial, judges sometimes award these damages to punish parties whose reckless behaviors lead to other peoples’ injuries. Circumstances under which a judge may require punitive damages include:

  • Violent behavior with intent to harm or kill
  • Gross disregard for public safety
  • Malicious liable 
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Clear recklessness and carelessness

In most cases, punitive damages do not exceed four times the combined value of special and general damages.

The aftermath of an accident can be a confusing time. Contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can help you determine the expenses you can claim and all the damages you should seek.