The aftermath of an accident can be undeniably stressful. In fact, many people who have been injured or have lost loved ones as a result of accidents ultimately choose not to file personal injury suits related to those accidents because they are just too overwhelmed by stress to take on the realities of filing a lawsuit. However, it is important to understand that the potential financial compensations associated with personal injury lawsuits can help families avoid unnecessary stresses in the future. When wages have been lost or medical bills are mounting, damages awarded in personal injury suits can aid families in avoiding potentially catastrophic financial hardships moving forward.

Economic Damages

The first kind of potential damages awarded in personal injury case are relatively objective economic damages. Economic damages are fairly straightforward, as they relate to either bills incurred or income lost as a result of the defendant’s harm. At their most basic, economic damages relate to financial loss resulting from the plaintiff’s injury or loss of life.

One of the most common kinds of economic damages awarded is compensation for medical bills. Past, current and future medical expenses resulting from the defendant’s harm may be awarded in these cases. As the majority of personal bankruptcy cases filed in the U.S. result from overwhelming medical expenses, this form of non-economic damages is particularly significant.

Another common economic award involves income lost as a result of the plaintiff’s situation. Past, current and future income lost may be awarded, depending on the nature of the case.

It is worth noting that both economic and non-economic damages may be sought in cases involving wrongful death. The spouse, children or estate of a person whose life has been lost due to another’s negligence may be eligible to file such a lawsuit.

Non-Economic Damages

Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages are relatively subjective and are not tied to specific financial loss. Instead, these damages help to reflect the losses suffered by the plaintiff and potentially by the plaintiff’s loved ones as a result of the defendant’s harm. Damages related to pain and suffering, loss of consortium and some kinds of emotional distress are examples of non-economic damages.

In addition, some states allow punitive damages to be awarded in personal injury cases. These damages are not tied to specific financial loss. Rather, they are intended to punish the defendant for negligent, reckless or intentional behavior and deter both that defendant and other entities from behaving in similar ways moving forward.

Next Steps

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of another’s negligence, you may benefit from exploring a personal injury claim. Speaking with an attorney about your legal options does not obligate you to move forward with a suit. But explaining your situation to an experienced personal injury lawyer will allow you to make an informed decision. Feeling overwhelmed in the wake of an accident is completely understandable. But please do not allow your current challenges to keep you from exploring options that may reduce your stress levels significantly in the future.