What Damages Can I Recover in a Personal Injury Case?

New York Personal Injury Law

If you’ve been hurt in an accident, you’re probably wondering whether you can sue the at-fault party and what types of damages you might be able to recover. Every case is different, and depending on the details of yours, you may qualify for economic damages, non-economic damages, or both.

Below, learn about these damages and their differences from a personal injury lawyer in Queens, NY.

Types of Damages That May Be Available to You

There are two main kinds of damages: compensatory damages and punitive. Compensatory damages are designed to restore accident victims financially, physically, and emotionally. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for wrongdoing.

Compensatory damages can be further broken down into economic and non-economic damages. We’ll explain how they differ next. 

Economic Damages

Economic damages, also called special damages, have a specific dollar value attached. These are easy to calculate as there’s no question about how much your damages are worth.

Economic damages can include:

  • Medical bills: Medical expenses for car crashes, dog bites, and falls can reach thousands of dollars in a single day. You may seek compensation for emergency care, surgery, medications, physical therapy, and mental health treatment.
  • Property damage: It’s common to sue for property damage in car accident cases. You can also recover the cost of destroyed work equipment, clothing, luggage, or any of your other belongings.
  • Lost wages: If you must take time off work to recover, you can sue for the full amount of your lost wages. If your injuries prevent you from working in the future, you can recover the amount you would have earned based on your life expectancy.
  • Home modifications: If your accident left you disabled and you had to install wheelchair ramps, an elevator, or a modified shower, you can recover those costs.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages, also known as general damages, are harder to calculate because they have no inherent value. Pain and suffering is one type of non-monetary loss. Mental anguish, such as the development of anxiety, depression, or PTSD, is another.

Spouses of deceased victims may also sue for loss of consortium. This includes damages for the loss of their spouse’s paycheck, companionship, and affection. 

To calculate non-economic damages, a personal injury lawyer in Queens will first add up your special damages. They’ll then multiply that number by a figure, typically ranging from 1.5 to 5.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are rather rare, but if the defendant in your case acted maliciously or was egregiously negligent, a judge may award them to you.

Punitive damages are not a type of compensation. Rather, they’re intended to punish the defendant for their actions.

For instance, assume someone set up a trap on their property to stop people from trespassing. You walked into the trap and were severely injured. A judge might order punitive damages because the defendant should have known their trap would hurt someone.

New York Personal Injury Legal Requirements

Types of Accidents That Frequently Qualify for Compensatory Damages

Does your accident qualify for compensatory damages? If someone’s negligence caused your injuries, the answer is probably yes. You can likely recover damages for the following scenarios:

  • Car accidents: Car crashes are incredibly common in New York. Citywide, there were nearly 8,000 collisions and 18 traffic fatalities in December 2023 alone.
  • Truck accidents: Trucks are much bigger and heavier than cars, so your injuries can be catastrophic if one hits you. More than 117,000 trucks were involved in a crash in 2021, and large trucks account for 9% of vehicles involved in fatal crashes.
  • Slips and falls: Falls are an incredibly common cause of injuries. In 2021, nearly 45,000 people perished from falls at home and work. You may be able to hold a property owner liable if they knew about (or should have known about) a hazard yet failed to fix the problem.
  • Medical malpractice: You may be able to sue for malpractice if your doctor misdiagnosed you with cancer or made a serious mistake during surgery. Birth injuries and prescribing dangerous medication combinations qualify as malpractice as well.
  • Dog bites: Dog bites can cause life-threatening blood loss, fractures, eye damage, and even brain injuries. New York dog owners are strictly liable for a victim’s medical bills if they knew their animal was dangerous.
  • Nursing home abuse and neglect: Nursing home abuse is sadly common. In one study, about 24% of residents said they had experienced at least one instance of physical abuse in their nursing home.

Request a Consultation With a Queens Personal Injury Lawyer

Regardless of how your accident happened, you’re left with painful injuries, a stack of unaffordable medical bills, and no paycheck if you can’t work. If you’re having trouble choosing the right personal injury lawyer, look no further. Our team has over 60 years of combined experience and will fight hard to achieve a fair settlement for your damages.

For a free consultation with a Queens personal injury attorney, call Elliot Ifraimoff & Associates, PC, at (888) ASK-ELLIOT.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does insurance calculate personal injury damages?

To calculate damages, the insurance company will examine how your injuries have affected your life. The insurance company will consider the severity of your injuries, whether you’re able to work, lost wages, medical expenses, and future care needs.

How do you prove emotional distress?

Providing a doctor’s note that states how your injuries have affected your well-being is a good way to prove emotional distress. If you have an official diagnosis from a mental health provider, that will serve as good proof as well.

Can you sue your boss if you’re hurt at work?

You cannot sue your boss for a workplace accident if they offer workers’ compensation to you, as the vast majority of employers must do. If a third party was responsible for your accident, though, you may be able to sue them instead.

How do you win a personal injury lawsuit?

To win your lawsuit, you’ll need help from a personal injury lawyer in Queens, New York. Your attorney can help you gather evidence, medical records, witness statements, and footage of the accident, if available. They can also negotiate for a settlement that fully covers your damages.