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Types of Damages in Personal Injury Claims


Personal injury pertains to an injury sustained at the fault of another party. The offending party can be an individual or company, and the liability is based upon that party’s negligence. 

If you or a loved one has been harmed as the result of someone’s negligence, you may be worried about the following things:

  • How much will my medical bills be?
  • How much income will I lose due to missed work?
  • Will I fully recover?

The list continues. At Glenn, Mills, Fisher, and Mahoney, P.A., we take those concerns seriously and address all issues relating to pursuing damages associated with your potential case.

What Are Personal Injury Damages?

In simple terms, “damages” are the valuation of the negative impact of things like finances and health (both physical and mental) as a result of an injury sustained through the fault of another. 

The person who is found to be at fault is legally liable for all agreed upon or awarded damages. Generally, the injured party initiates a legal action and thus acts as the Plaintiff while the other party is known as the Defendant. Cases generally end with a negotiated settlement, but sometimes cases go all the way to trial where a judge or jury will determine if there was negligence and award damages.

Types of Damages

Damages generally fall into one of three categories: special damages, general damages and if the facts warrant it, punitive damages.

Special damages are easily quantifiable. They include things like medical bills (in North Carolina recoverable medical bills are the amount necessary to pay the bill). This is typically the sum of what your health insurance has paid and any amounts paid by the injured person or family member.

Lost wages are also a special damage. Generally speaking, a special damage is a damage that can be quantified with a bill or other documentation.

General Damages. General damages are more difficult to assign value to, such as a loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, mental anguish, permanent injury from scars or the partial or complete loss of a part of your body and the inability to engage in activities you use to enjoy.

Punitive Damages. Punitive damages are more difficult to recover in North Carolina and are awarded as a result of gross negligence, willful, wanton or reckless conduct.

Punitive damages are also awarded as a means of punishment for the party found to be at fault and to defer others from such conduct.

Examples of conduct that give rise to punitive damages include, but are not limited to driving while impaired, reckless driving, racing and, although no North Carolina Appellate decision has addressed the issue, the attorneys at Glenn, Mills, Fisher and Mahoney believe that texting while driving should give rise to punitive damages.

Contact the Professionals 

Insurance companies often seek to come to an agreement before an injured party seeks advice from counsel. It is beneficial to review your case with one of our attorneys here at GMFM Law before agreeing to anything, as that would prevent you from future recourse.

If you have been injured and would like to see how much your case may be worth, please contact us for a consultation. For immediate assistance, call (919) 683-2135.