If you find yourself in a personal injury lawsuit, you are probably wondering what you are able to recover. Compensation is a big part of personal injury lawsuits, but many people do not fully understand how it works. It is actually quite simple, when you look at it closely. This guide will tell you everything you need to know.


In personal injury lawsuits, the plaintiff has the right to be compensated for all suffering he or she had to endure. This includes:

  • Hospital bills
  • Lost wages from missed work
  • Loss of ability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Damage to property

In fact, it is possible to be compensated for some things that may be quite surprising. For example, in some cases, victims of injury received compensation for their divorce. Of course, this is only possible if the injury lead to the divorce directly in some way. The point, however, is that you can be compensated for essentially anything that was caused by the injury.

Types of Damages

All compensation will be categorized into one of three types. The first category is special compensatory damages. These are damages that have an objective financial value. Essentially, if you can name the exact dollar value of your losses, it is a special compensatory damage. Of the above examples, hospital bills, lost wages, and damage to property would fit into this category. If you win your case, the defendant will be forced to compensate you for the full value of all your special compensatory damages.

The second category is general compensatory damages. This includes every kind of loss that has a subjective value. Of the above example, loss of ability and pain and suffering fall into this category. Because the losses do not have an exact value, the judge will decide how much they are worth, and the defendant must pay that amount.

The third category is punitive damages. This type of damages is unique because it is unrelated to what the victim lost. Instead, punitive damages relate to punishment for the defendant. If the judge decides that paying compensation is not enough punishment, he or she may add on additional punitive damages. These are very rare in personal injury lawsuits, but they do happen occasionally. Usually, punitive damages are only assigned if the defendant acted especially irresponsibly, such as by driving while intoxicated.If you have questions about how your losses fit into these categories, you should speak with an attorney, like a personal injury lawyer in Milwaukee, WI from Hickey & Turim, SC, to learn more.