Damages: Understanding Punitive And Compensatory Damages


If you have been the victim of a person or a business's carelessness or negligence, you may be entitled to money damages. Many people don't have a full understanding of what the term "damages" really means when it comes to personal injury lawsuits. That word encompasses each and every aspect of the way that the incident has affected you negatively. There are actually two types of damages, so read on to learn more:

Punitive Damages

As you may have guessed, this form of damage is concerned with punishment. In this instance, the punishment is financial but is separated from compensatory in an effort to make a point. Many personal injury suits don't involve punitive damages since it requires that the wrongdoer is found guilty of practicing such open and egregious harm that they need to pay the price.

Most often associated with businesses or corporations, the courts hope to financially reward the plaintiff while at the same time sending a message about the harm done. For example, a company that produces an unsafe product might not only need to change its practices, but other companies may take more care to avoid being sued and saddled with punitive damages. Often, punitive damages will be awarded using class action lawsuits, where a number of people with similar damages are brought together to form a single case. With so many people suffering the same type of harm, it seems custom-made for punitive damages.

Compensatory Damages

This type of damage is more well-known and is awarded more often since it is not necessary to send a message about the harm done. For example, if you were hit by a driver who was not paying attention and rear-ended your vehicle, you may sue for compensatory damages. If the driver was also texting at the time, suing for punitive damages could help send a message to others that would do the same. This form of damage is comprised of a listing of all the specific ways the plaintiff was harmed, such as:

  • Property losses (wrecked cars, lost car sets, ruined clothing, lost or ruined jewelry or phones, etc)
  • Medical treatment costs (including any mental health costs)
  • Reimbursement for lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

Calculating Compensatory Damages

You can put a price on how your life was affected using a calculation that takes into account the dollar amount of your medical expenses. This amount is multiplied by factors that align with the seriousness of your injury and the lost wages, property losses, and unpaid medical expenses are then added to form a settlement offer.

Learn more by speaking to your attorney. Click this link for more information and assistance. 


15 September 2017

Getting Legal Help When You Need It Most

I have never been someone who likes the idea of suing another person, but after my family was plowed into by a drunk driver with no regard for the law, my tune changed. I realized that I needed to do what I could in order to make things right, so I started looking for a lawyer who could help me to fight for the settlement I deserved. It took a few months in court, but by the time I won my settlement, I felt a lot better about things. This blog is all about getting the legal help you need when you need it the most.