Types of Compensation in a Personal Injury Case

If you’ve suffered an injury, property damage, or any other losses, you are entitled, as the plaintiff, to seek compensation from the party that caused or contributed to the loss. This style of compensation, known in the legal world as “damages,” is divided into two basic categories: compensatory and punitive. 

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages look to reimburse or compensate an injured party for the harm they have suffered. Typically divided into general or special, compensatory damages are available in most injury cases. They can also be awarded in wrongful death cases, but these damages are very different from other types of cases. 

General Compensatory Damages

General damages are compensation awarded to an injured individual for the non-monetary damages incurred in an injury claim. These types of damages are clearly connected from the defendant’s behavior to the plaintiff’s injury. All plaintiffs in personal injury cases are expected to have at least some general damages, as they are damages that usually accompany an injury. General compensatory damages typically encompass pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of companionship. These can also include physical disfigurement or impairment, and lowered quality of life.

Because these damages are so subjective to the injury and plaintiff, it can be difficult to calculate the exact amount of money necessary to compensate. For damages such as mental anguish or lowered quality of life, the monetary values will depend on several factors, including the severity of the injury, the talent of the attorneys, and the sensitivities of the jury. For the greatest chance at sufficient compensatory damages, be sure to choose a firm with extensive personal injury experience. 

Special Compensatory Damages

Special damages are compensation for the monetary expenses incurred as the result of an injury and the defendant’s actions. These damages are unique to each victim. These types of damages will balance any expense or loss related to an injury. As a result, there is no limit to the kind of special damage claims made, nor the amount a victim can claim. These damages include medical bills, the cost of future medical care, loss of past or future earnings, or household expenses. These types of damages are much easier to calculate, as the exact monetary value has already been determined.

Wrongful Death Damages

Wrongful death damages provide compensation for the surviving family of the deceased. In wrongful death cases, the claim arises after situations in which a victim is killed who would have otherwise had a valid personal injury claim as a consequence of the defendant’s harmful action. These cases can include murder, deaths as a result of medical malpractice, accident fatalities involving negligence, and almost any other kind of personal injury situation.

The most common types of wrongful death damages include funeral and burial expenses, pre-death medical care, and emotional distress of surviving loved ones. They can also encompass losses of financial contribution, services and support, and companionship and consortium. 

Punitive Damages

While compensatory damages assess injury experienced by the victim, punitive damages are awarded based on the actions of the defendant. If the defendant’s behavior was especially harmful, such as in situations where a defendant is found guilty of fraud, or wanton or malicious acts, the plaintiff may collect punitive damages. These damages are awarded in cases that include acts such as aggravated battery, sexual assault, or fraud. 

Discuss Your Options with Attorney Douglas C. Lauenstein 

While special compensatory damages are predetermined, general and punitive damages charges are highly situational. While the evidence may be strong, it will take the work of a skillful and experienced lawyer to give you the best chances of recovering fair damages. At the Law Office of Douglas C. Lauenstein, P.A., you are assured to be represented by an experienced professional. Contact us today to begin your personal injury claim.

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