What Types of Damages Can Be Awarded In a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New Jersey?

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What Are the Different Types of Damages?

Common types of damages awarded in personal injury cases include compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees. If you were harmed as a result of someone else's negligence, such as in a car accident, a slip and fall, or a workplace injury, you might be able to recover damages to compensate you for your losses. Damages, according to Wikipedia, are a "remedy in the form of a monetary award to be paid to a claimant as compensation for loss or injury." Damages are awarded for various reasons, depending on the facts of the case and the liable party's carelessness or purposefully reckless behavior. It might be a kind of restitution, a punishment, or both. Medical bills, missed pay, and pain and suffering are examples of this. Below, our attorneys have discussed the different types of damages victims of personal injuries can look to recover when they file a personal injury claim. 

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are awarded to victims who suffer due to another person's negligence or wrongdoing. Victims and their attorneys are pursuing compensation for injuries and losses through a personal injury lawsuit. Victims try to get this money from the people who are legally obligated to compensate them. This responsibility is often referred to as liability by lawyers.

The primary purpose of a lawsuit is to recover compensation for victims, and compensatory damages reflect that goal. Lawyers use this word to describe the various sorts of compensation victims should receive as remuneration for the physical, emotional, and financial harm they have experienced. 

If you were injured because someone else was negligent, you could receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Punitive Damages

The primary goal of a personal injury case is to reimburse victims for their injuries and losses. That is not all they do, though. Suing someone for a personal injury can often have a secondary goal of expressly punishing the party who damaged you and preventing that party, and others, from repeating such damaging behavior.

Usually, suing someone can serve as a punishment and deterrent in and of itself. The party you sue is ordinarily responsible for the costs of defending themselves against your claim, which includes hiring a lawyer, devoting time and effort to pre-trial discovery, and dealing with the stress of facing legal and financial culpability for harming you. That is why the mere prospect of being sued is sufficient.

Injured parties can petition for punitive damages, but the decision to pay them is up to a judge or jury's discretion. Punitive damages are rarely an absolute right for the harmed party. Punitive damages can only be awarded in conjunction with other types of damages and not on their own. All other damages, such as compensatory and restitution damages, must be paid before punitive damages, which must be paid last.

Attorney Fees

Attorney fees are awarded to prevailing parties in civil cases. Attorney fees are usually paid by the losing party. If you win a case, you may be entitled to recover attorney fees. If you do not prevail, you cannot collect attorney fees.

Attorneys who represent plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits typically charge contingent fee agreements. In these agreements, attorneys agree to accept a percentage of any award or settlement as payment for legal services rendered.

How Can a Victim Recover Personal Injury Damages

The victim must show a legally recognized harm, such as physical injuries to the victim (i.e., serious physical injuries) or property damage, in order to receive damages (i.e., property damage to a vehicle after a car accident). The person to whom the defendant owed a duty of care must pay the losses as a result of the defendant's breach and failing to exercise reasonable care.

In order to get the greatest potential result in a personal injury case, the victim must successfully prove negligence. It's critical to have an experienced, competent personal injury attorney on your side if you want to get the most money out of your case. A team of personal injury attorneys can show blame, culpability, and negligence of the at-fault party by demonstrating liability, causation (that the accident caused the injuries complained of), future and current damages, and other relevant issues. This is important in order to maximize the damages sought by their client. There are numerous sorts of negligence that can affect your claim and the amount of money you receive in the end.

Types of Negligence 

Negligence is defined as "the failure to use reasonable care under the circumstances." Negligent acts include failing to act reasonably, failing to follow safety rules, and failing to warn about hazards.

Comparative Negligence -

Comparative negligence is a legal concept where each party's fault must be compared to determine who should pay what amount of money to the injured person.

If you were hurt because someone else was negligent, you could sue that person for compensation. However, if you were equally or more responsible for your injuries, you would not be able to collect any money.

This means that if you were driving your car and hit by another driver, they might be liable for paying for your medical bills. But if you were also speeding, distracted, or drunk, you might be held accountable for the accident.

Contributory Negligence -

Contributory negligence is a legal defense that allows defendants to avoid liability for injuries or damage caused by their actions.

If you were injured because someone else was negligent, you could sue that person for compensation. However, if you were also negligent, you cannot collect any money from that defendant.

This means that if you were partially responsible for causing your own injury, you should not receive any money from the defendant.

Modified Comparative Negligence -

Modified Comparative Negligence contains characteristics of both comparative and contributory negligence. The basic rule is that an injured plaintiff can obtain damages if they are not found to be more than 50% at fault for their injuries. According to USLegal, "recovery will be reduced by the percentage of negligence" as long as it does not exceed the 50 percent rule.

Gross Negligence -

Gross negligence is when the defendant's acts and behavior demonstrate a full disregard for the safety of others, or when their actions are regarded to be reckless and, in certain situations, intentional; this is distinct from ordinary negligence, in which the defendant did not want to hurt another person.

This is a classic example of a circumstance in which the plaintiff may be granted punitive damages in order to punish the defendant and deter others from participating in similar behavior in the future.

Vicarious Negligence -

Vicarious negligence includes the actions of another person or animal under their care and supervision, which underpins this sort of carelessness. Examples include situations in which a little kid or a household pet, such as a dog, injures another person, in which case the parents or owners could be held liable for any subsequent injuries or damages.

For example, a doctor does not have vicarious liability for malpractice committed by his nurse, nor does a lawyer have vicarious liability for negligent acts committed by his secretary. But if you were injured while visiting a hospital, you might be able to sue the hospital for vicarious negligence.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Recover Damages?

Following an accident, you will almost certainly suffer significant financial losses, many of which you might claim as special damages in your personal injury claim. A personal injury lawyer can help you calculate your damages and strengthen your claim so that you get the best legal remedy possible. This can be done by a mutually agreed-upon settlement or, if required, through court-ordered litigation. People who have been injured by negligent parties may be entitled to compensation from those parties.

Compensatory damages and punitive damages, as well as the process for receiving them, can often be complicated and time-consuming. As a result, it is better to leave the legal process of a personal injury claim to an It'srienced personal injury attorney. It's far too essential to put your future in the hands of chance. Take action and confront those whose irresponsible behavior has resulted in serious injury to you or the wrongful death and loss of a loved one.

If you have been a victim of a personal injury, contact our personal injury attorneys at Garden State Justice Group today for a free consultation. Our legal team can analyze your case and discuss all the potential damages that are available to recover through filing a lawsuit. 

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Shane Sullivan, Esq.
Date Published: February 18, 2022
Shane Sullivan, Esq. is a New Jersey Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer that represents those who were injured or the family's of those killed by the negligence of others in personal injury lawsuits throughout New Jersey.
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