Suffering serious injuries can cause havoc in the life of anyone in New Jersey, regardless of whether it was an automobile accident, a slip or trip accident on a broken sidewalk or a fall in your apartment building due to a faulty stairway. If another person's negligence caused your injury and subsequent financial and emotional damages, you might be entitled to pursue financial relief through the New Jersey civil justice system.
You might have questions about the type of damages for which you could seek recovery. The severity of your injuries and the extent of the resulting economic and noneconomic damages will play a role in what you can recover.
Possible recoverable damages
Before proceeding with a civil lawsuit, it might be a good idea to consult with legal counsel who can explain your options. Depending on the circumstances that caused your injuries, the following types of damages might be available:
- Medical expenses: You can claim all medical services related to your injuries, including doctors' bills, emergency room costs, hospital stays, nursing services and ambulance fees.
- Future medical expenses: With proof and the medical opinion of your treating doctor that you will need for ongoing medical care for accident-related injuries in the future, you could claim the estimated costs of such treatment.
- Lost wages: Any income you lost between suffering the injury and the date of the settlement or judgment may be covered.
- Lost earning capacity: If you can prove that your injuries will prevent you from earning money in the future, you could claim compensation. The court will consider your health, age, life expectancy, skills, talents, occupation, training and experience.
- Pain and suffering: For such a claim, the jury will consider the nature and severity of your injury, the certainty that you will suffer pain in the future, and for how long it would likely continue.
- Mental anguish: Emotional distress and mental suffering resulting from the incident that caused the injury could include terror, fright, nervousness, apprehension, worry, anxiety, mortification, shock, grief, embarrassment and loss of dignity. This category can also include disfigurement such as permanent scarring.
- Permanent disability: With medical testimony to substantiate permanent disability, both objective and subjectively perceived disability damages can form part of the claim.
- Other emotional damages: Loss of consortium claims involve the deprivation of married life benefits such as companionship, sexual relations, affection, assistance and more while a loss of life enjoyment refers to the inability to continue enjoying everyday pleasures of life.
- Household services: If your injuries prevent you from doing your usual household chores and other tasks, such as walking the dog, you might recover the costs of hiring someone to do it.
Documenting your claim
When you consult with an experienced New Jersey attorney to determine whether you have grounds to file a lawsuit in a civil court, the lawyer can assess the circumstances and explain which of the damages you can claim under New Jersey law. Legal counsel can also assist with the proper documenting of your claims, and he or she can ensure to include the required substantiating bills and medical reports. A successfully presented claim can lead to a monetary judgment to cover the financial and emotional damages as allowed under applicable laws.