When one person’s negligence causes injuries to another person, the injured person has a legal right to seek compensation from the responsible party for his or her damages. In a typical automobile accident lawsuit, the plaintiff’s damages will include things like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If the plaintiff’s injuries are of a permanent nature, he or she may ask for compensation for both past and future damages.
If the plaintiff is married, his or her spouse may seek loss of consortium damages, and the plaintiff may ask for punitive damages if the defendant’s conduct went above and beyond mere negligence into behavior that could be considered reckless or wanton and willful.
Most injury cases are tried to a jury, and the jury decides the damages that are due to the plaintiff. Sometimes, however, the parties agree to waive the right to a jury, and the trial court judge hears the case and decides the issues.