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What Are Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

What Are Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

If you were recently injured in some type of an accident that was not your fault, soon you’ll be learning about “damages” in a personal injury case. Damages refer to the financial compensation an injured person (the plaintiff) receives from the at-fault party.

The purpose of damages in a personal injury claim is to make the plaintiff whole after suffering an injury. While it’s not always possible to make a plaintiff whole again, the goal of damages is to help put the plaintiff in a better position. The personal injury attorney’s role is to collect enough damages to cover all of the plaintiff’s losses.

Let’s take a look at just some of the types of losses a plaintiff might suffer from an accident. The damages are meant to compensate the plaintiff for these losses:

  • Medical bills (including future medical bills)
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress (e.g. PTSD)
  • Loss of companionship
  • Funeral expenses (in the case of a wrongful death)
  • Property damage (e.g. a totaled vehicle)

Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages

In a personal injury case, damages are broken down into two categories: Economic and non-economic damages. The economic damages are the kind that are measurable and they came from a direct financial loss. These kinds of damages are easy to calculate, such as lost income, medical bills, the costs of repairing or replacing a vehicle damaged in a crash, funeral expenses, and such.

In contrast, non-economic damages refer to the other types of damages that do not stem from a specific financial loss. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress.

Time Limit for Filing a Claim in South Carolina

Each state has a deadline or time limit for filing a personal injury claim – this is called the “statute of limitations.” In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is three years under S.C. Code Ann. Section 15-3-530. If you don’t file a claim within three years of the accident, the court will refuse to hear your case.

Related: Can I Avoid a Personal Injury Trial?

Looking for a Columbia injury lawyer? Contact the Law Offices of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC.


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