Types of non-monetary damages:
- Pain and suffering – The physical and/or emotional trauma of suffering an injury and ensuing anguish. The amount a jury will award a plaintiff for his or her pain and suffering depends on many factors but generally speaking, the more extensive and permanent the injury the greater the award is likely to be
- Emotional distress – When plaintiffs suffer severe emotional suffering as a result of an injury. Often referred to mental anguish, damages for emotional distress can be substantial
- Hedonic damages – The loss of enjoyment of life or the tangible impact an injury has on the victim moving forward. Plaintiffs can recover damages for the inability to partake in daily activities or those he or she once enjoyed
Compensation for wrongful death damages
No amount of money can bring back the love, guidance, and bond of a deceased loved one. While it may be difficult to quantify the value of a person’s life, courts in DC, Maryland, and Virginia do have statutes outlining the types of damages family members can recover from negligent parties responsible for the death of a loved one.
Generally, there are two types of death claims surviving family members can bring: wrongful death claims or survival actions. Survival claims are generally brought on behalf of the deceased by his or her heir to recover for the victim’s pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages. On the other hand, wrongful death lawsuits are brought by surviving family members to recover monetary compensation for the loss of financial and emotional support the deceased would have provided had he or she not passed away. Depending on the jurisdiction, plaintiffs may be able to file either or both of these types of death lawsuits. For more information on survival claims and wrongful death lawsuits in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, click on the links below.
Punitive damages are a special type of award meant to punish defendants for especially reckless behavior and deter similar acts. Most jurisdictions have very high pleadings standards to warrant awarding punitive damages and may even impose damage caps on the amount of punitives victims can recover.
- Maryland punitive damages law – High courts in Maryland hold plaintiffs must show clear and convincing evidence defendants acted with actual malice. Punitive damages in Maryland have a much higher standard than the traditional “preponderance of evidence” requirement in typical negligence
- Virginia punitive damages law – Like Maryland, Virginia requires plaintiffs clearly and convincingly prove defendants acted with actual malice and will not allow punitive damages for simple negligence, recklessness, or willful and wanton negligence. Furthermore, Virginia imposes a $350,000 cap on punitive damages
- Washington, D.C. punitive damages law – The District of Columbia allows juries to award plaintiffs punitive damages when clear and convincing evidence shows the defendant acted with ill will, fraud, recklessness, or willful disregard of potential injury
How are personal injury lawsuits valued?
When someone suffers a personal injury, one of the first questions they ask their attorney is how much the case is worth. Each case is different, with its own unique set of circumstances, making it almost impossible to give a definitive answer. However, there are certain factors that will shape the overall value of the case, including:
- Amount of pecuniary damages – Plaintiffs should be able to recover almost all of their economic damages for hospital bills, future medical care, property damage, and loss of past income
- How serious what the injury – While no one should even have to suffer pain because of someone else’s negligence, juries tend to place higher value for pain and suffering in catastrophic accidents
- Recovery period – Did the victim spend extensive time in the hospital or undergo rehabilitation?
- Was there a permanent disability? – Courts may award plaintiffs higher damages if he or she suffered a permanent injury that reduces the victim’s earning potential and/or limits physical activity
Maximizing your compensation in an injury lawsuit
Retaining a skilled and dedicated personal injury attorney is crucial to maximizing compensation in injury lawsuits. The right attorney for the case will have the experience and resources necessary to make the most compelling case for why plaintiffs should be compensated appropriately for the harm they have suffered.
Some of the steps a qualified injury attorney will take to maximize the compensation his or her client could possibly receive include:
- Gathering hospital bills
- Monitoring medical treatment
- Hiring experts to testify about the extent of injuries and prognosis for recovery
- Conducting discovery and retaining evidence
- Carefully drafting complaints
- Filing suit
- Introducing and defending motions in court
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury, The Cochran Firm, D.C. can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Often times, wrongdoers go to great lengths to avoid liability for the harm they have caused and must be compelled into compensating victims appropriately.
For a free legal consultation without obligation, contact The Cochran Firm, D.C. by calling 1-800-THE FIRM (843-3476)