What Are Compensatory Damages?

Accidents happen. As tired of a phrase as that is, it is accurate. From a car accident, medical malpractice cases, or injuries like a slip and fall, any situation can suddenly happen and change your life forever. 

That is why the law helps ensure that the injured party is awarded actual compensatory damages for the dollar value of their out-of-pocket costs, which might include lost earnings, hospital bills, medical treatments, and rehabilitation expenses.

Compensatory damages are intended to provide a monetary value to compensate the injured and attempt to restore them to their life before the accident, involving actual monetary expenditure. 

The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, law firm, have a successful history of obtaining compensatory and punitive damages from the defendant’s wrongdoing in personal injury claims. 

The Difference Between Compensatory Damages and Punitive Damages

In any accident, the defendant’s actions may produce various damages, which you might recover in a monetary award to compensate for your losses. All court damages are meant to rehabilitate the plaintiff to the position just before the accident.

There are two main types of damages from a personal injury lawsuit: compensatory and punitive damages in an injury claim and subsequent damage award. 

To be awarded actual compensatory damages, the plaintiff must prove that the losses suffered equate to a monetary value that a judge or jury can determine.

What are Compensatory Damages For? 

Compensatory damages are intended to compensate a person for an accident’s personal injury and costs.

They are typically awarded to cover things like loss of consortium, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of opportunity, pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, medical expenses for medical care, lost wages, property damage, medical bills, etc. Think of this category’s out-of-pocket expenses, harm, and trauma.

There may be special compensatory damages (special damages), general compensatory damages (general damages) for your injury, and even punitive damages.

You will not know what damages may be available until you talk to a lawyer. We look forward to hearing from you.

Types of Compensatory Damages

Actual damages are intended to provide the monetary amount necessary to replace what was lost and nothing more. They are designed to compensate the plaintiff of a lawsuit with enough money to cover the actual amount of the injury or loss. 

Compensatory damages for monetary awards (economic damages and non-economic or special damages, aka non-monetary damages) and punitive damages for all types of personal injury, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Medical expenses for medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Physical pain

Other expenses may be awarded for injuries to the victim, including the suffering loss of consortium and punitive damages.

The negligent party will pay punitive damages in addition to actual damages in certain circumstances. Punitive damages are considered exemplary damages and a punishment. They are typically awarded at the court’s discretion when the defendant’s behavior is especially harmful.

Calculating What Compensatory General Damages May be Awarded to the Plaintiff

A general compensatory damages award for personal injury is a more straightforward calculation for a plaintiff after an accident than one for a punitive damage award. 

The monetary award of compensatory damages usually is directly related to their injury. This includes special damages compensation (special compensatory damages) and general damages compensation.

The defendant will be on the hook to the plaintiff for the total of their tangible and intangible injuries. Therefore, the injured should carefully total their expenses with their attorneys to get the first amount. 

Then, you can multiply your tangible losses by two or three for intangible harm to get this second amount. Finally, add the two figures together.

Punitive damages is a separate conversation. This should help you understand a compensatory and punitive compensation award in the personal injury context. Feel free to speak to a lawyer from our office if you have more questions.

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Protect Your Compensation

Experienced attorneys can skillfully bring medical malpractice lawsuits, car accident claims, and personal injury cases on your behalf if another person’s negligence has injured you. 

The money awarded may mean more punitive damages or compensatory damages from the defendant. Here are a few things our law firm does on behalf of clients to make sure their injury is accounted for in court to the maximum extent possible:

  • Review the health consequences against your health background to understand the nature of the harm that followed the incident, including your likely future medical expenses.
  • Calculate all out-of-pocket expenses from the accident (hospital bills and medical treatments)
  • Identify any property damage or personal property loss or destruction.
  • Speak with your company about lost employment income.
  • Speak with friends and family regarding how the injuries have affected your life.

These are just some of the ways we can assist the injured get compensatory damages. Contact our offices if you are the victim of another’s negligence or intentional misconduct.

Personal Injury Cases with Compensatory Awards

We have summarized some cases below to give you a sense of what awards have been issued for compensatory damages. 

$500,000 Car Accident Jury Award; 2002:

The plaintiff, a pregnant woman in her late thirties, was driven to work by her husband when the defendant’s motor vehicle sideswiped them. She herniated a disc (L5) and sustained back, arm and neck injuries.

Also, the woman alleged that the other motorist’s negligence aggravated pre-existing injuries. The defendant denied these charges and liability for the event entirely.

The two sides went to trial, and the jury found for the woman (plaintiff). Her compensatory damages award was $500,000 for her suffering and pain ($300,000), disability ($170,000), aggravation ($20,000), and medical expenses ($10,000).

$1,533,709 Premises Liability Jury Award; 2019:

This tragic event took place at a bar in Rockford in 2011. A man in his late fifties went outside to smoke when another customer attacked him. He suffered a traumatic brain injury due to the incident and subsequently died. 

Lawyers for the man’s estate brought this negligence and wrongful death action against the establishment.

They argued that the bar had premises liability and should have protected him against these dangers, which they knew about. The defendant denied knowing that this deadly attack was transpiring and affirmed that they made all reasonable efforts to guarantee the safety of their patrons.

The judge was not impressed with their arguments. He found more than $1.5 million for the plaintiffs, which included roughly $500,000 for medical bills.

Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer Right Now

Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC today if you are wondering how much or what compensatory damages you may obtain in a personal injury case. Our law firm has extensive experience retrieving clients’ general compensatory and punitive damages.

General damages (even special compensatory damages) can help plaintiffs and injury victims get compensation to pay down the costs and pain of the mental anguish, physical injury, medical bills, loss of consortium, emotional distress, pain and suffering, physical therapy, and other forms of monetary damages awarded under the law. Our attorneys are here to help!

Contact us for a free consultation. We bring cases on a contingency fee basis, so you do not have to worry about legal fees until we win for you in court or settlement. Find out today what actual damages you can receive. 

Resources: