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When pursuing a personal injury claim in Idaho, you will be asked what your damages are. What does that even mean?

In a nutshell, damages are your losses someone else caused. Damages are the compensation for your injuries caused by another’s negligence or inaction. In Idaho, there are two broad categories of damages: compensatory and punitive. 

Punitive damages are awarded in certain circumstances to punish the wrongdoer and dissuade others from acting the same way. In Idaho, punitive damages have been awarded for DUI car wrecks, negligent gunshots, and retail store injures. 

Compensatory damages mean you are being compensated for the injuries caused by someone else. They are split into economic (also referred to as special) and noneconomic (also referred to as general) damages.

Economic damages are when you have receipts. This includes medical bills you have from the car wreck, the lost wages you suffered from tending to your injuries, or the money you had to pay out of pocket for a knee brace or a shoulder sling. Your economic damages can also include your car repair costs, or property that was destroyed in a wreck. When evaluating a case, your personal injury lawyer looks at past medical bills, future medical bills, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, future lost wages, loss of job opportunities, and loss of labor market access. 

General damages, also known as noneconomic damages, are harder to quantify. They are the intangible losses you have suffered. They can be summed up by considering anything you had to go through or will go through in the future because of your injury. The law in Idaho describes them as “inferred by the law itself.” It is assumed that because you were injured, you suffered general damages. General damages can include pain and suffering, how the injury occurred, if the injury is disfiguring or caused permanent disability or impairment, loss of enjoyment of life while healing, and future considerations of how the injury will affect you. 

Idaho’s cap on general damages for 2024 is $458,728.65. The Idaho legislature set a cap on general damages that adjusts every July. There are avenues around the general damage cap, such as if the at-fault party was reckless. Because of this cap, it is very important to hire an experienced lawyer who knows how to itemize and present your injury claim to maximize your settlement. If you have any questions about what your personal injury claim is worth, call Jane Gordon today for a free consultation. 

“How much is pain and suffering worth?” is a common question. Your case value cannot be fully and accurately assessed until you are done with your medical treatment. Hiring a lawyer early on in the process will also help maximize your case value, as you can avoid common pitfalls. The only correct answer is “it depends.” As you see, there are so many nuances to an injury claim, the most important thing is that Jane Gordon Law will maximize your claim’s value. 

If you are worried you have “only” a whiplash injury from a car wreck, or a small nip from a dog bite, you might be surprised at the value of your injury claim! How all of these damages are presented and how the evidence is gathered and put together makes a big difference in your settlement.

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