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Understanding the Basics of Compensatory Damages

If you have been injured in an accident and have been doing some legal research on your own, you have likely heard a phrase known as ‘compensatory damages.’ Damages are one of the most important aspects of your claim and what you are working toward when you gather evidence and start speaking with an attorney. Due to damages, you will be able to seek compensation for aspects that will help you get back on your feet on a physical and financial level.

What Are Compensatory Damages? 

Of course, you will first need to understand what compensatory damages are, on a basic level. They are the money that is awarded to a plaintiff so that they can compensate for aspects caused by the injury. When you have shown that another party is negligent for your accident, they now owe you compensatory damages that you have requested for a wide array of aspects. These damages include aspects like medical bills, medical treatments of the future, physical therapy, rehabilitation care, ambulance expenses, lost income from missed work opportunities, medical equipment, transportation to doctor’s appointments, and many other aspects that can be shown through bills.

The Two Major Types of Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages can be broken up even further into two separate types of damages. These are known as ‘special damages’ and ‘general damages.’

Special Damages: These are known as actual damages and those that are easy to calculate because the bills are right in front of you. These are most famously known as aspects like lost wages, property damages, and medical bills. Any out-of-pocket cost that you receive due to your accident could be considered special damage. 

General Damages: General damages are known as those that are more difficult to calculate. These are ‘subjective’ in nature and refer to aspects like emotional distress and trauma caused by an accident. It is difficult to put a number on these things, which is why it is up to the judge or jury to decide. The more severe your injury, the more you will typically receive in special damages.

What Are Punitive Damages?  

Understanding the Basics of Compensatory DamagesPunitive damages are a lot different than compensatory damages. These damages are not seen in every type of personal injury case but are instead noted in cases involving extreme or gross negligence on behalf of another party. For instance, you might see punitive damages in a claim where an individual intentionally caused an accident that took multiple lives. They are meant to punish a defendant for their actions and deter future individuals from engaging in these same actions. They are typically large amounts of money that are meant to help victims in their time of need.

Speaking with an Attorney Following a Car Accident

The aftermath of a car accident can be a stressful time and many victims are left with a variety of questions. Luckily, you do not have to handle your claim alone. Instead, you should always turn to the assistance of a knowledgeable car accident attorney at Sheftall & Associates. For decades, our attorneys have assisted numerous clients on their path toward compensation for losses. Please contact our skilled law firm today to find out how we can help you at (904) 575-9026.