While the term “damages” gets thrown around a lot when discussing personal injury, it’s meaning may not be entirely clear to some people. It is typically associated with loss from “pain and suffering”. This is a type of damage, but there are others. As a legal term, damages refer to both the loss that may be suffered from an accident, and the compensation that is received once the loss is proved.
Why is this important?
Certainly, the goal of a personal injury lawyer is to hold a party accountable for negligence that lead to the injury of a second party. Justice would hardly be served if the injured party simply received an apology and the assurance that they wronged. If you are hurt because of someone’s carelessness, you deserve to be restored. The justice system relies on the fact that if you are violated in some way, you have the right to be vindicated.
Personal injury lawsuits are commonly criticized as outrageous “get rich quick” schemes that serve more to benefit the attorney, than the Plaintiff. Financial restitution is not a perfect tool for awarding justice, but it is the closest remedy we have in today’s society. History teaches us that without a civilized system for such grievances, individuals will seek vengeance as their own form of justice. Labeling lawsuits and damages as a pursuit of personal gain, minimizes the suffering of the victim, as well as all the modern, civilized culture that these particular laws have afforded us. In a modern society, damages represent the peak of our imperfect attempts to achieve justice.