Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

types of damages personal injury lawsuit

As a plaintiff in a personal injury case, you may be entitled to seek damages, or compensation for injuries, property damage, or other losses. This compensation can be sought directly from the person or entity that caused these losses or contributed to them, or through their insurance company. There are three general types of damages you can seek in a personal injury lawsuit — Non-Economic/General, Economic, and Punitive damages. As an experienced Los Angeles injury attorney, we help clients with all of these; below is an overview of what each of these can entail.


Damages in a personal injury claim don’t always involve things that can be quantified as a direct dollar amount. Monetary awards for non-economic damages vary from case to case. The individual’s type of job, lifestyle, and prior injuries can factor into the compensation they receive. Unique to your case, general damages can include:

  1. Pain and Suffering: If you’ve lived with pain and discomfort due to an accident, personal injury lawyers can seek fair compensation for having to deal with it on a day-to-day basis. For minor injuries with a short recovery time, the compensation may equal around half your medical damages; severe injuries involving lifetime impairments can qualify you for much higher amounts.
  2. Physical Impairment: Includes major impacts to your life such as brain damage, paralysis, or scarring as well as loss of vision or a limb. If you can no longer do favorite activities, the legal system can compensate you with impairment, loss of use, or loss of enjoyment damages.
  3. Emotional Distress: After being injured in an accident, victims often suffer from anxiety, fear, loss of sleep, depression, and other emotional issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder. There’s no formula to calculate emotional trauma. An injury lawyer can help determine a fair amount.
  4. Loss of Reputation: If the injury or accident negatively impacted your reputation, or your reputability was harmed by what someone said about you or your business, your attorney can pursue a monetary amount commensurate with the harm that was caused.

Economic Damages

Are awarded to personal injury victims to compensate for financial losses associated with injuries and their effects. These special damages can cover various types of expenses with no limits on the types of claims or the amount that can be claimed. Common economic damages include:

  1. Loss of Income: A lost wages claim can factor in your loss of earnings in the short term and your potential to earn in the future. Lost earning capacity can be gauged in the form of salary, wages, bonuses, promotions, commissions, retirement contributions, or any aspects of your career outlook that may have changed.
  2. Medical Expenses: Medical losses only begin with emergency room bills. You can be compensated for all medical costs, including care by any medical professional, diagnostic testing, surgery, physical therapy, rehabilitation, use of mobility devices, and home health care. Treatment supplies and medication are included as well.
  3. Property Damage: Reimbursement for the cost of damage to your vehicle, home, or personal belongings if the loss was due to an accident caused by an at-fault party. To value your claim, your attorney will determine the current market value of your damaged property and add it to your total damages.
  4. Personal Care Cost: The costs of in-home care can be quite expensive, especially if a personal injury victim requires round-the-clock care. For most people, this is a financial burden that they cannot afford, especially if professional live-in assistance is needed over the long term.
  5. Legal Fees: The cost of hiring a lawyer, traveling to legal offices, and funding various steps of the case (including gathering evidence, consulting expert witnesses, etc.) can be compensated for. You can even factor in missed time at work due to handling legal affairs.

Punitive Damages

Intended to punish the defendant for their behavior, conduct, or criminal acts, punitive damages are quite rare. The general idea is to prevent others from engaging in such conduct. Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the defendant’s behavior was extremely malicious or reprehensible, including acts of financial fraud, aggravated battery, sexual assault, and other extreme means of intentional harm. Juries have also awarded them against product manufacturers and other parties in prescription drug and defective product cases.

Contact the Law Offices of Jacob Emrani

Jacob Emrani provides high-quality representation for clients in all types of personal injury cases and has recovered millions of dollars in damages. One of the most trusted personal injury attorneys in Santa Monica, San Bernardino, Palm Springs, and throughout Southern California, he will fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve. To learn more about our practice areas, continue browsing to read Jacob Emrani reviews and see the results we’ve achieved. Call 888-952-2952 for a free consultation by our Los Angeles injury attorney.

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