If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, the three types of damages you can seek are economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. A personal injury lawyer with our firm can identify the awards owed to you and help you seek fair compensation for your losses.
What Damages Can You Recover for a Personal Injury?
Personal injury cases can involve three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic and non-economic damages are the most common awards. Together, they are called “compensatory” damages. Courts award punitive damages (also called “exemplary” damages) more rarely.
Economic damages are the actual, out-of-pocket expenses you have incurred (or will incur) because of your accident and personal injury. These damages are measurable using bills, receipts, invoices, pay stubs, and estimates. In general, economic compensation may include the following:
- Medical treatment: Your medical bills will likely make up much of your economic damages, especially if you or your loved one suffered a severe or catastrophic injury. You can seek current and future medical expenses, including the cost of emergency transportation, emergency services, hospital and doctor fees, medical procedures, medications, medical equipment, physical therapy, and extended nursing.
- Lost income: If you miss work because of your injury, you can seek your back pay and lost employment benefits. If your injury forces you to quit working long-term, change jobs, or reduce your hours, you can pursue awards for your lost earning potential.
- Personal property damage: You can seek compensation to repair or replace any personal items that sustained damage during your accident. This includes the cost of vehicle damage if you suffered injuries in a car wreck, motorcycle collision, or truck crash.
- Household services. You may need to hire help with tasks like cooking, cleaning, and childcare while you recover from your injuries. You can seek the cost of replacement services and other miscellaneous losses, such as rental car fees, medical travel expenses, or medically necessary modifications to your home or vehicle.
Non-economic damages compensate injury victims for intangible losses related to their physical, mental, and emotional health. You can pursue non-economic awards for the following:
- Severe and chronic physical pain
- Loss of a limb or bodily function
- Loss of mobility
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of enjoyment
- Diminished quality of life
Because non-economic damages are subjective, you cannot simply add up bills to calculate their value. Instead, the courts and insurers will use a multiplier or per diem method to assign a monetary figure to these losses.
With the multiplier method, your Spartanburg personal injury lawyer will multiply your economic damages by a number between one and five to reach your non-economic damages sum. The more severe your injuries and their effect on your life, the higher the multiplier. With the per diem method, you will request a set amount of money for each day you are injured until you reach maximum physical recovery.
In some cases, you can pursue punitive damages. The purpose of punitive damages is not to reimburse the injury victim for losses, but to punish the liable party for their bad behavior. For this reason, the courts will typically only award them in cases involving intentional misconduct, malice, or fraud.
What Damages Can You Recover for a Wrongful Death?
If your loved one suffered a fatal injury, you can pursue wrongful death compensation. Depending on the circumstances of the case, awards may include economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Some of the most common recoverable losses in a wrongful death case include:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of the deceased’s income, services, and support
- Loss of the deceased’s care, companionship, and guidance
- The deceased’s pain and suffering
- Survivors’ mental pain and suffering
Families in North Carolina and South Carolina cannot file a wrongful death case themselves. Instead, the deceased’s personal representative (the executor of their estate) must take action on behalf of qualifying survivors, per G.S. § 28A-18-2 and S.C. Ann. § 15-51-10.
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How Long Do You Have to Seek Personal Injury Damages?
How long you have to pursue the three types of personal injury damages depends on the statute of limitations where you live.
- In North Carolina, G.S. § 1-52 generally allows three years to sue for personal injury. You have two years to sue for wrongful death under G.S. § 1-53.
- The statute of limitations for both personal injury and wrongful death is three years in South Carolina, according to S.C. Ann. § 15-3-530.
The court will usually refuse to hear your case if you do not file your lawsuit before the deadline expires. If you cannot take legal action, it removes your leverage with the insurance company. You may end up with a denied claim or lowball settlement and no additional options for seeking compensation.
Do You Need to Hire a Lawyer to Get a Fair Settlement for Your Damages?
You can file your insurance claim or even pursue a lawsuit without legal help. However, doing so can be confusing and overwhelming if you do not have experience. In addition, it can be difficult to do the work needed to build your case while also coping with a serious injury.
Working with a lawyer from Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC can provide you with an ally who will strive to offer excellent legal services throughout every stage of your case. A personal injury attorney from our team can:
- Investigate your accident and collect evidence to prove liability
- Identify and calculate your economic and non-economic damages
- Review your case to determine if you may be eligible for punitive damages
- Draft and file your insurance claim
- Aggressively negotiate for a fair settlement
- Prepare and file a lawsuit
- Represent you in civil court if necessary
- Keep you informed with frequent updates
- Provide you with the number for our 24/7 helpline, so you can always reach out with questions
Contact Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC to Learn More About Seeking Personal Injury Damages
Contact Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC today to schedule a free consultation. Our firm takes cases on contingency, meaning you will never pay out of pocket. We only collect a fee once we obtain compensation for you.