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What are compensatory damages in a personal injury case?

What are compensatory damages in personal injury cases?

Compensatory damages are one of the types of damages that can be collected in a personal injury case. They are used to compensate those who have suffered losses and injuries due to an accident.

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Unlike other types of damages, compensatory damages don’t have a standard method on how they’re determined in court. Instead, they’re calculated on the facts of each case with the intention to place the victim in the same position they would have been in (at least financially) if no accident or injury occurred. This means that damages already sustained, present damages and future damages are all recoverable.

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s carelessness, negligence, or intentional wrongdoing, you may be entitled to compensation (or ‘damages’) for your losses. To get an estimate or better understanding of how much your personal injury case may be worth, you’ll want to first understand the types of compensation available, what they cover and how they’re calculated.

What are compensatory damages?

Compensatory damages are designed to compensate victims for their injuries and damages sustained from an accident by reimbursing them for losses they’ve suffered. This type of damages can include anything from medical costs and lost income to pain and suffering and emotional distress.

To receive compensatory damages, the victim has to prove that loss occurred and that it was clearly caused by the defendant, and must also be able to calculate the amount of losses to the court. The purpose of these damages are to restore the victim back to the monetary position they were in before, and to make them as whole as possible again after their accident.

Are there different types of compensatory damages?

Understanding the types of compensatory damages available in personal injury cases can help you recover maximum compensation for your injuries and losses. In personal injury accident cases, the two types of compensatory damages fall into the categories -– economic and non-economic.

Economic damages (also called ‘special damages’) are used to cover monetary costs, compensate victims for out-of-pocket expenses related to their injury, and don’t typically have a limit on the amount that can be recovered in a personal injury case. 

Economic damages can include:

  • past medical expenses
  • lost wages and loss of future earning capacity
  • property damage costs
  • out-of-pocket expenses

Non-economic damages (also called ‘general damages’) are used to cover intangible losses due to an injury, making them more difficult to calculate.

Non-economic damages can include:

  • pain and suffering
  • mental anguish
  • disability or disfigurement
  • emotional distress
  • loss of consortium or companionship

Punitive damages may also be sought after in an attempt to punish a defendant who has acted with gross negligence or recklessness.

Ultimately, the type and amount of compensatory damage award the victim may receive depends on each individual case. Having experienced legal representation on your side is essential when seeking maximum compensation for your injuries to ensure you’re receiving what you deserve.

What’s the difference between punitive and compensatory damages?

Punitive and compensatory damages are two types of legal remedies used in personal injury cases. 

Compensatory damages are awards that compensate the victim for injuries sustained because of the negligence or recklessness of someone else. They cover medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and lost enjoyment of life in order to restore the victim to their financial position before the loss. 

Punitive damages are meant to punish wrongdoers and to prevent similar behavior from occurring in future cases. These awards are often given in addition to compensatory damages when evidence is presented that the defendant acted with malicious intent or gross negligence towards the victim. Punitive damages are designed to send a message that misconduct will result in costly consequences for those responsible for inflicting harm on another individual. 

The main difference to know between these two types of damages is that they’re directed toward different parties of a personal injury claim. Compensatory damages are awarded to benefit the victim and help them cover the costs of their accident and injury. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant and are commonly used in cases where they’ve acted grossly negligent or reckless.

What are non-compensatory damages?

Non-compensatory damages in a personal injury case are damages that are awarded to the victim, but do not represent actual financial loss. These damages are usually intended to compensate for things such as pain and suffering or emotional distress caused by the defendant’s actions.

Non-compensatory damages are meant to punish the defendant for their negligence or malicious behavior and can even be awarded when the defendant has acted with reasonable care.

Non-compensatory damages can be difficult to calculate since there’s no way to put a dollar amount on things such as emotional distress or pain and suffering. The court will often rely on expert testimony from psychologists or other medical professionals in order to determine what fair amount of non-compensatory damages would be appropriate in each case.

It’s important for those, who have been injured due to another person’s negligence or malice, to understand their rights when it comes to non-compensatory damage awards, so they can ensure they receive all of the compensation they deserve.

Can hiring a lawyer get me more money?

Hiring a lawyer to represent you in a personal injury case can highly increase the amount of money you’re able to recover. Lawyers know what evidence is needed to prove your case, and understand how to negotiate effectively with insurance companies and/or other responsible parties. With their assistance, you’re likely to receive more money than if you represented yourself.

Lawyers are also equipped to handle any appeals or other legal proceedings that may arise during the course of your case. They’ll be able to provide advice about the types of compensation that may be available for your injuries, and have access to additional resources and expert witnesses who can testify on your behalf in court. All these factors combined give you the advantage when negotiating a settlement with an insurance company and/or other responsible party. 

We understand that recovering from a personal injury accident can be difficult, both physically and financially, which is why we strive to get the maximum amount of compensation available for our clients. Our experienced personal injury lawyers are here to help guide you through the process and will thoroughly review all aspects of your case in order to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your claim.

If you or a loved one were involved in an accident and are in need of a personal injury lawyer, our trusted legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers will happily help handle your personal injury claim. We work under a contingency-fee basis, meaning that no fees are charged unless we win or settle your case. After being injured in an accident, you can count on our attorneys to fight aggressively for your rights every step of the way. To schedule a free consultation with our top-rated personal injury lawyers, contact us today by calling (844) 966-0965.

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