After a severe incident, such as a car crash or a dog bite, you are often faced with the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit. This is a way for you to seek compensation (referred to as damages) for any harm you suffered because of another party’s negligent actions.

What types of things might you be able to receive damages for? Here is an overview.

Economic and non-economic damages

Broadly speaking, common damages in a personal injury lawsuit are broken up into two groups. First is economic damages. Think of these as things you might get a bill for. It might include:

  • The cost of medical care you needed – or will need in the future – as a result of the incident
  • Damage to your property, such as a car
  • Income lost while you weren’t able to work
  • Loss of potential future earnings, if the injury is debilitating
  • Other expenses directly related to the incident

You also have non-economic damages. These are things you went through as a result of the incident, things that caused you harm. They don’t come with a bill, however. For example:

  • Physical pain and suffering you endured
  • Emotional distress, such as PTSD or insomnia
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of companionship

Non-economic damages can sometimes be harder to prove in court, and even in a successful case, the amount you might be awarded is heavily dependent on a number of factors.

Punitive damages

Economic and non-economic damages such as those listed above are compensatory, meaning they are compensation for the harm that was caused. Some personal injury lawsuits might also seek punitive damages.

Punitive damages are awarded as a way to punish the party responsible if their behavior was particularly neglectful or intentional. Punitive damages are generally rare in personal injury cases, however, and the law caps the total amount for these damages.

At the end of the day, the types of damages someone may choose to seek in a personal injury lawsuit is entirely dependent on their unique situation. Because of this, it is not a decision to take lightly.