Understanding the Difference Between Compensatory and Punitive Damages

By Quirk Law Firm, LLPJanuary 14, 2022Uncategorized

Personal Injury Lawyer Ventura, CA

Those who’ve been hurt because of someone’s wrongdoing are entitled to sue. There are two types of damages you can claim in a personal injury lawsuit, compensatory and punitive. Understanding their definitions is vital when figuring out the value of your case and when you go to contact a personal injury lawyer in Ventura, CA

What are Compensatory Damages?

Compensatory damages place a dollar figure on a victim’s injuries. These losses can be either monetary or non-monetary and can be a wide spectrum. 

Monetary losses include concrete expenses, such as medical bills, lost wages, or property damages (such as in the case of an automobile accident.) In addition to doctor treatments that have already happened, personal injury lawsuits include the cost of future therapeutic attention. If you’re permanently disabled, you should be paid for all associated costs. For instance, an accident may leave you permanently wheelchair-bound. In this instance, you could insist on being reimbursed for installing multi-floor accessibility devices. Loss of future earnings may also be claimed, as can the cost of repairing (or replacing) damaged property. In extreme scenarios, someone dies. When this happens, the family of the deceased can sue for funeral expenses.

Non-monetary losses can be difficult to calculate. It’s recommended that you work with a personal injury attorney to figure out this aspect of your case. Pain and suffering is a legal term for anguish incurred by the victim. This can be physical discomfort, or it may be a type of emotional distress, such as constant fear or an inability to sleep and eat. If you can no longer enjoy your favorite activities as a result of the defendant’s actions, that should similarly be figured into the equation. Finally, there’s a legal term known as loss of consortium. This technical phrase describes the emotional turmoil a spouse experiences when their partner dies. While some states might impose caps on non-monetary losses, California has no cap except for when it comes to medical malpractice which is capped at $250,000. 

What Are Punitive Damages?

Rather than serving to make the litigant whole, punitive damages are used to punish the defendant. Essentially, these penalties serve to make an example of the convicted party, thus acting as a deterrent to the defendant and anyone else who might contemplate doing the same. They’re normally incurred when a violator’s conduct is particularly unwarranted. Punitive damages usually are subject to limits. Normally, a judge cannot award someone any dollar amount or compel a losing party to serve an unreasonable punishment; it is expected that punitive damages fall within particular guidelines.

Those with personal injury cases are allowed to ask for both classes of damages. A lawyer familiar with initiating such litigation knows the best way to construct legal filings. He or she will work with you to ensure that you and your loved ones receive the necessary compensation as well as hold the defendant accountable. You can hire a personal injury attorney in Ventura CA today by contacting Quirk Law Firm to determine how much you’re owed.