At Hinkle Law Offices, we know the reputation lawyers have. Most people don’t like them, in part, because they seem to speak another language that regular people just don’t understand. And the language barrier often leaves clients feeling helpless and more anxious about their case.
At Hinkle Law Offices, we’re different. We want to break down barriers between our clients and attorneys. And we can start by decoding some of the legalese.
The Legal Definition of Damages
In the legal world, “damages” is money—the amount of money the party filing a lawsuit is asking as compensation for whatever resulted from an accident, such as:
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Psychological and emotional distress
- And all other associated losses and costs
In other words, the legal definition of “damages” actually refers to the award that could repair or rectify the injuries and losses a person suffered in an accident.
Types of Damages
Legally speaking, there are three main types of damages that you may seek:
- Special damage—this refers to specific, calculable damages. Special damages may include compensation for:
- Cost of repair or replacement of damaged property
- Medical expenses—ambulance rides, hospital stays, doctor visits, ongoing therapies, prescription drugs—i.e., any type of medical care required because of accident-related injuries
- Lost wages
- General damage—this refers to compensation sought for subjective experiences resulting from an accident, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
These damages have no clear-cut monetary value.
- Punitive damage—this refers to compensation due to the state.
Punitive damages are intended to punish and make an example of the offending party. In civil litigation, which includes all personal injury, wrongful death and worker’s compensation claims, punitive damages are rarely ever awarded. In some states, you may not be able to seek punitive damages.
Initial settlement offers made by insurance companies following an accident are often inadequate because they only include special damages or highly undervalue general damages. An experienced accident attorney is in a better position to evaluate your claim and calculate accurate and reasonable damages.
What Types of Damages May You Seek Compensation For?
Every accident case is different; there are no easy rules for determining what types of damages you may claim. But that shouldn’t be your job anyway. Let the experienced accident attorneys at Hinkle Law Offices review your case and evaluate your claim for you.
Personal injury work is all we do. We know what New Mexico law will allow, and we fight aggressively on your behalf to get all the compensation you deserve. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.