Compensatory Damages: What Can I Be Paid For If I'm Injured?
If you are successful in your personal injury case, you will be entitled to a sum of money referred to as “compensatory damages” in the legal context. Compensatory damages seek to reimburse or compensate an injured party for the harm they suffered. These damages may be awarded to a party for the compensation of an injury, damage to property, or other losses including medical care costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life. Depending on the severity of the offender’s conduct, personal injury victims may also recover punitive damages.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of compensatory damages – General and Special damages.
General Compensatory Damages
General damages compensate an injured individual for non-monetary damages incurred in a personal injury claim. The most common types of general compensatory damages are:
* Medical costs: Usually cover the costs of hospital bills, medical treatment, prescription medicines, and other health care aspects.
* Lost wages or future lost earnings: If the injury caused you to miss work, you may recover the amount you lost or should have made, if it was not for the injury.
* Costs of living with disability: If the plaintiff’s injuries lead to disability, they may receive compensation for costs associated with disability.
Specific Compensatory Damages
Special damages compensate for monetary expenses incurred because of an injury. The most common types of specific compensatory damages are:
* Pain and Suffering: Emotional damages suffered from the injury.
* Loss of consortium: Damages recovered if you lose a loved one or significant other.
* Permanent disability: Victims can obtain additional compensation if the injury resulted in permanent disabilities or disfigurement.
* Costs of future medical care: If the injury leads to necessary future medical care, the plaintiff may recover these costs.
Punitive damages are awarded to “punish” the wrongdoer for certain types of erroneous behavior. Both compensatory and punitive damages may be awarded to a successful plaintiff in a personal injury case.
A great example of punitive damages is the famous Hyundai Motor case, where the jury awarded up to $240 million in punitive damages because a defective steering wheel caused the crash. http://www.ibtimes.com/hyundai-ordered-pay-73m-punitive-damages-2011-crash-case-liability-lowered-third-1693332
How Do I Collect Compensatory Damages?
A plaintiff becomes entitled to compensatory damages after a settlement has been reached or a court has awarded a judgment. If the defendant is responsible for paying damages and has liability insurance, the insurance company will usually pay the damages.
Talk To A Lawyer
Recovering for compensatory damages can be a complex task. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer to obtain proper advice is critcial. If you or a loved one has been injured, immediately give Quintana Law a call for a FREE consultation at (602) 403-6815. We can help.