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Compensatory Vs. Punitive Damages and Which Can I Get?

Posted June 18, 2019 | Personal Injury

Philadelphia, PA Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by someone else, you might be owed some compensation from the other person (the defendant) to pay for your medical bills and other sustained damages. If you believe this is the case, you can file a personal injury claim and the other party’s insurance company will then review your claim. These situations are often settled in court which decides whether to pay you any damages and if so, which type – compensatory or punitive.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are the most common type of damages awarded, meant as compensation for your losses. They are essentially the total cost of the accident for you as the victim, including past and future expenses, pain, and suffering. For example, if you are in a car accident, you may be awarded financing to repair your vehicle and any other damaged property, pay medical bills for injuries you sustain, and cover lost income if you require time away from work to recover.

In court, you will be required to prove your losses, the monetary value of the losses, and that they were indeed caused by the defendant.

Punitive Damages

To be awarded punitive damages is rare and can be controversial, and the accident is often on the extreme side, including reckless, intentional, or obviously negligent behavior on the part of the defendant. The damages awarded are much higher than the general cost of the accident for the purpose of punishing the defendant and sometimes making an example of them to discourage others from committing the same mistake. For example, these types of damages could be awarded in the case of a drunk driving accident, medical malpractice, product liability, or nursing home abuse.

If an individual is solely responsible for the accident, their insurance will not cover these types of damages. On the other hand, if an employee causes an accident on-the-job and their employer is held responsible, the company’s liability insurance will usually cover the expenses.

Are You Owed Compensation?

If you have been in an accident, the legal process can be complex, and it is usually not recommended to settle a claim on your own. Get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney to help you file your injury claim and organize any necessary paperwork to prove your losses. If you are owed financing for your accident, a Philadelphia, PA personal injury lawyer will help ensure that your claim is accepted by the court or insurance company.

Contact Wieand Law Firm, LLC for their insight into personal injury claims and compensatory vs. punitive damages.