Every personal injury lawyer knows that having “good damages” in a case is as important as having “good liability.” This chapter examines the various components of damages that may be recovered in a persona injury action. The key concepts are:
Actual injury required: In a negligence action, P must generally show that he suffered some sort of physical harm (so that he cannot recover damages if he suffered only mental harm with no physical symptoms, and cannot recover nominal damages). But once physical harm has been proven, a variety of damages may be recovered, including the value of any loss of bodily functions, out-of-pocket economic losses, pain and suffering, “hedonistic” damages, and more.
The collateral source rule: Under the “collateral source rule,” P is entitled to recover her out-of-pocket expenses, even if she was reimbursed for these losses by some third party (e.g., an insurance company).