Damages Available in Personal Injury Claims
Damages is a term used to refer to what an injury victim is entitled to recover for their losses. In some cases, people or entities engage in conduct or take actions that are negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful to others. When injuries result in these situations, the injury victims have the legal right to seek damages or compensation for their losses. They can file a lawsuit against all of the responsible parties to obtain a monetary settlement or award designed to “make them whole” after the losses they have sustained in their accident.
Arizona law contains no limitations on the damages that individuals can seek in personal injury or wrongful death suits. It is essential to confer with an experienced personal injury attorney for advice on what losses you may be entitled to recover after an accident to “make you whole.”
Types of Damages
Damages generally fall into two separate categories: economic and non-economic. These types of damages are typically available to injury victims in personal injury cases.
An economic award represents a specific financial loss the injury victim suffered due to the negligence of the other parties. Common economic damages include:
- Medical bills already incurred to treat the injury.
- Future medical bills that will be necessary to treat the injury.
- Lost wages or income when the injury made you unable to work.
- Future loss of income if you are permanently unable to work or cannot return to work full-time.
You usually must provide documentation of economic loses through bills or other forms of written proof. For example, medical bills, wage statements, and future income projections all can help prove your entitlement to an economic recovery.
Non-economic damages are intangible losses not explicitly tied to a particular financial loss. You will not be able to produce a bill to justify this type of expense. Instead, these damages represent other losses that are far more difficult to quantify in dollars and cents.
In personal injury cases, the parties often refer to non-economic losses as those for emotional distress, pain and suffering, or mental anguish. This type or recovery is not necessarily present in every personal injury case. In some cases, settlements or awards will include an amount for non-economic damages that is some multiple of the amount of the economic award.
Losses in Wrongful Death Cases
Arizona law (A.R.S. § 12-612) determines which parties can receive damages in a wrongful death case, as well as the distribution of those damages. Damages in a wrongful death case compensate both the victim’s estate for the injuries suffered before death and the surviving family members for their losses resulting from the victim’s death.
The victim’s estate may be able to collect damages in a wrongful death case as follows:
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Final medical expenses.
- Pain and suffering experienced before death.
- Property damage.
Surviving family members can collect other types of damages in a wrongful death suit, including:
- Loss of the value of household services that the deceased previously performed.
- Loss of current and future income for the household.
- Loss of care, companionship or consortium, and guidance.
- Pain and suffering.
Get the Legal Assistance You Deserve After Suffering Severe Injuries
If another person has caused you or a loved one to suffer a catastrophic injury, you may claim compensation. An injury attorney at Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A. can represent your interests and put you in the best possible position to achieve the maximum available compensation for your claim. Call our offices today at 602-530-8400 or reach out to us online to set up a time to talk to us about your case.