Latest News 2010 March Compensatory Damages v. Punitive Damages

Compensatory Damages v. Punitive Damages

Injury and accident victims may be eligible to receive two types of compensation: compensatory damages and punitive damages. The following is a brief description of both:

Compensatory Damages:

Compensatory damages are awarded to help the victim get back to where he or she was before the accident-physically, emotionally, and financially. These types of damages are often awarded to help accident and injury victims cover the cost of medical care, treatment and rehabilitation, as well as to provide the victim with some type of income to ease their financial burdens while they are out of work. If the victim is suffering from some type of psychological distress as a result of the accident, compensatory damages can also be used to pay for therapy or counseling. In addition, if the victim's vehicle or property was damaged in the accident, compensatory damages can be used to cover the cost of repairs, a rental car, or a new car altogether. Compensatory damages can also be awarded for things like pain and suffering, loss of companionship, decreased enjoyment of life, etc.

Punitive Damages:

When the judge wants to make a statement and deter the defendant from future wrongdoing, he or she may order the defendant to pay punitive damages on top of compensatory damages. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are not awarded for specific things relating to the victim's injuries (i.e.- medical care, lost wages, etc.). Punitive damages are basicaly like a penalty. For example, a person may be ordered to pay punitive damages if they were found responsible for causing a DUI accident. Because drunk driving is not only a violation of criminal law, but also such an egregious form of negligence, the judge may feel punitive damages are warranted.

personal injury lawyer can provide with you more information about the differences between compensatory and punitive damages. If you need help finding a lawyer near you, click here to search our nationwide database of personal injury attorneys.

Categories: Personal Injury