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Know The Difference Between Compensatory & Punitive Damages

Know The Difference Between Compensatory & Punitive Damages

 

There are two different types of damages you can recover in a personal injury suit. Before that happens, you would have been injured and someone else was at fault. Following that, your attorney would have likely filed a claim on your behalf. Here five common types of personal injuries:

  • Car Accident 
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Product Liability
  • Slip and Fall 
  • Wrongful Death

If you are awarded damages, they will come in two different forms: compensatory and punitive.

Compensatory Damages

This is the total direct cost of the accident. Using the list above, imagine if someone was involved in a slip and fall accident. They were using a handrail in a staircase, and the handrail broke. Without going into the specifics of the imaginary case, compensatory damages could cover the following things:

  • Medical expenses 
  • Wages you lost due to the injury
  • Pain and suffering

In other examples—a car accident, for instance—there would likely be damage to your property (your car). Compensatory damages also extend to covering that as well. Depending on the case and severity, you may be eligible for pain and suffering or compensation for emotional distress.

Another term you might hear is “loss of consortium.” This applies if the injury has affected your marriage.

Your attorney can apply the law to your unique situation. But compensatory damages are meant to compensate for losses. 

Punitive Damages 

Punitive damages equate to punishment. Because you have filed a personal injury claim, the person who injured you may be punished financially. They could also be charged criminally as well, but for your claim, the punishment will be monetary.

Although you will be the one receiving the money, punitive damages aren’t necessarily only for the injured. They are also meant to deter others from acting in the same negligent manner that resulted in you getting hurt.

These are something you will have to discuss with your attorney. Punitive damages are not always going to be an option.

To seek punitive damages, the person who injured you would have acted negligently. Although this list is not complete, here are some instances where punitive damages may be sought:

  • Being hit by a drunk driver
  • Medical malpractice
  • Defective products
  • Distracted driving (e.g., texting)

In New York, when we use the term, “gross negligence,” it refers to someone (or a group of people) who have acted recklessly and carelessly to where they have shown a disregard for the safety of other people. If you were rear-ended because the person behind you accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake, is this gross negligence? Probably not. But you should talk to your attorney about the specifics of your case and let her decide.

Silberstein, Awad & Miklos

If you have been injured, then you may be entitled to the types of compensation mentioned above. The attorneys at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos have helped thousands of clients like you. Contact us through our website to schedule a free consultation. We can also be reached by phone at 1-877-ASK4SAM.