In any kind of Kansas City personal injury case, you’ll experience a range of expenses that are outside of your monthly budget. Chances are, you don’t have the money to cover them all, either—especially if you’re unable to work while you heal.
That’s where a settlement comes in. The money you receive as a settlement should be enough to cover the bills you have as well as compensate you in other ways. Compensation is also known as “damages,” because it is financial compensation that is intended to help you recover from a personal injury and get on with your life.There are three basic types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive. But, as we’ll see, all three types of damages also involve the payment of money.
Bills piling up. The damage to or loss of your car. Other damages like your glasses, smartphone, or other important property. Missing work until you’re well enough to go back—if ever. These are all outcomes you can face after a car or other personal injury accident.Many accidents are caused by the negligence of another person. A claim and possibly a lawsuit eventually lead to a settlement to cover these and other expenses resulting from the personal injury.Economic damages can include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future wages (including earning capacity)
- Repair or replacement of your vehicle
- Repair or replacement of other damaged/destroyed property with you in the vehicle
- Rental car reimbursement during repair
Most accident-related expenses are recoverable as economic damages.
These are damages such as:
- Emotional distress
- Pain & suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
Although these are money damages, there isn’t a specific formula for calculating them as there is for lost wages and medical expenses. An experienced personal injury attorney can explain how it works and how it may be added to your settlement.
Punitive (aka “Exemplary” Damages)
This is a different type of non-economic compensation.As we discussed in a previous blog post, punitive damages are intended to punish the negligent party and discourage others from doing the same thing. Called “exemplary damages” in Missouri, there is now a higher standard for proving that the other party was, in fact, negligent. A plaintiff must prove “by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff without just cause or acted with a deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others.”Be aware that although you may receive a set amount of punitive damages in conjunction with a personal injury settlement, it’s not all yours. Missouri is also known as a “split-recovery” state, meaning that half of all punitive damages are turned over to the state as a matter of course.The collected monies are deposited in the state’s "Tort Victims' Compensation Fund." Established in 1987, the fund helps victims of accidents and other personal injury actions who are unable to collect damages because the negligent party has little or no insurance, has filed for bankruptcy, or is otherwise unable to pay.
Kansas City’s Premier Personal Injury Firm
Since 1918, The Popham Law Firm has been representing people just like you in personal injury cases. We’ll be happy to review your case, let you know if you have one, and how to proceed. No two cases are alike, and we will work to maximize your settlement. Because the laws frequently change, working with us means you’ll be up-to-date on the current laws that apply. Contact us at (844) 243-2288 to get started.