Damages in South Carolina Personal Injury Cases: Compensatory Damages
If you have been injured, you may able recover compensatory and punitive damages. (Compensatory damages are sometimes called “actual” damages.) Today’s topic is compensatory damages in South Carolina. We’ll write separate post about punitive damages later.
First, our DISCLAIMER: You probably already know this, but you can’t become DuRant & DuRant, P.A.’s client by reading anything (including a blog). This blog doesn’t constitute legal advice. Every situation is different. If you want legal advice about your unique issues, contact a lawyer.
Some Examples of Compensatory Damages
Here are some of the more common compensatory damages you can recover in a serious personal injury lawsuit:
Medical expenses and medical care;
Loss of earnings;
Loss of earning capacity;
Loss of income;
Loss of use of property;
Costs to repair or repair property;
Lost business or employment opportunities; and
Loss of retirement income.
By no means is this all inclusive. If you’ve been injured, you should discuss with your attorney what might constitute compensatory damages.
Pain and Suffering
You might’ve heard the phrase “pain and suffering.” In South Carolina, the words “pain and suffering” have a distinct meaning:
An award for pain and suffering compensates the injured person for the physical discomfort and the emotional response to the sensation of pain caused by the injury itself.
Boan v. Blackwell, 541 S.E.2d 242, 343 S.C. 498 (S.C. 2001). Those emotional responses can include shock, fright, emotional upset, and humiliation that result from somebody’s negligence.
If you think that’s a tired phrase, then we agree. Your injury’s impact can never be summarized in three little words. On that score, the attorneys at DuRant & DuRant, P.A. can develop the evidence in your personal injury lawsuit to show how you’ve been impacted. If the case goes to trial, we’ll demonstrate to the jury through witness testimony and exhibits to show how you’ve been injured.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
There’s a separate category of damages that you can receive called “loss of enjoyment of life.” According to the South Carolina Supreme Court, that form of damages:
Compensates for the limitations, resulting from the defendant’s negligence, on the injured person’s ability to participate in and derive pleasure from the normal activities of daily life, or for the individual’s inability to pursue his talents, recreational interests, hobbies, or avocations.”
Loss of enjoyment of life damages compensate the individual not only for the subjective knowledge that one can no longer enjoy all of life’s pursuits, but also for the objective loss of the ability to engage in these activities.
Boan v. Blackwell, 541 S.E.2d 242, 343 S.C. 498 (S.C. 2001) (quotation reflects minor edits).
Damages for loss of enjoyment of life could include, for instance, losing your sense of taste or smell. To be sure, you can still eat. But you no longer look forward to it. Some accidents leave people without the use of their legs. In those cases, damages could be awarded for a person’s never being able to walk with their children again.
Compensatory damages can include past damages and damages you will suffer in the future. The attorneys at DuRant & DuRant, P.A. can help you if you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligent, reckless, or intentional act. Call 843-448-1541 to set up your consultation today.