What are the Elements of Damages in a Personal Injury Case?


For all the different cases that we talked about – maritime cases, 18-wheeler cases, auto cases, slips and falls, all those types of cases – there’s basically three or four different types of elements of damages. One of the first elements of damages are whether or not you went to a doctor; if you did, and you were hurt, and the doctor says that you are hurt because of this accident, then the insurance companies are obligated to pay you for your medical bills. In addition to medical bills, if you’re out of work – let’s say that you get hurt and you can’t go to work, and you miss work, or you have a surgery and you can’t go back to work because of the surgery – the insurance company’s obligated to pay for all of your wage loss claims. We make a calculation of how much you’ve lost in the past and typically what we’ll do is we’ll get an economist, and that economist is going to figure out how much you’re going to lose in the future if your damaged to the point where you can’t get back to work, or you can get back to work in a limited capacity or an alternative capacity from the type of work that you were doing before.

In addition to those two types of money damages, there’s also something that’s called pain and suffering, and there’s also something called loss of enjoyment of life. Those are the types of things – the medical bills sometimes are easier to calculate, and the wage losses are easier to calculate. One of the issues is pain and suffering, that looks at how bad you were injured in the accident. If you were really injured in the accident, which is not good for you, at that point your case is more valuable. For instance, someone’s who paralyzed, their case is more valuable from a pain and suffering standpoint than someone who was hurt for three or four months after an accident.


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