What are the 3 Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

3 types of personal injury damages

A civil lawsuit is a court-based process where the plaintiff (injured party) can seek to hold the defendant (negligent party) liable for some type of harm or wrongful act. The plaintiff is almost always seeking financial compensation for the losses they suffered as a result of the defendant’s wrongful conduct.

Plaintiffs should have an experienced Washington State personal injury by their side to file their personal injury lawsuit in the state’s civil court system. While injury lawyers will always attempt to settle cases out of court or through arbitration, they will try a case in court if a settlement cannot be reached out of court.

What are damages?

Personal injury damages are the monetary compensation awarded to a claimant for the harm they have suffered because of the negligent, reckless, or intentional action of the negligent party. When determining the value of a claim, personal injury lawyers will factor in the plaintiff’s age, health status before the accident, occupation, income, as well as the severity and permanency of the injuries. Damages are usually grouped into one of three categories.

What are the 3 Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

When a personal injury lawyer assesses the value of a claim, they use the three types of damages in a personal injury lawsuit as a guide. It is important to understand that some types of damages are more common than others.

Here are the three types of damages in a personal injury lawsuit:

  1. Economic / compensatory damages

Economic or compensatory damages are the easiest to identify and calculate because they are based on monetary losses. Personal injury lawyers gather documents during the litigation phase that help them calculate all economic losses suffered by their client. Some common examples of economic damages are medical bills, lost wages and future capacity to earn, property damage, disability costs, and any other out-of-pocket costs related to the injury.

  1. Non-economic / general damages

In addition to economic damages, non-economic damages are sought in a personal injury lawsuit to compensate victims for non-economic losses. Non-economic damages are not usually as specific or easy to calculate as compensatory damages, requiring skilled lawyers to use their expertise to come to a reasonable sum for these losses. Some examples of non-economic damages are pain and suffering, depression, emotional distress, mental anguish, post-traumatic stress disorder, loss of society and companionship, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.

  1. Punitive / exemplary damages

Punitive damages are meant to hold defendant’s who committed particularly egregious or malicious acts accountable for their actions by penalizing them with an additional monetary settlement amount. Punitive damages are also meant to serve as a deterrent to others from engaging in the same wrongful actions. Exemplary damages are the most challenging damages to win because of the high burden the plaintiff must meet. Some states cap or prohibit punitive damages altogether. In addition to the high burden of proof, it is common for the defendant to appeal large punitive damages, often resulting in a reduction of the punitive damages by the higher appellate court.

Does Washington State allow punitive damages?

In Washington State, punitive damages are not typically awarded but there are numerous statutory exceptions where punitive damages may be allowed.

Your personal injury attorney will be able to assess the particulars of your case and calculate what a reasonable settlement would be for your injuries and losses and then get to work fighting for a full and fair settlement on your behalf.

The Seattle Personal Injury Lawyers You Want on Your Side

The personal injury attorneys at Tinker Law Firm have been winning birth injury, medical malpractice, and personal injury cases for individuals and their loved ones in Seattle and across Washington State since 1974. We seek justice for injury victims who have been harmed by preventable medical errors, and the negligent or abusive actions of another. Our clients pay no fees or expenses to file a personal injury claim; our firm advances out-of-pocket expenses and is only reimbursed when we recover a settlement on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims in Washington State have a statute of limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time from the date of the injury.

Call us now at 206-842-1000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled and experienced injury attorneys.