What Losses Are Covered? What Do You Need to Prove?
When you’re hurt in a car wreck, truck accident, or motorcycle crash, you have a right to seek monetary compensation, also referred to as “damages,” from any party whose negligence caused the accident. What damages can you expect to recover if a jury finds the defendant liable? Are there limitations or restrictions on damage awards in motor vehicle accidents in New Jersey?
The Different Types of Damages
At the broadest level, damages in personal injury lawsuits take two forms: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are tied directly to your losses and are intended to “compensate” you for those specific losses. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are based on the actions of the defendant and intended as a penalty for engaging in certain types of socially unacceptable behavior. Punitive damages are also believed to act as a deterrent to others who might engage in similar behavior. To recover punitive damages in a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party must show that the defendant demonstrated a reckless disregard for the value of human life (“gross negligence”).
Compensatory damages are further divided into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those with an easily-determined monetary value. Examples of economic damages include:
- Lost wages and income
- Unreimbursed medical expenses
- Uninsured property loss
- Costs to retrofit your home or vehicle to accommodate an injury
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are losses that are not tangible or that have no specific monetary value. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life—the ability to engage in everyday activities or do things that brought you joy, meaning, or fulfillment before the accident
- Loss of companionship or consortium—the inability to be physically close or intimate with others because of your injury
Contact the Law Office of Howard D. Popper
At the Law Offices of Howard D. Popper, we can help protect your rights. For a free initial consultation to discuss your options after a work-related motor vehicle accident, contact our office online or call 973-993-8787 to set up an appointment. We have offices in Morristown and Newton. Currently, all our client communications are by phone, text message, or videoconference.
We handle all personal injury claims on a contingent-fee basis. You won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover damages for your losses.