When it comes to civil lawsuits, there are two types of damages that can be awarded according to any reputed New York personal injury attorney; These are compensatory and punitive damages.
- Compensatory damages are meant to compensate the plaintiff for the losses that they have suffered.
- Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their actions.
What are compensatory damages?
Compensatory damages are intended to make the plaintiff “whole again” by putting them in the position they would have been in if the defendant had not committed the wrongful act. This may include reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. In some cases, compensatory damages may also include punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are awarded in a majority of civil lawsuits, like personal injury cases, while punitive damages are only awarded in a limited number of cases.
There are two types of compensatory damages; actual and consequential.
- Actual damages are those that are quantifiable, such as medical bills and lost wages.
- Consequential damages are more difficult to quantify and may include things like pain and suffering or emotional distress.
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What are punitive damages?
Punitive damages, on the other hand, are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter future misconduct. Unlike compensatory damages, which are awarded to make the plaintiff whole, punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim.
Aspects a jury will consider when deciding whether or not to award punitive damages include the severity of the act, the defendant’s financial resources, and whether or not the defendant showed remorse for his or her actions.
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How do the two types of damages differ from each other?
When it comes to compensatory damages, these are intended to make the plaintiff “whole again”. This means that the goal is to reimburse the victim for any losses that were suffered. This can include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, loss of consortium and even pain and suffering.
On the other hand, punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer. These are not awarded in every case, but rather reserved for situations where the court feels it is warranted. Factors that a jury will consider for punitive damages include:
- The severity of the wrongdoer’s actions.
- Whether or not the wrongdoer showed any remorse.
- The financial status of the wrongdoer.
Punitive damages can be much higher than compensatory damages, as they are not meant to reimburse the victim but rather to make an example out of the wrongdoer.
They both serve different but important purposes in our legal system. If you have been injured because of someone else’s carelessness, you may be owed compensatory damages. An experienced lawyer can help you determine what type of damages you may be entitled to.
When might a plaintiff be awarded compensatory damages instead of punitive damages, or vice versa?
Plaintiffs are typically awarded compensatory damages in cases where negligence resulted in an injury, but no malice was involved. If the plaintiff can prove that the defendant acted with intent to harm, then punitive damages may be appropriate. In some states, laws cap the value of punitive damages that can be awarded. An experienced lawyer can help you understand the law in your state and whether you might be entitled to punitive damages.
Which type of damage is more common in personal injury cases?
In personal injury cases, compensatory damages are more common. This is because they are meant to make up for what was lost, and most cases involve some sort of loss. Punitive damages are less common because they require a higher burden of proof and are only meant to punish someone for their actions. If you think you might be owed punitive damages, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you understand the law in your state.
Punitive damages are awarded less frequently than compensatory damages, but can be much larger in value. They may be appropriate when the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious, such as in cases of drunk driving or hit-and-run accidents. If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand your rights and whether you may be entitled to punitive damages.
How do judges decide which type of damage to award in a particular case?
When deciding whether to award compensatory or punitive damages, judges will typically consider the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries, the defendant’s degree of fault, and any aggravating or mitigating circumstances. In some cases, both types of damages may be appropriate. For example, a judge may award compensatory damages to cover the cost of medical bills and lost wages, and punitive damages to punish the defendant for his or her careless behavior.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand your rights and whether you may be entitled to compensatory or punitive damages. An attorney can also help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected at every step.