What Are Actual Damages?

A personal injury case that gets litigated in court is treated differently from one that is settled outside of court and can be compensated by actual damages. According to tort law, actual damages are the award provided by the court to compensate the plaintiff for all of the losses and expenses they experienced due to the defendant's negligence. Also known as compensatory damages, actual damages are awarded based on personal injury, proven harm, pain and suffering, and any other loss experienced by the plaintiff because of the defendant. 

Some examples of actual damages, both economic and non-economic, include the following: 

Lost Wages

When suffering from a personal injury, the victim can experience lost wages when they have to leave work to recover from their wounds. Because of missed time, they can lose income for several weeks or months. This amount can also include job search expenses that may have occurred due to a personal injury that prevents them from continuing their original line of work. 

Medical Bills

Healthcare can be incredibly expensive, and the victim may have to pay for surgery, prescription medicine, imaging scans, x-rays, laboratory tests, and more. These costly treatments can all be included in compensatory damages. Medical expenses will also include the cost of medical assistance devices for the personal injury victim. Prosthetic limbs, crutches, wheelchairs, and other provisions will be included in the compensation. 

Damaged Property

A personal injury may involve property damage. For example, if you purchased an electric blanket that overheated and caused a house fire, then you can include the fire damage in your personal injury. This is also the case for car or bicycle accidents and other situations where a personal injury has destroyed personal belongings. 

Non-Economic Damages

Getting injured is tough, and personal injury victims have to deal with the physical pain of their wounds and emotional distress. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, feelings of remorse, sadness, anxiety, grief, depression, and more. Self-confidence can severely plummet after a personal injury and can take a long time to recover before the victim can get back to return to their previous self. 

These are all different from punitive damages, which are only awarded if the defendant was grossly negligent, careless, or malicious. 

Here are just a few ways in which actual damages can occur:

  • Medical Malpractice
  • Automobile Accidents
  • Slip and Fall Accidents 
  • Product Liability 
  • Dog Bites

There are many types of personal injury cases that can result in a lawsuit where the plaintiff is awarded actual damages. You can speak with a personal injury attorney to learn more about how these damages are rewarded and what is required to prove the liability of the other party.