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What Types of Damages can I Get in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

When you have been seriously injured in an accident, you are probably wondering what types of damages you may be owed as a result. You are likely undergoing medical treatment to resolve your injuries and the medical bills may be starting to cause concern. You may also wonder how much your claim is worth. Since every case is different, it is best to speak with an experienced Wisconsin personal injury attorney. There are two ways to receive money for your injuries from the negligent party. One option is to negotiate with the insurance company to settle the claim. If you cannot reach a fair settlement, you may choose to file a lawsuit against the responsible party.

Types of Damages

Damages may be compensatory or punitive. Compensatory damages are generally either economic or non-economic. Punitive damages are designed to punish the negligent party.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are designed to put you in the position you were in before the accident. The award of these damages will pay for your actual medical costs and any other costs that you incurred as a result of the accident.


Economic damages are expenses that actually were incurred or will be incurred. These types of damages are measurable because they have specific costs associated with them. Some examples of economic damages include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical costs
  • Lost wages due to the injuryLoss of future earning capacityProperty repairs or replacement valueAny other calculable damages
  • Other calculable damages are expenses that were incurred due to the injury. Some examples include child care and transportation costs.


Non-economic damages are those that were suffered as a result of the accident but are not calculable. Common types of non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Although non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate, they are still compensable damages and should be part of your settlement or award.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are ordered only in cases where the defendant’s negligence was intentional or when the defendant displayed conduct that was wanton, willful, or malicious. In cases in which the judge finds the negligent party disregarded the plaintiff’s rights or was grossly negligent, he or she may award punitive damages.

Personal Injury Damage Limits

The law does not limit non-economic damages in most personal injury cases. However, Wisconsin law limits the amount of damages a plaintiff may recover in a medical malpractice case. In cases of medical malpractice, the law limits non-economic damages to $750,000. Punitive damages are capped at twice the compensatory damages with a limit of no more than $200,000.

If you were hurt in an accident it is advisable to speak to a Wisconsin personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Do not accept a settlement from the insurance company until your injuries are completely healed and until you have talked to an attorney. Contact our knowledgeable legal team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. to discuss your case today.

Published February 19, 2019
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