Remedies and Damages

A personal injury attorney in Spokane who has proven that her client has been negligently harmed and that she would be entitled to a remedy.

Remedies may include legal remedies (e.g., an award of money, referred to as damages) and possibly equitable relief (e.g., a court order, referred to as an injunction). The following is a discussion of legal remedies appropriate in Tort Law. (Equitable remedies are discussed in greater detail in the Civil Procedure section.)

I. Compensatory damages– compensatory damages is an amount of money intended to place an injured party (i.e., the plaintiff) in the position he would have been if the injury had never occurred.

CommentEven in the case that an injured party had a condition that made him susceptible to injury that is in excess of what an ordinary person might incur, the defendant is liable for all injuries that result. A person having such a condition is said to have an “egg- shell cranium.”

Example– Dorothy is walking down the Wizard’s walkway and steps into a pothole. Dorothy has osteoporosis. Although a healthy individual would have only sprained her ankle, Dorothy breaks her hip. If a court finds the Wizard negligent, he will be liable for all of Dorothy’s injuries.

II. Punitive damages– a personal injury attorney in Spokane can seek punitive damages in very limited circumstances. Punitive damage is an amount of money awarded to an injured party intended to modify the future behavior of the defendant.

This sum of money is in addition to the compensatory damages. The amount of money awarded as punitive damages is also intended to make an example of the defendant for all others and thereby discourage others from acting similarly.

Example- Java Hot Coffee Shop sells coffee that is 190 degrees. Java Hot has been held liable three times before for injuries resulting from the coffee and many complaints have been filed with Java Hot about the coffee temperature.

Missy buys a cup of coffee from Java Hot. Missy spills the entire contents of the cup onto her hand and receives third degree burns. Missy’s total compensatory damages equal $50,000. In addition to the $50,000, the court awards Missy $8 million dollars. The $8 million is a punitive award, the purpose of which is to make Java Hot lower the temperature of their coffee.

Comment- A personal injury attorney in Spokane can seek punitive damages only in tort law. There is no award of punitive damages for liability resulting from a contract law breach of contract (also see contract law damages). Thus, from a plaintiff’s point of view, it is desirable to prove that a defendant has acted negligently, rather than merely having failed to fulfill a contract promise.

Also, a personal injury attorney in Spokane has to be cautions of the collateral source rule: money collected by an injured party (i.e., the plaintiff) from sources other than those paying on the defendant’s behalf (i.e., collateral sources) has no bearing on the amount of money that a defendant owes the plaintiff.

Example- Cleopatra’s chariot runs over Charles Green’s foot. Charles Green is treated by his doctor and all medical bills are paid by Charles Green’s insurance (i.e., a collateral source). Although Charles Green’s received money from his own health insurance company, Cleopatra will be responsible for the full amount of Charles Green’s injury. Cleopatra, or her insurance company, will be held liable for any damages awarded by a court.

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Read more about:

Overview of this area of law
Washington negligence law
Negligence: Duty and Breach
Negligence: Causation
Negligence: Remedies and Damages
Defenses to Negligence
Spokane car accidents
Washington products liability
Bodily injury, fault, and other issues
Personal injury claims
Types of Liability Claims
Dealing with insurance companies
Intentional Injuries
Going to trial – overview