How Much Can I Recover in a Personal Injury Action?
Thomas Pyles | February 14, 2020
If you are reading this, you or someone you care about probably has been involved in an accident recently and suffered expensive injuries. You likely also have a lot of questions on your mind — such as “how could this happen to me?“; “how can I hold the person responsible to account?”; and, perhaps most importantly, “will I be able to recover from this?” If you have suffered injuries in an accident, you may attempt to seek redress through a personal injury action to obtain monetary compensation for your losses (called “damages”).
Below, we’ll go over the types of damages that injured plaintiffs can seek in personal injury actions and how much they are typically able to recover.
Types of Damages Available to Injured Plaintiffs
There are two main types of damages available in personal injury actions: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages can be further distinguished between “special” and “general.”
Special Compensatory Damages
Special compensatory damages are damages designed to compensate the plaintiff for monetary expenses he or she suffered as a result of an accident. With these types of damages, it is often fairly easy for the plaintiff to arrive at a specific dollar amount when seeking compensation because these losses typically are quantifiable. Some of the most common types of special compensatory damages include:
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of future earnings
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Property damages
General Compensatory Damages
General compensatory damages are designed to compensate the plaintiff for non-monetary damages he or she suffered in an accident. Unlike special compensatory damages, arriving at a specific dollar amount often is difficult because these types of injuries are more abstract and highly specific to the individual. Some common types of general compensatory damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
While compensatory damages are designed to compensate the plaintiff, as their name would suggest, punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant. As such, punitive damages are awarded only in cases where the defendant’s conduct was particularly vicious, reprehensible, or willful.
How Much Can an Injured Plaintiff Recover?
The goal of awarding damages in personal injury cases is to make the plaintiff whole — or, put another way, to put the plaintiff in the same position he or she would have been in had the accident not occurred. Thus, there is generally no pre-determined amount or limit of economic damages that a successful plaintiff may recover, as the dollar amount of the damages will depend upon the facts of his or her case. However, the state of Maryland imposes a cap on non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, mental distress, etc.), that was set at $500,000 in 1994 and increases by $15,000 every year.
Contact a Waldorf Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured in an accident and have concerns about being able to recover the full amount of your losses, you might want to consider speaking to a personal injury lawyer. Contact the Waldorf personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Thomas E. Pyles at 301-705-5006 for a consultation. We can help you and your family get the compensation that you deserve. We have office locations in Leonardtown and Laurel for your convenience.