When you win a lawsuit against a negligent or at-fault party, you may receive damages as compensation. In essence, damages refer to monetary compensation or other remedies awarded by a court to individuals who have suffered harm or wrongdoing.
Still, there are different types of damages, including physical damages, that you might receive based on the circumstances of your case. Today, let’s break down what physical damages are and why they matter, or contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers today online or at 516-342-2200 for a free consultation and more information.
What Are Physical Damages?
For example, say that you are involved in a New York auto accident with road rage. In the crash, you receive minor injuries, but your car is almost totaled. If the other driver was malicious or grossly negligent in their behavior, you could receive physical damages as compensation. The physical damages should help to pay you for both your medical bills and to help you repair or replace your vehicle.
Physical damages are always related to the direct damage done to your person. In a legal sense, your “person” includes both your physical body and the property that you directly own and that was involved in the accident or incident in question.
Are Physical Damages Always Related to Bodily Injury?
Physical damages refer to any damages owed to you because of the physical injuries you or your person/property might have suffered in a legal incident. Physical damages can include but are not limited to:
- Damages for past and future medical bills, provided the medical bills are directly related to the incident in question
- Damages for damaged, destroyed, or lost property that was damaged, lost, or destroyed because of the crash or another party’s negligent behavior
- Damages for lost income if you had to spend time away from work because of the accident/incident
Physical Damages vs. Non-Physical Damages
It’s important to note that physical damages are not the only types of damages you can receive. Physical damages are a type of economic damages: damages intended to “make you whole” after you suffer some sort of injury or damage at the hands of another party.
However, there are also non-economic damages. Non-economic damages aren’t based on the economic or raw value of the injuries done to your person. Instead, they may be based on other factors.
The most common types of non-economic damages are pain and suffering damages. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident and you suffer severe injuries, you might experience intense pain and discomfort. Depending on the details of your case, the court could decide to award you with non-economic damages for that pain and discomfort, which isn’t intended to compensate you for anything directly.
In certain limited cases, the defendant in a lawsuit may also be required to pay punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant as punishments; courts only levy them when they want to make an example of an offender (usually a repeat offender) and make a statement about breaking the law. Punitive damages are rare compared to other damage types.
How Are Physical Damages Calculated?
As a type of economic damages, physical damages are calculated by looking at the unbiased or averaged economic value of whatever you lost or had to pay.
Say that you are seriously injured in a construction site accident. Once you visit a medical facility, you’ll have records of all the bills and expenses you need to pay for your ongoing treatment. It’s a relatively simple matter to show the court what you had to pay for your medical bills, then seek out physical damages as a result.
The situation can be a little more complicated with property, but it still follows the same general process. For instance, if you lose your vehicle in a serious car accident, the court should look at the fair market value for the car when calculating your physical damages (assuming that there are no other physical damages you can be compensated for).
In this way, you should be able to secure financial compensation for your physical damages that is fair and accurate in how it reflects your accident-related losses. Please note, however, that if the property in question has an undetermined value, you and your lawyers may need to negotiate with the court to arrive at a fair settlement amount.
Pure Comparative Negligence
In addition, New York lawsuits sometimes follow rules of pure comparative negligence. Under these rules, you may be found partially at fault or guilty for your own damages. If this happens, your physical damages could be reduced by whatever percentage you are at fault.
Say you and another driver get into an accident. Under the rules of pure comparative negligence, if you are 20% at fault for your accident, your total physical damages award should be reduced by 20%. This is just another reason to have the best personal injury attorneys working for you. Knowledgeable attorneys like the team at Schwartzapfel Lawyers may be able to show that you were not at fault for your damages whatsoever, so call us at 516-342-2200 or visit us online.
Why Do Physical Damages Matter?
Physical damages are highly important in lawsuits and a variety of legal cases. Let’s explore the reasons why below.
They Impact Your Compensation
First, physical damages can impact the total compensation you may receive from a successful lawsuit. In fact, physical damages should make up the lion’s share of the compensation you receive from an at-fault or negligent party, more often than not. Other types of damages are rarer and usually less substantial.
Thus, proving that you are entitled to physical damages from an at-fault party is the primary concern of personal injury and other attorneys you might work with.
They May Lead To Other Compensation
However, if you qualify for physical damages, you may also be able to convince a court that you are entitled to other compensation, like the above-mentioned non-economic damages for pain and suffering. This isn’t universally the case, of course, as the outcome will usually be contingent on a variety of factors, such as the specifics of your lawsuit, your level of fault in the crash, the presence or absence of associated injuries, and so on.
How To Know If You Have Grounds For A Lawsuit For Physical Damages
Physical damages can be highly important for crash victims who face high medical bills or significant lost property. For instance, if you are seriously injured in an auto crash, you may not have enough money saved up or in your insurance policy to pay for the surgeries and other medical care needed to recover fully.
Thus, you may need to know whether you have sufficient grounds to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. In New York, whether or not you can file a lawsuit depends on:
- The specifics of your case. For example, you usually can’t sue the at-fault driver in an auto crash, though there are some exceptions if they were grossly negligent in their behavior.
- Any provable damages you can show to the court. You’ll need to supply records of medical bills and injuries, for instance, to show that you need damages to pay for those medical fees.
Since this can be difficult to determine by yourself, it’s usually a good idea to contact knowledgeable attorneys at the earliest opportunity. At Schwartzapfel Lawyers, our experienced legal team can take a look at your case and its details and tell you:
- The likelihood that you will qualify for physical damages if you file a lawsuit
- What your chances are of successfully winning a lawsuit against the at-fault party
Should you choose to work with us, we’ll provide you with sound legal counsel, gather evidence for you, and present that evidence compellingly in court or at arbitration. More importantly, we can make sure you make the best financial decision for yourself and your family.
Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today
As you can see, physical damages encompass any monetary compensation awarded for property damage, physical injury, and/or destruction of personal belongings. Moreover, if you file a successful personal injury lawsuit, you’ll likely receive physical damages to compensate you for past and future medical bills as well as other accident-related expenses.
To maximize your physical damages, you’ll want to work with skilled attorneys like the ones at Schwartzapfel Lawyers. As experienced personal injury lawyers, we’re among the best people to contact if you or a loved one wishes to seek physical damages from an at-fault party.
For a free case evaluation and so much more, don’t wait! Instead, call us today at 516-342-2200 or visit us online. It will be our honor and privilege to fight for you every step of the way!
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 1-516-342-2200 now!