Understanding Personal Injury Damages and Entitlement

There is a level of rage that accompanies accident victims, especially when the injuries sustained were avoidable. Unfortunately, the anger or disappointment you feel does not equate to entitlement for a financial award. Granted, to the layperson, if you are not at-fault for the accident that resulted in your injuries, you deserve compensation, but that does not mean you can legally prove liability. There are many legal hurdles to jump over in a personal injury claim, and if you are successful, then you may recoup some of your financial losses. However, the best way to give yourself a leg up is to hire a personal injury attorney who can help you define your losses in terms of negligence and damages.

Compensatory Damages

Proving a person or entity’s negligence led to your injuries is only half the battle; you must also put your injuries in financial and provable legal terms for a court to side with your argument. Compensatory damages are the most common form of losses presented to a court. You can divide these damages into categories of concrete and abstract injuries. Tangible losses include medical bills, property damage receipts and lost wages, which are all reasonably easy to prove through pictures and documentation. Abstract losses, alternatively, include pain and suffering and other psychological forms of trauma, which are more challenging to prove without the use of expert witnesses, like psychiatrists or psychologists.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages don’t often appear in personal injury claims because they imply a level of implicit or intentional action that led to the accident and your injuries. It is difficult to prove intent in most cases, but not impossible, if true. However, the evidence must be substantial for a court to punish the defendant for an accident, which is what you are seeking when you file punitive damages, punishment for your injuries. Make sure that, before moving forward with such charges, you have evidence to support your claim because if you don’t, you may hurt your entire case.

While you may deserve compensation for your injuries, do not confuse that feeling with entitlement. You still need to prove your claim and convince others that you are not equally liable for the accident. If you wish to move forward with a lawsuit, then contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim and a potential strategy moving forward. You want to have your claim in order before filing against an insurer or other party.