No two brain injuries are the same, which is why it stands to reason that no two brain injury cases would have identical financial recoveries. For this reason, it is best that those who have suffered brain injuries and their families understand the types of damages that can be recovered through a brain injury lawsuit.
When pursuing financial compensation for any type of injury, the legal term for the monetary award is damages. In law, recovering damages can vary depending on the type of injury, extent of injury, current loss of money the injury caused, and future losses caused by the injury. For brain injury survivors, these losses can be quite large as a result of life-altering changes—which is why brain injury survivors and their families need to understand all of the types of damages that can be pursued.
Three Types of Damages
Generally, there are three types of damages that can be awarded in personal injury lawsuits. They are special damages, general damages, and punitive damages.
- Special damages are actual hard costs that can be determined based on receipts, paychecks, and estimated future earnings. These damages are awarded to the injured person for his or her ambulance ride, ER visit, hospital bills, surgical expenses, doctor’s bills, rehabilitation, physical therapy, medications, medical devices, and other medical expenses related to the injury. Special damages also include the amount of money a person lost in income and will lose in wages for the rest of the injury, which could be a lifetime.
- General damages is money a brain injury victim can collect for the effects of the injury. For example, an injured person can pursue compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability, loss of enjoyment of life, shortening of life span, loss of ability to perform certain tasks and hobbies, loss of companionship, and more. General damages are more subjective in nature and are given to victims for the adverse effects and other intangibles caused by brain injuries.
- Punitive damages is money awarded to a brain injury survivor for the other party’s reckless, outrageous, and often intentional behavior. The court awards this type of compensation to set an example and to ensure the wrongdoer is punished for his or her bad conduct. In some cases, this type of award can be larger than the general damages a victim recovers; however, there are limitations on punitive damages in Virginia, as they are capped at $350,000. Additionally, there is no guarantee a victim will receive punitive damages.
Because brain injuries can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost income, and other expenses, it is generally advisable for brain injury victims to recover their damages through lawsuits. Additionally, brain injury survivors need to understand that it is in their best interest to have a lawyer on their side who has experience in brain injury cases. This way a victim will be able to recover typical compensation, such as medical expenses and lost wages, as well as more subjective awards for pain and suffering and mental anguish.
When an attorney understands brain injuries and has successfully represented other brain injury victims, he or she will be able to help you through the legal process. An experienced brain injury attorney will be able to list and calculate the damages you should recover—even establishing a large amount for loss of services and loss of enjoyment of life.
Because getting medical, professional, and legal assistance is very expensive, you owe yourself the best financial recovery possible. To help your chances, you need to work with an experienced law firm that has successfully represented many brain injury survivors and their families. If you would like to discuss your case in a complimentary consultation, please call us today at (703) 591-0067.