Seeking to Understand Damages

The word “damages” is legal jargon for compensation by way of “dollars and cents.” “Damages” refers to money owed to you by someone who has wrongfully caused you harm or losses. Obviously, money cannot make the pain, loss, or memories of the incident go away. However, monetary compensation is the best solution we as a society have come up with in an attempt to justly and fairly make an injured person “whole” again while also discouraging future instances of negligent or reckless conduct.

In a wrongful death claim, damages may include compensation for the deceased’s prior pain and suffering, fear of imminent death, and the loss of guidance, companionship, or income experienced by the surviving family members. New York law does not recognize a cause of action for the grief associated with losing a loved one.

Car accidents provide an example of why and how “damages” are awarded to one person suffering as a result of another person’s poor conduct. The rules of the road state drivers are not allowed to needlessly endanger the public.  If reckless or negligent driving hurts or kills another person, the careless driver is responsible for all resulting harm allowable under New York State laws. According to our system of justice, they take responsibility for their actions or inactions by paying money to the injured person or the family of the deceased. This is almost always done by way of an insurance company that indemnifies and defends the persons at fault. The owner of the offending vehicle, even if s/he was not the one driving, may also be held legally responsible for the improper actions of the person who was driving their car. This is called vicarious liability.

“Damages” include covering the costs to repair the other person’s vehicle or property and compensation for injuries. “Damages” can also include payment to compensate for the pain suffered by the victim and/or make up for lost income.  In most cases, payments for damages are paid by an insurance company on behalf of those legally responsible for causing the injuries, property damage, etc. People without insurance must pay damages directly to the person or people they harmed.

If you are injured or have property damage as a result of another person’s negligent behavior and have questions about damages, speak to an experienced attorney. A local personal injury lawyer will be able to give you the most knowledgeable advice about your case.

We are skilled at accurately assessing fault and damages so you can determine if you have a viable claim worth pursuing. Initial consultations with us are always free and we do not charge you a single dime unless we are successful in resolving your case. Contact us today.

-Peter Anthony DeFilippis, Esq.