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When you are injured in an accident, you’ll hear the word “damages” thrown around by your attorney, the insurance company and probably some other individuals as well. What are damages? Why do you need to concern yourself with them?

What Are Damages?

In a personal injury lawsuit, damages refer to the amount of money you receive as an award from the individual or entity that was negligent and caused you harm. You’ll need to know what damages to seek before you file a lawsuit or make an insurance claim, as there are often a lot of things that can be awarded. There are two main types of damages: compensatory and punitive.

What Are Compensatory Damages?

Anything that has a big impact on your life after you are injured could be considered compensatory damages. For example, your injuries might require extensive medical care, surgery, prescription medication, physical therapy and a variety of other medical costs. That would be a huge hit to your budget, which is why you’d be eligible for compensatory economic damages to cover those bills. Some other compensatory damages include:

-Lost Wages, as you’d probably have a certain amount of time away from work while you receive your medical care and recover.
-Loss of the ability to earn future income if you are permanently injured to that extent.
-Pain and suffering, though this may not be an amount you compute from a bill, it is still considered compensatory.
-Loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, loss of companionship or other similar relationship losses resulting from your injuries.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Sometimes an individual does something so wrong, he or she should be punished to a more extreme degree than someone who truly caused an injury on accident. For example, if someone was driving drunk, ran a red light and hit you, he or she would probably owe punitive damages as a punishment for getting behind the wheel drunk. If someone was driving sober, mistook the green light for a green arrow, turned and hit you, he or she may not have to pay punitive damages, as the incident was truly accidental.

Staying Close to a Lawyer

Whether you choose to file a claim on your own, or would like legal assistance, it’s always a good idea to at least get advice from a lawyer. Contact a personal injury lawyer, like from Hickey & Turim SC, today for answers to all your questions about damages.