Personal Injury Lawyer
When you face a personal injury lawsuit as a plaintiff, you may begin to wonder what to expect as a settlement amount. Every personal injury case is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. As you speak with your attorney, explaining everything that happened, you can begin to get an idea of what to expect. You might hear terms like “compensatory” and “punitive” and wonder what they mean. The following gives a brief explanation.
Summary of Compensatory Damages
Compensatory damages are funds that compensate you for the injuries you sustained in an accident. The amount is determined by taking all of your bills and other expenses, and totaling them up. For example, if your accident included injuries, property damage and extended physical therapy, you’d be compensated for medical costs, property repair costs and physical therapy costs. Some actual compensatory damages include:
- Medical treatment and hospital stays
- Transportation to and from medical appointments
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy costs
- Property repair costs
- Ambulance and emergency room expenses
- Increased living expenses
- Medical equipment and medication
- Lost wages
- Nursing home care costs
The above are special compensatory damages, but there are also general compensatory damages that should be discussed. These are things that don’t actually have a cost associated with them. Though you lost something and deserve to be compensated, there’s no way to really give you back what you lost, so you are given a monetary amount. General compensatory damages include mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, loss of consortium, future lost wages, inconvenience, long-term pain and suffering, and other similar issues.
Summary of Punitive Damages
As you may have noticed, compensatory damages are primarily meant to award the plaintiff in a case where he or she was wronged. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are meant to punish the defendant. Some injuries result from extreme negligence, reckless behavior or careless actions that could have been easily avoided, so a judge may decide he or she needs a more severe punishment.
For example, if someone chose to get behind the wheel and drive home after a drunken night at the bar, he or she may be ordered to pay punitive damages to someone he or she hit on the road. In most cases, a judge decides the compensatory damages simply aren’t enough to truly compensate the plaintiff, so punitive damages are awarded. The plaintiff benefits and the defendant suffers, and that’s truly what they’re meant for.
Contacting a Lawyer
As you can see, there are some specific reasons behind both compensatory and punitive damages. If you’re wondering what you’ll receive through your lawsuit, contact a personal injury lawyer, like from Martin Wren, P.C., today for assistance.