Damages refer to the money that the law permits victims to recover when it is proven that a defendant has breached their duty towards another party or committed a violation of some right.
There are three types of personal injury damages: general, special, and punitive.
General and special damages are both considered compensatory damages, meaning they aim to restore compensation to victims for their losses. These damages are sometimes referred to as “non-economic” and “economic.”
A third type of damages, punitive damages, may be awarded in cases where extreme recklessness caused injury. Punitive damages are far less common in personal injury lawsuits than general or special damages.
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General damages, or non-economic damages, are not easily calculated. Some examples of general damages are:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disfigurement or dismemberment
- Mental anguish
These are different than special damages, or economic damages, which are for specific costs that someone might incur as a result of their personal injury. Examples of special damages are:
- Medical costs
- Future costs of medical care
- Lost earnings, both in the past and what the plaintiff will be unable to earn in the future
According to the Legal Information Institute (LII), punitive damages are awarded as a punishment in situations where the defendant’s behavior was particularly harmful.
A judge, for example, may choose to award punitive damages if a company knew about risks associated with a certain medication and chose not to disclose them, injuring one or multiple parties. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant and discourage others from behaving in a similar manner in the future.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Damages may be available to people injured in a wide range of situations, including:
Car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, pedestrian and other types of vehicle crashes commonly result in a personal injury claim. When a negligent driver causes a collision, they may be liable for the victims’ damages.
Slip or Trip and Falls
Slip or trip and falls occur when a premises owner creates or fails to correct a hazard that injures a guest, such as a grocery store with a crack in the floor that causes a customer to fall. Slip or trip and falls are a branch of premises liability cases, which can include things like injuries from negligent security, poor lighting, lack of signage, and more.
A dog bite can possibly cause infection, disease, scarring or worse. When a dog bite injures an innocent victim, the dog owner may be liable for the damages caused by their pet.
Medical malpractice is more common than most people realize. According to a Johns Hopkins Medicine study, patient safety experts discovered that over 250,000 deaths happen every year as a result of medical error. When doctor care falls below a reasonable medical standard and harms their patients, those doctors may be liable in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
These are not the only scenarios that can give rise to a personal injury lawsuit. You may want to call a personal injury law firm to discuss your options for a free consultation if you believe another party’s negligence injured you.
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How the Statute of Limitations Can Impact Personal Injury Cases
If you are considering pursuing damages for injuries caused by another party’s negligence, there are important deadlines to be aware of. New York generally imposes a three-year statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits, per New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (CVP) §214. For medical malpractice lawsuits, the statute of limitations is generally two years and six months, per CVP §214-A. Further, wrongful death claims generally must be brought within two years.
There could be exceptions to these deadlines, such as suing a municipality, that could shorten the amount of time you have to sue. If you do not file your claim by the time the statute of limitations runs out, you are generally barred from recovering any compensation via a lawsuit.
Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. May Be Able to Help You Recover Damages
If you are suffering because of injuries caused by another party’s negligence, you may be able to hold the responsible parties accountable. Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. represents personal injury victims on Long Island. We may be able to pursue damages on your behalf while you focus on your recovery process.
For a free, no-risk review of your case, contact Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. today at (631) 451-7900. A member of our team is standing by to discuss your case, and which of the three types of personal injury damages may be available to you.
We handle personal injury cases on a contingency-fee basis with no up-front payments necessary.