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Compensatory Damages

If you suffer personal injuries in an accident caused by the negligence of another party, you may be able to recover damages for a variety of injuries. Keep in mind that even if you were partly at fault, you may still be able to recover damages from a negligent party under New Mexico’s comparative negligence doctrine.

Compensatory damages compensate a plaintiff for actual expenses and losses caused by an accident. Compensatory damages cover a lot of ground encompassing several categories of recoverable damages including medical expenses, future medical expenses, non-medical expenses, and loss of earnings. They specifically exclude punitive damages which are awarded not to compensate the injured party but to punish and deter the defendant.

Medical expenses are the most common element of compensatory damages. There are medical expenses associated with every legitimate accident related personal injury claim. Often, a case will settle or go to trial before an injured plaintiff has completed treatment. In cases of serious or permanent harm, there may be future medical expenses, sometimes including lifetime medical care.

Non-medical expenses cover a lot of ground. Again in cases of serious injury, it may necessary for the plaintiff to hire someone to assist the plaintiff with daily tasks. In other cases, the plaintiff may incur expenses to make daily living possible. For instance, in many situations involving serious or crippling injuries, an injured plaintiff will actually have to modify his or her home, car, work areas to accommodate the injuries. A common example is a ramp for entering and exiting the home in a wheelchair.

If the plaintiff is unable to return to work right away or can only work part time because of the plaintiff’s injuries, compensatory damages allow the plaintiff to recover any loss of wages due to the personal injury accident. Lost earnings both an important element of compensatory damages and quite tedious to prove.

Pain and suffering damages are also recoverable as compensatory damages. These would be awarded for both the physical pain and the emotional trauma associated with accidents and personal injury. Pain and suffering damages are frequently the most hotly contested damages, and often the most difficult to prove. In the absence of clear and obvious pain and suffering consequences, it is often necessary to enlist the services of an expert.

For each an every element of damages, an injured person must provide proof to the party or the insurance company on the other side. This requires extensive documentation. In cases of serious injuries involving complex calculations of damages, it is generally advisable to seek the assistance of an experienced New Mexico personal injury attorney.