What are the differences between punitive and compensatory damages?

typing on computer with stethoscope on table

When you’ve sustained an injury due to another person’s negligence, you may not know that you are likely entitled to financial compensation because of their actions. However, many are unaware of the different kinds of damages they can seek in their injury claim. If you’ve sustained losses at the hands of another party, familiarizing yourself with the types of compensation you can receive is vital to ensure you receive the funds you deserve. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between punitive and compensatory damages and why it’s in your best interest to connect with personal injury attorneys who can help you navigate these complex matters.

What are the damages awarded in a personal injury case?

When involved in a personal injury lawsuit, two kinds of compensation are commonly awarded to victims. These are compensatory and punitive damages.

Compensatory damages represent actual losses the injured party has suffered. These include both economic and non-economic damages. Essentially, these cover the costs associated with pain and suffering, medical bills, property damage, or a diminished quality of life the victim may have suffered as a result. To be awarded compensatory damages, the plaintiff or injured party must fulfill a burden of proof showing they deserve the damages they seek. This includes medical bills and expert witnesses for subjective non-economic damages.

Punitive damages, however, are more rare. These serve to punish the negligent party for their actions that lead to the injury. In many instances, these are only awarded in rare circumstances in which the defendant’s negligence was particularly egregious. The purpose is not to compensate the injured party, though they will receive the damages, but to punish and make an example of the defendant and their actions.

What should I do if I need help seeking punitive or compensatory damages?

When you are the victim of a personal injury, understanding your legal options is critical. Unfortunately, many chalk their injuries up to an accident, leaving them responsible for the economic damages they’ve endured. Those who do try to work with the negligent party’s insurance are often offered incredibly low settlements, and many accept because they don’t understand the full value of their losses.

As such, it’s imperative to work with an experienced attorney to fight for the compensation you deserve. Not only can they examine your case to help you determine the funds you deserve for the damages you’ve sustained, but they can also help fight for this compensation.

When you’re injured, the dedicated attorneys at Friedman Schuman are here to help. We understand how complex these matters can be, which is why our firm is committed to helping you recover the funds you deserve. Connect with us today to explore your legal options.

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