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What types of damages can be recovered from a negligent driver?

In Louisiana, when a person is injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver, that person may be able to pursue monetary damages through a personal injury lawsuit. But what exactly are the types of damages that can be recovered?

In a case involving serious injury, past and future pain and suffering is often one of the primary categories of damages. There is no set formula for a jury to apply in determining the amount of compensation for pain and suffering in any given case. The size of the award will depend a number of factors, including how severe the injury is and the extent to which the pain will continue in the future. Emotional distress or mental anguish can also be recovered when the plaintiff has suffered a serious physical injury.

Lost income is compensated in two ways. First, the jury can award the plaintiff any lost wages or income incurred from the date of the injury to the date of the award. The plaintiff must prove the lost income was a direct result of the injury. The amount is calculated based on the plaintiff's income prior to the accident. Second, the jury can award the plaintiff damages for loss of future earning capacity. This award takes into account the extent to which the injury has diminished the plaintiff's ability to earn income in the future.

The jury can also award past medical expenses related to the accident, as well as the cost of any future medical care that is reasonably likely to be required.

Other items of damages that can be recovered include the cost of hiring somebody to perform household services the plaintiff can no longer perform due to the injuries, damages for scarring and disfigurement, and compensation for the loss of the ability to enjoy life. If the plaintiff is married and the injuries have resulted in damage to the marital relationship, the plaintiff's spouse can recover damages for loss of consortium.

When a person is injured due to the negligence of another, they may wonder how they will be able to cope with the many expenses resulting from the injury. Fortunately, in some cases a personal injury lawsuit can be pursued as a means for seeking economic recovery for the damages the person suffered. Doing so could provide financial relief, so the person can focus on healing.

Source: FindLaw, "Economic Recovery for Accidents and Injuries," accessed Jan. 1, 2017

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