Attorney Scott Smith does a nice job of summarizing the role of damages in a civil law suit in his April 7th blog post. Scott talks about compensatory, punitive and nominal damages and how they come into play when a jury makes its decision of what verdict to award a plaintiff in a personal injury law suit.
The law permits you to seek recovery after an accident to “make you whole again.” The central concept is that you should be compensated in a manner that, as best as the law can arrange, places you back in the same position as you were before the accident.
The key in obtaining appropriate compensation for an injured client is to assure that the jury is provided with both comprehensive subjective evidence (e.g. the diary of the patients experiences) as well as objective evidence (xrays of broken bones or MRI findings) of the plaintiffs treatment and care. This evidence may come from the medical records, the treating doctors, the plaintiff himself or the family and friends who observed the effects of the injury upon the plaintiff.
There are no guarantees as to what a jury will elect to award in a personal injury trial however, when provided with competent testimony and quality evidence any plaintiff should feel comfortable that they will get a fair recovery.