‘Damages’ in the legal sense is defined as the amount of monetary compensation that a judge awards a person after they suffered a loss or were harmed due to the unlawful act of another person. This term can sometimes be confused with the word ‘damage’ which refers to any physical or emotional harm that a person endures; this includes harm that was done to their property or reputation. The damages that a person is awarded should be sufficient enough to cover any of the damage that they experienced as a result of the other person’s wrongdoing.
Understanding How Tort Law Affects Damages
Tort law is a type of law that helps protect people who suffer a loss due to the actions of a business or individual. The main purpose of tort law is to ensure that the person who caused damages is held responsible for their actions, usually through monetary compensations. This ensures that the victim doesn’t pay for the loss on their own.
There are several different types of torts. Listed below are a few of the most common torts.
- Negligent torts occur when someone is acting in an unreasonably dangerous manner, and as a result, they unintentionally cause harm to someone else.
- Intentional torts occur when someone deliberately causes harm to another person. This can include criminal acts such as assault, battery, or false imprisonment.
- Dignitary torts usually involve emotional distress. This type of harm can be caused by an invasion of privacy or defamation of character.
When someone has suffered due to the treatment of a nursing home, they usually seek out a lawyer that has experience with tort law.
Different Types of Damages Obtained in Tort Cases
If a person feels that they have endured any type of loss or harm due to someone else’s negligence or unlawful acts, that person can then file a lawsuit and try to gain compensation for their loss. If a court agrees that the person filing a lawsuit (plaintiff) has acquired any type of loss due to the actions of the other person (defendant), then there are several types of damages that the court can award to the plaintiff.
The three types of damages include:
1. General damages
This term relates to non-monetary losses that a person may have suffered due to someone else’s actions. This can include pain and injury, disfigurement, mental anguish, or experiencing a lower quality of life. A personal injury victim is expected to have some general damages that can affect their past, present, or future.
2. Compensatory damages
Compensatory damages is a term used to describe a person who suffered monetary losses as a direct result of an injury that they sustained. This term is also referred to as ‘special damages’ and it should help to cover expenses that the victim has sustained while injured. The number of expenses can vary greatly from case to case, but some of the most common expenses that personal injury victims can incur are:
- loss of wages (this includes loss of future earnings)
- medical bills
- daily household expenses
- future medical treatment
Compensatory damages are generally easier to calculate, as there are conclusive monetary losses that can be accounted for.
3. Punitive damages
Punitive damages are awarded to plaintiffs when the defendant acted in an extremely reprehensible manner. Punitive damages are usually only awarded when the defendant has been found guilty of malicious or fraudulent behavior. This extreme behavior may have caused serious injury or even death. Sometimes, with punitive damages, the monetary loss can be extensive and widespread, which is why with this type of damages, the amount of money that is awarded is usually higher than it is with general and compensatory damages awards.
When to Seek a Lawyer
If a person feels that either they were harmed as a result of someone’s unlawful or negligent acts, or a loved one was harmed, they should seek out an attorney that specializes in personal injury or tort law. Some of the most common types of injury that are sustained at nursing home facilities include:
- severe infection
- dehydration and malnutrition
- excessive or untreated bedsores
- unexplained injuries such as cuts, burns, or bruising
- mental anguish
- severe depression caused by the type of care administered by the nursing home employees
- any injury or treatment that resulted in the wrongful death of a patient
Anyone who feels that they have experienced injuries due to the type of treatment that was administered by a care facility should talk to an experienced attorney to see if they are eligible to receive compensation. Monetary compensation can cover any medical bills or other expenses that accumulated as a result of the personal injury endured at a care facility.
An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer will be able to talk to the plaintiff about the specific type of evidence that is needed for each case. The attorney can also gather witnesses and look at past complaints that the facility may have received in order to help prove any negligence or wrongdoing.
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