If you have suffered a personal injury through the fault of someone else, you may be able to collect damages (aka money) through the court system. As an injured party, you are not limited to recover only the specific amount of money an accident caused you to spend – such as a hospital bill. Instead, damages can be classified into two general categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are more tangible and can generally be found as the amount of money spent as a result of the accident, such as the amount of medical expenses. Non-economic damages can be awarded for things like pain and suffering – which may not have an evident, specific dollar amount like a hospital bill.
The following are some examples of what an injured party may recover damages for:
· Medical Expenses (both past & future)
· Lost Wages
· Lost Earning Capacity
· Pain & Suffering (both physical & mental)
· Loss of Sound Mind & Body
· Physical Disability
In addition, even if an accident is partially your fault, if you are less responsible for the injury than the defendant you can still recover damages. Iowa follows a comparative fault rule which means that if you are partially at fault for an accident you will be responsible for your share. For example, if you are 30% at fault for an accident, while the defendant is 70% at fault, the damages you can collect will be reduced by 30%.
The damages mentioned above are primarily designed to put an injured party as close as possible to the position they were in before the injury occurred. However, punitive or exemplary damages (which go beyond making the injured party ‘whole’) may also be awarded when conduct is directed specifically at the injured party and/or willful and wanton disregard for the rights or safety of another are exhibited.
Because of the differences between each personal injury, damages vary with each case. To find out if you can recover for a personal injury contact one of our experienced attorneys to look at your specific case:
[Relevant IA Code Sections: IA Code §668A.1 – covers punitive or exemplary damages; IA Code §668 – covers comparative fault. Also § § 616.17; 616.18; 624.18; etc.]