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Types of Damages


Personal Injury

The Gainesville Auto Collision Attorneys, of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A., recognize that not only do damages in personal injury cases come in many forms, but that the availability of particular types of damages can vary greatly depending on the factual circumstances involved.  As a preliminary consideration, it is helpful to know the meaning of the word ‘damages,’ as used in the legal context. Damages refer to the financial compensation awarded to a victim for the injury, harm, or losses suffered as a result of the negligent, intentional, or reckless conduct of another.

The purpose of damages are to ‘make the victim whole again,’ or stated differently, put the Plaintiff back into the position he or she would have been had the accident or injury not occurred. Most damage awards extending from an automobile accident will fall into one of two categories: (1) Tangible or Economic Damages; and (2) Intangible or Non-Economic Damages. Some personal injury cases involve a third category—Punitive Damages—although this type of damage is far less common.The two primary categories of damages are discussed by our Gainesville Accident & Injury Attorneys in further detail below.

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Tangible or Economic Damages, sometimes called Special Damages, refer to specific losses extending from the accident or injury that are easily quantifiable, such as medical expenses. Think of this category of damages as having more concrete and/or tangible evidence that is readily available to assist in the process of reducing their value to a numerical figure. Economic Damages include:

  • Property Damage
  • Medical Bills, including:
    • Past
    • Future
  • Lost Wages or Income
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Out of Pocket Expenses, including:
    • Mileage
    • Rental Car Reimbursement
    • Prescription Costs
    • Other reasonable and necessary expenses

It is important to note, that just because special damages can generally be quantified in a more simplistic manner, this does not mean that in every scenario, the victim will be automatically entitled to a specific type or amount of damages. Rather, all other attendant circumstances must be taken into consideration, including auto insurance policy provisions; liability of the parties involved (i.e. comparative negligence, contributory fault, apportionment of damages, etc.); and whether the claimant is a surviving injured victim, or a surviving family member of a deceased victim.

Intangible or Non-economic Damages, sometimes called General Damages, refer to losses extending from the accident or injury, which due to their general nature, cannot always be easily quantified. In contrast to tangible or economic damages, where evidence such as medical bills, receipts, or mileage forms are available to provide guidance in the calculation of specific damage amounts, the calculation of general damages will typically involve much more complex processes.

  • Pain and Suffering
  • Mental Anguish
  • Physical/Mental Impairment or Loss  (diminished capacity)
  • Physical Disfigurement (i.e. loss of limb, significant scaring)
  • Loss of Opportunity
  • Loss of Companionship, Consortium, Parental Guidance, Enjoyment of Life (i.e., losses related to the reduced quality of life, whether extending from a fatality, or an injury that impacts the ability to provide support or services that would have been provided if the injury or fatality never occurred)

Due to the interpretive nature of non-economic damages, experts are commonly used to assist with issues associated with general damages. Experts are used in many stages of the claims process, and for a variety of purposes. Some experts are engaged for consulting purposes during the pre-litigation stage of the claims process; some assist with discovery matters, such as interrogatories or depositions, during the litigation process; some experts are used for the sole purpose of providing testimony at trial. In most cases, experts are engaged early on in a case, and therefore often play a vital role throughout the process of resolution.

If you or a loved one were involved in an accident in which a victim sustained injury or fatality, it is important that you have an attorney on your side that has the knowledge and skill necessary to seek recovery for each category of damages associated with your matter. The Auto Accident Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. have decades of practice experience, and will aggressively fight for any and all forms of compensation that you may be entitled to.