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Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Case

If you are hurt due to the negligent actions of another individual or entity in Montana, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Often, injury victims can recover compensation through an insurance settlement or as a result of a personal injury lawsuit filed directly against an at-fault party. There may be various types of compensation available for an injury claim in Montana, including both economic and non-economic damages. You may see these referred to as “special” and “general” damages.

Personal Injury Economic Damages (Special Damages)

Perhaps the most easily understandable types of damages available if a personal injury claim is successful revolve around economic damages. You may see these referred to as special damages, and these are the calculable expenses injury victims in Montana are most likely to incur. Even though the exact type of economic damages available for an injury claim will vary depending on factors related to each particular case, some of the most common include compensation for:

  • Emergency medical expenses
  • Physical therapy or rehabilitation
  • Medical devices and prescription medications
  • Lost income and loss of future wages
  • Out-of-pocket expenses are rising due to the incident
  • Property damage expenses

There are no limitations to how much monetary value can be awarded for economic damages in Montana. Personal injury victims and their legal team will gather receipts, bills, invoices, and any other verifiable means to adequately calculate these total losses.

Personal Injury Non-Economic Damages (General Damages)

The calculable damages are not the only types of losses available through most personal injury claims. Injury victims may also be able to recover non-economic damages, sometimes referred to as general damages.

Non-economic damages are more immeasurable losses the injury victim is likely to incur as a result of the incident, the recovery, and any disability. These damages are meant to focus on a victim’s:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional and psychological pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement

As you can imagine, adequately calculating non-economic damages is a bit more challenging because they are harder to measure. However, the “multiplier method” is typically an accepted way to calculate non-economic damages. Using this method, we can add up all of the economic damages you incur and then multiply that total by a set number, typically a number ranging from two to five.

For example, if an individual incurs $300,000 worth of economic damages, a multiplier of “three” could be used to reach a non-economic damage total of $900,000.

Montana, the only time a damage cap (limitation in how much a person can receive) applies to non-economic damages concerns cases involving medical malpractice. In those circumstances, medical malpractice damages are limited, but there are no limitations on the economic damages available for medical malpractice claims.

What About Punitive Damages?

In Montana, punitive damages could be available in very specific circumstances. In this state, these damages are considered additional to economic and non-economic damages and not actually part of the compensable damages awarded for the case. Punitive damages can be awarded in the event the negligent party was found to have committed fraud or acted with malice in causing harm to the plaintiff. We encourage you to speak to your personal injury lawyer about whether or not punitive damages are appropriate for your particular case.