There are two types of damages normally recoverable in personal injury lawsuits. First, an injured accident victim can normally seek compensation for economic damages which includes loss of past and future earnings, past and future medical expenses, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
The extent of recovery depends on the nature of the cause of action. For example, in auto negligence lawsuits, an injured person is not allowed to seek damages for medical expenses because such expenses are normally the responsibility of the injured person’s insurance company under the Michigan No-Fault Law. This rule will be changed with the recent amendment of the law which occurred in June of 2019. Most other injury cases allow recovery of such damages.
An injured person may also seek recovery for non-economic damages against an at-fault tortfeasor. Non-economic damages include compensation for human losses such things as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and social pleasures, permanent disability and disfigurement, loss of companionship, etc.
There is no precise method of calculating non-economic damages and generally, these damages are determined on a case by case basis. The purpose of damages is to compensate the injured party for the injuries and harm sustained. The extent, nature and permanency of injuries suffered are factors generally used to determine the extent of compensation. Michigan Model Jury Instructions, M Civ JI 50.01 states:
“M Civ JI 50.01 Measure of Damages – Personal and Property
If you decide that the plaintiff is entitled to damages, it is your duty to determine the amount of money which reasonably, fairly and adequately compensates [him/her] for each of the elements of damage which you decide has resulted from the [negligence/professional negligence or malpractice] of the defendant, taking into account the nature and extent of the injury.
You should include each of the following elements of damage which you decide has been sustained by the plaintiff to the present time:
Pain and Suffering, Disability and Disfigurement; Aggravation of Preexisting Ailment or Condition], etc.
You should also include each of the following elements of damage which you decide plaintiff is reasonably certain to sustain in the future:
If any element of damage is of a continuing nature, you shall decide how long it may continue. *(If an element of damage is permanent in nature, then you shall decide how long the plaintiff is likely to live).
Which, if any, of these elements of damages has been proved is for you to decide based upon evidence and not upon speculation, guess or conjecture. The amount of money to be awarded for certain of these elements of damage cannot be provide in a precise dollar amount. The law leaves such amount to your sound judgment. Your verdict must be solely to compensate plaintiff for [his/her] damages, and not to punish the defendant.” Learn more here
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Given the broad instruction regarding non-economic damages, each and every case must be evaluated on its own merits to determine the settlement value.
If you have been injured and are an accident victim, our Personal Injury Law Firm can help. Serving clients throughout Michigan for over 45 years, our Ann Arbor Personal Injury Law Firm is committed to helping the injured recover full and fair compensation for their economic losses, pain, and suffering.
Attorneys at our firm, Logeman, Iafrate & Logeman, P.C., have the skill, the experience, and the resources to fight for your best interests. Our practice areas include car accident cases, truck accidents, brain injury, motorcycle accidents, uninsured/underinsured motorist claims and more! Call us today to speak with an experienced attorney.