Whether you have been injured in a car accident, because of a defective product or as a result of a dangerous condition, the damages available in Iowa for personal injury claims are generally the same. The following damages are generally available to someone who has suffered a personal injury because of the fault of another:
1) Past Medical Expenses: You are entitled to recover the cost of any medical care you needed as a result of your personal injury from the wrongdoer from the date of the injury through the time of trial. If you have health insurance, your health insurance usually will pay your medical expenses as they are incurred, but they are entitled to reimbursement if you make a recovery from the wrongdoer.
2) Future Medical Expenses: You are also entitled to recover future medical expenses that you likely will incur in the future as a result of your personal injury. It often is necessary to obtain opinions from physicians and economists in order to determine the amount of future medical expenses you are entitled to recover in your personal injury claim.
3) Past Lost Wages: You are entitled to recover wages you lost because you missed work due to your injury or in order to receive medical treatment.
4) Future Loss of Earning Capacity: This element of damage is the decrease in your earning potential as a result of your personal injury. Sometimes it is helpful to have an evaluation performed by a vocational specialist in order to determine your loss of earning capacity.
5) Past and Future Pain, Suffering and Loss of Enjoyment of Life: These damages are meant to compensate an injured person for both physical and mental pain. These damages are often the most crucial to a person who has suffered a permanent, disabling injury, but they can often be difficult for the jury to calculate.
6) Past and Future Loss of Function of the Mind and Body: These damages are also crucial for someone who has suffered a permanent, disabling injury. These damages compensate the injured person for loss of the ability to use their body the way they could before the injury. Examples include if a person can no longer walk because of an injury or if a person can no longer remember things as a result of a brain injury.
In addition to the above types of damages, in some personal injury claims, damages called loss of consortium damages are available. These are damages that are available to a spouse, parent or child of an injured person. They are intended to compensate that person for the damage to their relationship with the injured person. For example, if an injured person is no longer able to care for his children in the same way, these damages are meant to compensate his children for that loss.
Also, punitive damages are available in some personal injury claims. These damages are meant to punish the person who caused the injury, but are only available when the wrongdoer acted with reckless indifference for the rights of another.
If you have been injured and are concerned that the insurance company will not fully compensate you for your injury, you should speak with an Iowa personal injury lawyer. Please contact our office at (319) 826-2250.
The above information is meant to be helpful, but is not intended to be legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.