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An Introduction to Personal Injury Litigation – Actual Loss

an-introduction-to-personal-injury-litigation-actual-lossThis blog is the last in a series examining what you must prove to successfully recover monetary compensation in a personal injury lawsuit based on negligence. In earlier blogs, we looked at the breach of the duty of care, as well as the required causal links in a negligence claim.

The Requirement of Actual Loss

Let’s assume you are waiting to make a right turn at a stop sign and take your foot off the brake for a second. The person behind you gives it a little too much gas and taps the back of your car before you pull out. You don’t feel any physical discomfort and never seek medical treatment. You look at your car, but can’t make out a scratch.

Do you have a claim for negligence? The other driver clearly breached the duty of care—a reasonable person would not pull forward until his or her pathway was clear. In addition, that breach of duty caused an accident—there was contact between the vehicles. But you won’t be able to pursue a personal injury claim, because you can’t show actual loss.

In negligence claims, there are generally two types of damages—compensatory and punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended, as the name suggests, to punish the defendant. They typically require egregious conduct by the defendant and are rarely granted. All other damages are compensatory—designed to reimburse or compensate you for past, present or future losses. Those losses can include expenses incurred, physical injury, or the diminution in value of property. If you can’t show any of those consequences, you can’t show actual damages.

Another instance where you won’t be able to show actual loss is if the loss is covered or paid for in some other manner. If you have insurance, workers’ compensation benefits or some other way that you have been reimbursed for the loss, you can’t recover again—you’ve already received compensation for the loss.

Contact Us Now

Don’t run the risk that evidence will be lost— contact us online or call our office today at 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment. Your first consultation is free. We are available evenings and weekends upon request. We’ll also travel to your home or the hospital, if necessary.

We handle all product liability claims on a contingent fee basis. We won’t charge any attorney fees unless we recover compensation for your losses.

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