What Is the Best Definition for Compensatory Damages?
Posted February 12th, 2021 by Anthony Carbone.
If you have been involved in an accident caused by someone’s negligence or know someone who has, you have probably heard of compensatory damages. But do you know that they are? Read on to find out the accurate compensatory damages definition as well as how a Bayonne Car Accident Attorney can help you pursue them.
What Are Compensatory Damages?
Compensatory damage refers to money awarded to a plaintiff or claimant to reimburse them for injury, damage, and other incurred losses. It is usually awarded in a civil court case where the negligence or unlawful acts of another party, or the defendant, caused the losses. To receive these damages, the claimant or plaintiff must prove the following:
- The defendant owed them a duty of care.
- The defendant was negligent.
- The defendant’s negligence injured the plaintiff.
- The plaintiff suffered losses due to the injury.
It is also crucial that the claimant or plaintiff quantify their losses by providing documentation.
Compensatory Damages Vs. Punitive Damages
Besides compensatory damages, a plaintiff may also be awarded punitive damages in an injury lawsuit. These two differ in that the latter is designed to provide an incentive against repeated wrongdoing on the defendant’s part. It is awarded in cases where the defendant acted in gross negligence or malice.
Punitive damages tend to go above and beyond the losses and expenses incurred by the plaintiff. They are meant to cover the harm caused by a defendant and can significantly increase the value of a settlement. Usually, you will need to discuss punitive damages with your attorney before pursuing them.
Actual Compensatory Damages
Compensatory damages can be categorized into actual damages and general damages. Actual damages are designed to provide the plaintiff with the money necessary to replace what they lost or spent due to the accident and nothing more. Essentially, they must equate their losses to a defined value.
Depending on the facts of your case, you could receive the following actual compensatory damages:
- Ambulance costs
- Diagnostic tests, such as x-Rays, MRIs, and CT Scans
- Medical treatments and medication
- Physical therapy
- Rehabilitation costs
- Medical equipment and devices such as wheelchairs, pacemakers, or crutches
- Nursing home care
- Lost income
- Property repair or replacement
- Domestic services
- Increased living expenses
General Compensatory Damages
General compensatory damages are meant to reimburse the plaintiff for losses that don’t involve actual expenditure. Simply put, they don’t have a defined monetary value and are more subjective.
Some courts will calculate general damages by using the multiplier method, where actual damages are multiplied by a number signifying the seriousness of the injury. Others will use the ‘per diem’ method, where a dollar value is attached to each day the plaintiff suffers and then compounded.
Examples of general compensatory damages include:
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of opportunity
Overall, general compensatory damages cover the damages suffered by the plaintiff that don’t have a dollar value.
Talk to a Bayonne Car Accident Attorney Today
Now that you better understand the definition of compensatory damage, you can discuss how to pursue them with your lawyer. Bayonne Car Accident Attorney Anthony Carbone has been defending the rights of injury victims throughout New Jersey for over 30 years. If you have been injured, contact his office today at 201-733-2230 to set up a free consultation.