If you were injured in a car accident, animal attack, or other personal injury in Washington, you might be wondering how you will pay your accident-related costs. These expenses might include your medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
You may be entitled to compensation for the harm you suffered by filing a personal injury lawsuit, which is collectively referred to as your damages.
Damages refer to the losses that you suffer in your case. These can be tangible losses, such as lost income from missed work, or intangible losses, like pain and suffering. Damages are a crucial element in personal injury cases.
Courts cannot go back in time and prevent the injury from ever happening. Personal injury law is not concerned with criminal punishment. Instead, personal injury law aims to return the victim to the position they would have been in had the accident never occurred. This is primarily accomplished by awarding financial damages to the victim.
There are several different types of damages that can be awarded in a Washington personal injury case, including:
Economic damages are objectively verifiable and include monetary losses, such as:
Accident victims can recover compensation for future losses of economic damages.
Non-economic damages are non-monetary losses you suffer because of the accident, such as:
Like with economic damages, accident victims can recover compensation for present and future non-economic damages.
Economic and non-economic damages are meant to compensate the victim. Punitive damages are not. They are meant to punish the wrongdoer.
Economic damages are supposed to be objectively verifiable and can often be proven with the following evidence:
Some economic damages, such as your long-term losses in earning capacity, may be more difficult to estimate. These may require hiring an economic expert who can calculate the value of your projected earning capacity post-accident had the accident not occurred.
An economic expert may evaluate the following factors to calculate your projected earning capacity:
Washington’s jury instructions tell jurors that they must convert any award for future economic damages into present cash value. Present cash value is the amount of money that would equal the amount of the financial loss at the time in the future if invested and benefiting from a reasonable rate of return.
There is no cap on economic damages in personal injury cases in Washington. The jury is free to award any amount they feel is reasonable under the circumstances and backed by objective evidence.
When evaluating the value of your personal injury claim, courts and insurance companies consider various factors, such as:
Because the potential value of your claim can depend on many factors specific to your case, you can get a better idea about this matter by working with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
You cannot recover compensation if you cannot show you were harmed by the accident. Other elements you must also be able to prove to establish your right to recover in a personal injury case include:
First, you must be able to show that the defendant owed you a duty of care. This is usually a matter of law, such as all motorists having a duty to follow traffic laws and drive safely.
Next, you must be able to show that the defendant did something that violated their duty of care. For example, a motorist may have run a red light or sped.
You must then be able to show that the defendant’s breach of duty actually caused the accident. For example, the accident would not have occurred had the motorist not sped or ran the red light.
Economic damages are a crucial component of the compensation you deserve after being injured in an accident. To learn more about the economic damages you might be entitled to and how to calculate them, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer from Davis Law Group, P.S. today.
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