How are damages determined in a personal injury case? First, it is important to note that damages can only be determined after the first three elements of a tort (duty, breach, and causation) are established. Only then can an injured party be compensated for the damages sustained as a result of the act or omission of the wrongdoer.
What Do Damages Include?
Damages typically include any or all of the following:
- Medical expenses – doctors’ fees, ambulance, hospitalization costs, medication costs, outpatient services.
- Rehabilitation therapy – cost of physical therapy or other services to assist an injured person to return to the same or similar physical condition they were in prior to the negligent act or omission. If the injury prevents the injured party from working in their normal trade or occupation, then this could include the costs of training for a new occupation.
- Pain and suffering – compensation for the pain and suffering that an injured party is caused to endure as a result of the injury.
- Lost wages – wages and earnings which would have been earned by the injured party had the injury not occurred.
- Punitive damages – assessed against irresponsible or reckless behavior to prevent similar behavior from the wrongdoer in the future, and to deter others from acting similarly.
In many personal injury lawsuits, expert witnesses are retained to assist in determining the amount of damages sustained by an injured party and to present this evidence to a jury. Jurors are strongly influenced by expert testimony. Recent studies indicate that monetary awards are significantly higher when expert witnesses are called on to testify in a jury trial.
Determining the exact value of damages in a personal injury case can be complicated. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know how to calculate these damages and how to get the maximum return from insurance companies. They will also know the appropriate expert witnesses to call on in order to ensure a maximum return.
If you live in West Virginia or the Southern Ohio region and have suffered a personal injury that deserves compensation, please contact Jim Leach, L.C., today to arrange a consultation.