If you’ve been wronged, you may have heard of “damages” being awarded to you in a case. When justice is served, you may also hear of compensatory and punitive damages granted.
But what are compensatory and punitive damages? Why are they important in the courtroom?
From there, you want to know about compensatory and punitive damages vs each other.
We can help. Keep reading to learn about punitive and compensatory damages and how they’re different from each other.
Compensatory damages are damages that are awarded to a plaintiff to compensate them for their losses. These losses can be either economic or non-economic. This type of damage is meant to make the plaintiff whole again and is not meant to punish the defendant.
Compensatory damages are often awarded in cases where the plaintiff has suffered some type of physical injury.
Punitive damages are a form of financial compensation that is awarded to a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit. The purpose of punitive damages is to charge the defendant for their actions and to deter others from doing the same behavior. Punitive damages are typically only awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious or where there is a history of similar conduct.
What is the Difference?
The main difference between compensatory and punitive damages is their purpose.
Compensatory damages are based on the actual losses suffered by the injured party. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are not based on any actual losses. Instead, they are intended to punish the wrongdoer and send a message that such misconduct will not be tolerated.
As such, punitive damages can be much higher than compensatory damages.
Compensatory damages are often awarded in personal injury cases, while punitive damages are more commonly awarded in cases involving intentional misconduct or recklessness.
There are cases where both types of damages may be available, like in a car accident case. But the plaintiff’s car accident attorney will need to prove that the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious to recover punitive damages.
How are Compensatory Damages Calculated?
A compensatory award is calculated by determining the difference in value between the property as it existed before the injury and the value of the property after the injury. To calculate the compensatory damages, an expert may be needed to appraise the value of the property.
What Factors are Considered When Awarding Punitive Damages?
Many factors are considered when awarding punitive damages:
- the severity of the crime
- mental suffering of the victim
- the physical suffering of the victim
- financial losses of the victim
- liability of the defendant
The court will also look at the defendant’s criminal history and whether or not the defendant has shown any remorse for the crime. The court will also take into account any precedent that has been set in similar cases.
What are You Entitled to in Your Case?
Punitive damages are awarded to punish a wrongdoer, while compensatory damages are awarded for making a wrongdoer whole. The key difference between the two is that punitive damages are not intended to compensate the victim, while compensatory damages are.
As such, punitive damages are typically much higher than compensatory damages. If you have been the victim of a wrong, you may be entitled to both compensatory and punitive damages.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine what you are entitled to.
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