What Kinds of Damages Can I Be Compensated For?
There are really two different broad categories of damages in a personal injury case. There are what the law calls in Massachusetts special damages and general damages. It’s different in other states. Connecticut, for example, calls these same categories economic damages and noneconomic damages. The way I like to think of them are there are certain things that have price tags hanging right off of them. Other things where there aren’t any prices associated with them. Basically, it’s up to the lawyers to try to come to an agreement as to what’s proper compensation off of those elements of damages, or if you can’t decide, the jury makes that decision.
For the things with the price tags, the economic damages or the special damages, it’s things like your medical bills, your lost wages, any lost earning capacity that you would have if you can’t work the type of job that you had before the accident or if you can’t work at all going forward into the future. In the other category of damages, the general damages or the noneconomic damages, the biggest thing we typically think of is pain and suffering, but it’s broader than that. It’s really the impact that it’s had on the individual’s life, so it’s pain and suffering. It’s disability. It’s, basically, the human effects, the things that the accident or the injury has taken away from you.