Personal Injury 101: What Damages Can Injured Victims Recover?

Personal Injury 101: What Damages Can Injured Victims Recover?

Personal injury claims are civil legal actions brought by victims who have suffered injuries as a result of negligent or wrongful acts. Because unforeseen injuries can create a number of setbacks and challenges for victims and their loved ones, our civil justice system recognizes their need for holding at-fault parties accountable for negligence, and financially liable for the various losses victims suffer as a result.

One of the most important things to understand when you are exploring your right to file a personal injury claim and recover financial compensation for your damages is that every case is different. Because all accidents, injuries, and their impact on victims can vary in scope and severity, recoverable damages are dependent on the unique facts of a case. Generally, however, victims are eligible to recover their economic and non-economic damages, and in some cases may also recover punitive damages.

  • Economic Damages – Injuries have a direct impact on the financial well-being of victims, as well as their loved ones. That’s because injuries require medical treatment which can range from non-invasive care and chiropractic to major surgery and long-term recoveries, in addition to the financial losses injuries and physical recoveries can create indirectly. As such, personal injury lawsuits allow victims to recover all economic damages directly incurred as a result of their accidents and injuries, including their medical expenses, lost income caused by time away from work, costs to repair property damage (including damaged vehicles), psychological treatment, and more. For seriously injured victims who may have long-term if not life-long needs, recovering future damages for things like ongoing medical care, daily living assistance, therapy, and accommodative needs is just as important as recovering past economic damages. Our attorneys make it a point to fully account for the past financial losses our clients incurred, as well as any future economic needs required as a result of their injuries.
  • Non-Economic Damages – Non-economic damages are different from economic damages in that they do not have fixed or verifiable financial sums attached to them. These damages cover the intangible injuries and losses victims experience, including their physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of quality or enjoyment of life, loss of limbs or physical senses, various impairments that impact their lives, and other emotional injuries. In some cases, particularly those involving serious injuries or wrongful death, certain family members may also be eligible to recover non-economic damages they experience as a result of accidents and injuries suffered by their loved ones, including their grief and mental anguish, loss of consortium, loss of emotional support, and more. Non-economic damages can exceed economic damages in terms of how severe and profoundly victims suffer, and they must be taken into account in order to secure the full and fair amount of compensation victims deserve.
  • Punitive Damages – While economic and non-economic damages comprise the bulk of damages victims typically recover in personal injury cases, there may be some cases where punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are awarded. These damages are punitive in nature, which means they are intended more as a means for punishing defendants who commit egregious acts of negligence or wrongdoing, and are not awarded in every case.

Although there are legal pathways for pursuing a recovery of these damages, they are never guaranteed, nor are they automatically fair, full, and immediately awarded to victims in need. That’s due to the fact that defendants (and the insurance providers who often represent them in personal injury cases) have the right to challenge any allegations made by victims they have allegedly harmed. In many cases, especially those involving insurance companies who represent policy holders, large corporations with financial interests in protecting their bottom line, and cases where awards for damages can be extensive, these defendants will aggressively fight to pay as little as possible, if anything at all.

Because victims have the burden of proving their injuries were more likely than not (the burden of proof in civil cases) caused by another’s negligent or wrongful conduct, and because insurance companies and corporations often prioritize profits over people, it becomes vital that victims seek the support and representation they need to level the playing field and fight for the compensation they deserve.

Our Denver personal injury Lawyers at Elkus & Sisson, PC have more than 15 years of experience fighting on behalf of injured victims during some of the most difficult times in their lives – particularly after they suffer preventable injuries as a result of motor vehicle accidents, defective products, negligent property owners, and other situations involving negligence. Because we know our clients depend on compensation to make them whole and to cover their economic and non-economic damages, we fight to secure full and fair compensation in any way possible – whether that means diligent and insight-driven negotiations to reach out-of-court settlements, or litigating aggressively for favorable verdicts at trial. When you’ve suffered harm that could and should have been prevented, you can be confident about placing your trust in our caring, compassionate, and experienced team of personal injury lawyers.

To discuss a potential personal injury case and learn more about your right to compensation, contact us to request an initial consultation.