If you have ever sued somebody, you no doubt would have been concerned with winning the lawsuit. But winning on the merits of the case is only the first step; sometimes its not the most important one. The second question is what type of remedy the court will give you.
There are many types of remedies and orders a court can make. They can make the defendant do something, or order him to stop doing something. The most common type of remedy, however, is damages. Damages is an award of money.
Let us assume that you have been injured in a car accident. How do judges determine how much money you receive in damages? They will try to fairly compensate you for what you have lost. It is not easy to translate an injury into money terms.
The court considers many factors. It will consider the pain and suffering that you have undergone. It will consider the seriousness of the injuries sustained and how this affects your enjoyment of life. You will also be able to recover for lost income, if you have not been able to work.
Whether or not the injury is permanent can be a huge factor in determining the amount of damages awarded. (And we cant always know with absolute certainty at the time of the trial whether the injury is permanent.)
COMPENSATING a person for a lifetime loss whether it be lifetime pain and suffering, lifetime loss of enjoyment, or the inability to work again will obviously be considerably more expensive than compensating someone who is expected to recover in the near future.
Damages for emotional shock are also available. You don't get any money for a little sadness after an accident. To receive money beyond what is generally awarded for pain and suffering, emotional shock must be quite serious.
The traditional method of receiving damages was in a lump sum. In recent years, however, some plaintiffs have chosen a structured settlement. This means that they receive their money in monthly or yearly installments. The advantage to installments is reduced possibility of spending all the money at once. It also has tax advantages in many cases.
Of course, however you receive your money, it can never fully compensate for a serious injury.
But its the best the law can do.