What are “Damages” in a Kentucky Personal Injury Case?
Whether you’re a victim of an accident along a Kentucky interstate or hurt after taking a fall at a local store, the physical consequences of your injuries can be painful and frustrating. A long recovery can leave you discouraged, but what makes your recovery time even more difficult is the thought of facing the enormous costs of the necessary medical care.
Your hospital and rehabilitation bills could come due when you finally return home, or they could arrive while you’re still in a hospital bed. If you’ve been hurt by the negligence of another person or business, it’s fair to expect something called compensatory damages to help with all of these costs and more.
Compensatory Damages in Kentucky Personal Injury Accidents
Compensatory damages are compensation paid by a guilty party to cover the consequences inflicted on the victim of an accident the party caused or contributed to. These consequences can be physical, emotional, and financial in nature. The damages paid are meant to restore the victim’s life as closely as possible to his or her status before the accident.
Damages like hospital bills and a wrecked car are easy to total up and reimburse. However, putting a price on physical and emotional trauma and changes in lifestyles for victims and their families can be more difficult.
The Types of Compensatory Damage in Kentucky
Compensatory damages can be divided into two categories.
Economic Damages or actual damages cover the financial costs and losses a victim endures after an accident.
- Medical Bills – Not just those in the present, but insurance settlements should provide for the expense of medical care expected to be needed in the future. Permanent disabilities can require a lifetime of support. Travel costs for back-and-forth drives to local and out-of-state doctors can be sought.
- Life Care Plans – A “life care plan” is an evaluation prepared by medical experts and collected by a personal injury attorney, estimating the medical care and the costs of that care for a victim dealing with a lifelong injury.
- Lost Wages – If a victim misses days or weeks of work, those wages lost should be restored.
- Lost Earning Capacity – Lost Earning Capacity differs from lost wages and considers what may happen in the future.
- Car Repair Bills or Property Damage – If you were in your car, on a motorcycle, or on a bike when you got injured your vehicle should be repaired or replaced by the at-fault party’s car insurance.
- Minor’s Compromise
Non-Economic Damages or general damages cover physical pain and emotional anguish experienced after an accident. These effects are harder to place dollar amounts on, but they can be much more devastating for victims than any medical invoice.
- Pain and Suffering – Extreme pain experienced by the victim can earn elevated compensation. If pain will likely be present in the victim’s life for years to come, awards should increase for the sake of the victim.
- Emotional Trauma – Victims may have trouble getting behind the wheel of a car again after a traffic accident. They may have trouble going to a store or restaurant after a traumatic fall. Depression and anxiety can follow. The costs of psychological counseling should factor into any insurance settlement.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life – This is compensation for when injuries rob a victim of the activities they enjoy. Their injuries may take them off a motorcycle or a bicycle. They may not be able to enjoy walks or playing sports due to mobility issues. Damage to the eyes, or blindness could affect a person’s ability to see the things and the people they love.
- Loss of consortium – These damages usually involve compensation paid to a victim for the loss of intimacy with a spouse. Injuries may make the previously shared intimacy impossible. In some cases, uninjured spouses or loved ones can also receive compensation for their loss of consortium.
Punitive Damages in Kentucky Accidents
You may also hear about punitive damages involved with personal injury cases. These are awarded to victims, but they have a different goal than compensatory damages.
Punitive damages are meant to provide extra punishment and a deterrent to the guilty party for the actions they took or didn’t take beforehand or at the time of the accident. The guilty person must have been extremely reckless or have taken egregious action. Punitive awards are meant to dissuade the guilty party and others from taking this action ever again.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Serving Kentucky Victims
If you’ve been hurt in an accident due to the negligence of a person or company you need to consult with a Kentucky Personal Injury Lawyer before speaking to any insurance representative. Whether you’ve been the victim in a vehicle or pedestrian accident, hurt in a slip-and-fall, injured by a defective product, or any other incident, please sort out your options with a legal professional.
The attorneys at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, have the knowledge and a combined 100 years of experience to help clients get the compensation they’ll need to make a full recovery. To discuss your case in a free consultation, contact Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, today, by clicking here.