Compensatory vs. Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Cases

Compensatory vs. Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Cases

What’s the Difference Between Compensatory and Punitive Damages?

Getting injured when it’s not your fault can be a draining, painful, and overwhelming experience. Many victims not only suffer from their injuries but also the expenses and losses resulting from their accident. This makes sense, as victims often need medical care, time off work to recover, and help getting back up on their feet altogether.

Luckily, the court may award damages to a plaintiff if a judge finds enough evidence to show that the defendant’s negligence caused another person’s injuries. These damages can be either compensatory or punitive.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are awarded for injuries and losses caused by your accident. They intend to compensate victims for the harm they suffered as a result of their injury, covering medical bills, prescriptions, treatments, and the like. These types of damages are categorized as special damages and general damages, which both account for different types of losses, as described below:

Special compensatory damages (also known as economic damages):

  • Medical expenses
  • Transportation costs
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Legal fees

General compensatory damages (also known as non-economic damages):

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • PTSD
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of companionship

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are rarely awarded in addition to compensatory damages and intend to punish the defendant for their negligence and wrongdoing. When awarded ― which doesn’t happen often ― punitive damages essentially punish the defendant and set an example of the consequences others could face if they act a certain way.

As such, defendants who deliberately and willfully act negligently and/or recklessly are more likely to incur punitive damages than if they had injured someone unintentionally. In other words, a court may only award punitive damages if a defendant’s actions are significantly harmful.

File Your Personal Injury Claim Today

If you got injured through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to compensation. Don’t let the responsible party get away with their negligence. Instead, take legal action against the person or company who wronged you by filing a personal injury claim. Our attorneys at Balbo & Gregg, Attorneys at Law, PC can help you every step of the way and negotiate for the settlement you need and deserve.

To gets started, contact us at (866) 580-3089!