What Plaintiffs Should Know About Personal Injury Damages

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: “What can you sue for in a personal injury case?”


When someone suffers a personal injury due to the negligent behavior of another party, the financial and emotional costs can be staggering. Between medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering, accident victims run the risk of experiencing a lower quality of life after the injury.


dog-injury-Charlotte-Monroe-Mooresville-accident-attorney-300x214When a plaintiff and their legal team can prove to the court that the injury was due to someone else’s negligence, the court will often decide to award the victim “damages” to compensate them for their experience. Read on for what plaintiffs should know about personal injury damages.


Compensatory Damages


As the name implies, compensatory damages are intended to compensate the plaintiff for the expenses incurred as a result of their personal injury. Compensatory damages can address a number of different costs involved in the treatment and recovery of an accident victim, and these types of damages are often what individuals envision when they think about pursuing litigation after being injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence.


The most common example of compensatory damages is compensation for medical bills and costs associated with ongoing treatment. Other examples of compensatory damages include lost earnings from time off work (including any lost future earnings that can be expected), household expenses related to the injury, and costs associated with cancelled or altered life plans.


These types of compensatory damages are sometimes called “special” compensatory damages because they are unique to the individual victim and relate to the monetary costs involved.  Another type of compensatory damages is known as “general” compensatory damages. These are intended to compensate a plaintiff for non-monetary damages incurred as part of the injury. In other words, they address harm that is “generally” suffered as part of an injury and include pain and suffering and mental anguish.


Wrongful Death Damages


When compared to typical personal injury claims, damages incurred from a wrongful death are a bit unique because they are rewarded to the surviving family and loved ones of the victim. Often, wrongful death damages include items such as funeral and burial expenses, costs of pre-death medical care, emotional pain and suffering of surviving family and loved ones, loss of services and support, and/or loss of companionship.


As the reader can see, wrongful death damages may include both general and special types of compensatory damages.


Punitive Damages


In certain cases, the negligent behavior of the defendant is deemed so reckless or irresponsible that the courts will award punitive damages to the plaintiff as well. These damages are intended to “punish” the defendant for their behavior and send a message to others about the consequences of behaving in a similar manner.


Like compensatory damages, punitive damages are awarded to the plaintiff but they are not associated with the subjective experience of the victim. There is often a cap placed on the amount of punitive damages a court can award, which is typically a certain multiple of the amount of compensatory damages awarded in the particular case.


When to Contact an Attorney


For years, the attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC have been helping accident victims in Charlotte and throughout North Carolina navigate the legal process when they have suffered harm to do another person’s negligence. Call (704) 370-2828 to receive a video, phone or in-person consultation with our lawyers to explore your legal options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.






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