Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Every U.S. state has a civil lawsuit procedure whereby an injured party can obtain damages from the person or entity who injured them. You could be entitled to damages in a personal injury lawsuit if you were hurt in a truck accident, auto crash, workplace injury, or other mishap.

Nix Patterson’s personal injury attorneys can review your case and determine if you may be able to obtain compensation for your damages, including medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and possibly more.

Compensatory Damages

If you and your personal injury attorney prove that the other person or entity contributed to or caused the accident that injured you, you could receive compensatory damages to make you whole. 

Compensatory damages refer to the money that state law allows personal injury victims to obtain from the person or party who injured them, including for medical expenses, lost wages, and mental and physical suffering. It is essential to understand the several types of damages to which you could be entitled in a claim or lawsuit.

Special Damages or Economic Damages

Special damages, also called economic damages, are fairly easy to calculate. Economic damages are supposed to compensate you for any monetary losses you sustained because of the accident. The most common types of special damages in a personal injury lawsuit are:

  • Lost earnings and earning capacity: You could receive money for the time you have not been able to work since the injury. Further, you could receive additional money for lost earning capacity for weeks, months, or years as you recover.
  • Medical bills and expenses, including past, present, and future expenses: Your personal injury attorney will communicate with your doctor to get a full picture of your medical expenses from the initial treatment through the recovery.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses: These might include copays, medications, or visits to specialists.

General Damages or Non-Economic Damages

General damages, also called non-economic damages, are difficult to add up or calculate. These damages are supposed to compensate you for harms that are difficult to give a monetary value. General damages may include:

  • Pain and suffering. If you broke your arm and wrist in the accident, you could receive compensation for the pain that the injury causes you. Pain and suffering damages are subjective, and your attorney must argue for more money for this type of damages. The insurance provider could often pay less for soft tissue injuries.
  • Inconvenience. With severe injuries, you will be slowed down and unable to do many things you enjoy, or at least not in the same way or as quickly.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life. Becoming injured can make it difficult to do many things you enjoy, such as playing with the kids or working out.
  • Dismemberment or disfigurement. Some accident injuries lead to the loss of a limb or significant scarring, which is another form of pain and suffering.
  • Mental anguish. Serious injuries take a mental toll as you might realize that your body will never be the same.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages can be awarded in injury cases where the other party was extraordinarily reckless or careless. Punitive damages are rarely granted, but you could receive this compensation in especially serious instances where the defendant’s behavior was extremely harmful.

For example, a judge could award punitive damages if a drunk driver with repeated DUI convictions was extremely intoxicated and severely injured a pedestrian in a crosswalk accident. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and warn others not to engage in reckless behavior that disregards the safety of others.

What Are the Average Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Every personal injury case is different from another. Your personal injury attorney will review your case, injuries, and other factors and offer a rough estimate of what you could receive if the case is successful. Many personal injury cases settle for only a few thousand or tens of thousands of dollars, but serious injury cases may be worth much more. Some of the factors that will influence what you receive in damages include:

  • The severity of the injuries. If you suffer a broken collarbone and hip in a tractor-trailer crash, your damages will be more than if you just pulled your back.
  • The accident details. If the other driver was entirely at fault, you will probably receive more compensation than partially.
  • Your pain and suffering. Serious injuries with weeks, months, or years of pain and suffering are usually worth more than injuries that heal in a few weeks with limited discomfort.
  • Your settlement offer. The defendant and their insurance company might be willing to offer a fair settlement.
  • Your credibility as a witness. If the case goes to trial, whether the jury believes you will be an essential factor in what you receive.

Many minor injury cases might settle for $5,000 or $10,000, but if you have injuries that require months of treatment and therapy, the settlement could be well into the six figures. Your attorney will review your case and give you an idea of what you might expect.

How Many Personal Injury Cases Result in a Settlement?

Some might assume that personal injury claims usually lead to a lawsuit, but that is untrue. It is estimated that only about 5% of personal injury claims go to court. The rest settle out of court.

However, it is up to you ultimately to decide if you want to settle or go to trial. It also is essential to consider what your attorney says about settling vs. going to court. If your lawyer thinks you could receive more in damages in a lawsuit and you can afford to wait for the money, he or she may recommend suing. But settling for smaller damages could be wiser if there is any question about liability and you need money sooner.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Increase Your Compensation

Having a skilled personal injury attorney working for you during settlement talks can pay huge dividends. The vast majority of personal injury cases lead to settlement, so you should rely on your attorney to potentially increase your compensation by:

Advocating for your Legal Rights

When you are in a personal injury claim, the defendant will probably be represented by an insurance company and defense attorneys who handle these cases daily. The insurance company will attempt to reduce the payout.

Your attorney’s experience and negotiating skills will make a big difference in receiving more compensation for your damages. They hone their negotiating skills in law school and personal injury cases and can get more out of the insurance company than you can.

Suggesting a Personal Injury Lawsuit is Coming

If you select a skilled, aggressive litigator with trial experience, your attorney can always suggest that they may file a lawsuit when settlement negotiations break down. This can encourage an insurance company to increase its settlement offer. On the other hand, if an attorney doesn’t represent you, the insurance company will probably offer you a small settlement and not take you seriously.

Speak to a Nix Patterson Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you were injured in a recent accident because of someone’s negligence, you may be able to receive compensation in a lawsuit or settlement. Speak to Nix Patterson’s personal injury attorneys for a free case review. We offer a complimentary case review, and you don’t pay legal fees unless we win your case.


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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