Compensatory damages are comprised of two types of damages; actual and general damages. Actual damages account for all financial expenses and monetary losses. General damages account for all emotional pain and suffering inflicted on a victim. There are many factors that lead to a ruling on how much a victim will be compensated for their injuries, or how much the responsible party must pay in damages endured. Compensatory damages cover a vast number of losses and most personal injury claims are based around compensatory damages, below is a short list of the most common injuries, aliments or losses, where compensatory damages can be sought.
Please keep in mind that only a personal injury attorney can properly assess compensatory damages and a private individual should not attempt to calculate them on their own. Schedule a consultation to find out exactly what compensatory damages can, or should, be claimed in your personal injury lawsuit.
Examples of Losses Included in Compensatory Damages
Medical bills, in the past, present and the anticipated future, as well as cost of medical devices and equipment: wheelchair, crutches, medication, aftercare, etc.
Pain and suffering, includes all physical pain, but also includes emotional pain like the loss of a loved one, public humiliation, grief, severe depression, loss of consortium, disfigurement and the loss of enjoyment of life.
Loss of wages from missed days at work, inability to work, reduced earning potential, loss of profits and all other losses caused by a disability or impairment
Property damage, repair to damaged property (damage to vehicle, ) and replacement of property
Examples of Different Types of Compensatory Damages
When seeking compensation for damages, actual damages are generally easier to prove than general damages, thought general damages can many times cause greater loss to a victim. A quick example would be a claim for damages to personal property (a vehicle is damaged but no physical injuries are sustained) and a claim for damages due to the loss of a loved one (a wife losing her husband to an on the job accident). In the case of property damage, an attorney may simply calculate the actual cost of repairing or replacing the damaged property, and any related financial losses. This will remedy the situation and the claimant should be able to lead a normal life with minimal, if any, long-term effects. But in a case where the loss of a loved one has been endured, there is no amount financial compensation that will ever be able to replace the deceased, and the pain caused by their passing will no doubt stay with the living for the rest of their lives, potentially affecting their life in a way that ends up causing massive amounts of physical and psychological damage.
Punitive Damages, also known as exemplary damages, are imposed on a defendant for the purposes of punishing or discouraging intentional behavior, and are awarded in cases of acts of gross negligence that cause a significant amount of damage. The purpose of punitive damages is not to compensate a claimant, though all or part of monies collected from punitive damage can, and in many times will, be awarded to the claimant.
Examples of Cases Involving Punitive Damages
Instances where a company’s negligence affects, or could potentially affect millions of individuals across the country.
Injury to animals where disregard of humanity or negligence is willfully committed
A man is accused of murdering his wife but the jury finds him not guilty of the charge. Later a second jury finds the accused guilty of the crime and the court awards punitive damages to the family of the victim.
A company automatically releases a feature within an internet based product that makes user information, which was previously private, public without properly notifying the users of that their privacy settings have changed.
A nursing home is found to be grossly negligent in the death of an elderly person. The family of the deceased is awarded $3,000,000 in compensatory damages but punitive damages are accessed and awarded in the amount of $40,000,000.