Each State sets forth the types, and sometimes limits that a plaintiff can recover as damages in personal injury cases involving truck accidents. Obviously, the facts and circumstances of the particular case will determine which measure of damages may be appropriate in any particular case.
However, most jurisdictions allow victims of truck accidents to recover damages for out of pocket expenses as well as damages for mental anguish and pain and suffering. Although some jurisdictions also allow an injured victim to recover punitive damages- damages designed to punish a wrongdoer for particularly bad conduct.
Out of pocket expenses usually allowed by most courts include medical expenses, loss of wages, property damage, and rental of a vehicle during repairs. Most States also allow an injured victim to recover for projected future loss of wages and future medical expenses. Courts recognize that future expenses cannot be determined with certainty, but they cannot be based on pure speculation.
In terms of proving future losses, the testimony of experts is useful. The treating physician can testify about the likelihood and cost of potential future medical expenses. An economist or vocational rehabilitation expert can offer testimony on the loss of future wages or earning capacity.
Losses for mental anguish and pain and suffering are harder to quantify because these figures are based upon a monetary value for the degree and severity of the past and future suffering caused by the accident. Since many truck accident cases involve devastating injuries, these numbers can be significant.
Usually, physicians, family members and the plaintiff all testify about the degree of suffering endured as a result of the injuries and the expected future suffering to be expected.
In addition to the elements listed above, most jurisdictions will allow the spouse of an injured victim to recover damages for the loss of services, society and sex which the injured victim can no longer perform like they could before the accident. This could include household chores like cutting the grass that the plaintiff can no longer do on his own and must now hire help to do it.
Many States do not allow for the recovery of punitive damages. Those that do often limit the amount of these damages to a specified sum.
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