Recovering compensation for serious injuries can help you pay for the healthcare you need, take care of your household and medical bills, and carry on with life as you heal. You may hear the word damages but not understand the legal term.
Working with an Oklahoma personal injury lawyer can help you understand that you may be eligible to recover more than one type of damage in your claim. It is essential to weigh your options after reviewing the facts to maximize the compensation you receive.
The term damages, in legal cases, refers to a loss caused by one individual to another or their property, either intentionally, carelessly, negligently, or by an inevitable accident. In addition to the term damages referring to the losses someone suffers, it also relates to the gains they fail to make. The definition continues to expound on the meaning, saying that the defendant causing damage is bound to repair it, requiring them to pay more than the actual loss if they committed this damage with malicious intent.
A tortious act, in civil law, refers to a tort or wrongful act or infringement on a person’s rights, leading to civil legal litigation. Damages for tort acts fall under one of two categories, compensatory and punitive. It is essential to know the difference between the two types and what they mean in a civil claim.
Our Team Is Here To Assist You Every Step Of The Way.SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY TODAY
Compensatory damages are monetary compensation awarded to an injured individual as compensation for damages, injuries, or incurred losses. These damages, awarded in civil court cases, compensate for loss resulting from negligent or unlawful conduct of the other party.
In a civil case, the plaintiff must prove the loss occurred and that the defendant’s actions caused the failure to happen. The plaintiff must assign a monetary value to the loss, and a judge or jury must agree with this value appointment. Medical malpractice lawsuits will typically award compensatory damages.
The Two Types of Compensatory Damages
The two subcategories of compensatory damages are either actual or general. Actual damages are more concrete in nature, while general damages are more abstract.
Actual Compensatory Damages
Actual damages intend to replace what was lost and nothing more with a monetary amount. The plaintiff must prove that their losses equal a specific economic value. A personal injury lawyer is an excellent source of knowledge on assigning these values to the losses incurred.
Listed below are examples of actual damages.
- Hospital bills
- Medical treatments and bill
- Ambulance expenses
- Transportation expenses
- Rehabilitative therapy expenses
- Medical equipment rental
- Lost income and lost wages
- Domestic services or nursing home care
- Property replacement and repairs
General Compensatory Damages
Compared with actual damages, these damages are more subjective. They can be difficult to assign value since it is an estimate of loss from damages that do not have an actual monetary value and are not immediately visible. The term general damages is given because these injuries are generally, or typically, sustained in an accident.
Examples of general compensatory damages include:
- Emotional distress: Depression, anxiety, or emotional struggles that are direct results of the injury
- Pain and suffering: Physical distress that is caused by, but not limited to, chronic pain, limited abilities, and scarring
- Loss of enjoyment of life: Inability to participate in and enjoy certain activities once engaged in before the injury
- Loss of mental and physical capacity: Inability to take care of yourself as before the injury
- Disfigurement: A change in appearance, such as scarring or amputation, that is permanent, caused by the injury
- Loss of consortium: The loss of love, comfort, care, companionship, and affection, including the losing the enjoyment of sexual relations or the ability to reproduce sexually
- Future lost wages: The loss of a potential salary and other income, such as bonuses
- Future medical expenses: Any medical expenses that may occur that have not been accounted for previously
These damages are paid by a defendant, found guilty, in addition to compensatory damages when these damages are deemed insufficient. Punitive damages serve as a punishment for the defendant whose behavior is determined to be intentional or grossly negligent. The term exemplary damages is sometimes used as they tend to set an example to deter others from similar acts.
Some states, more than others, are likely to award punitive damages, with the criteria determining these damages differing from state to state. The cap on punitive damages is typically four times the amount of compensatory damages, even though there is no maximum amount. Larger punitive damages may be awarded for particularly heinous negligent, intentional acts.
One of the most famous examples of punitive damages is Liebeck v. McDonald’s. McDonald’s knew their coffee was hotter than other competitors by 30 to 40 degrees but continued to require their franchises to maintain and serve it at this temperature. Over 700 other people had been burned by McDonald’s hot coffee with the company’s knowledge, but they still did not reduce their temperature requirements.
Considerations of Punitive Damages
When a court reviews these damages, two critical considerations are contemplated. First, the court will determine the degree of intention, negligence, and maliciousness in the defendant’s actions.
Get A FREE No-Obligation Consultation Today!CONTACT US TODAY
Compensation vs Punishment
The difference between damages is that one form of damages serves as compensation, or is compensatory, for the injuries or incurred losses of the plaintiff determined by an assigned value. And punitive damages serve as punishment to the defendant, serving to set an example and deterrent of future behaviors, and are damages awarded above and beyond compensatory damages.
You Need An Attorney Who Has The Experience And Skill To Help You.Call (866) 257 7646
Securing Damages for Your Personal Injury
The lawyers of BDIW Law are experienced in a range of injury claims. We work with you to understand how the effects of personal injury have changed your life, apply our knowledge of the law, and establish the value of your case so you can receive maximum compensation.
When you speak with a team member at BDIW Law, you can know that an Oklahoma personal injury lawyer hears you and will commit to aggressive advocacy for your case throughout the claims process.
The Sooner We Get Involved, The More We Can Do To Help You.SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY TODAY