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What Are Compensatory Damages?

by | Last updated Mar 2, 2022

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What Are Compensatory Damages?

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Compensatory damages are money awarded to a plaintiff to compensate for damages, injury, or another incurred loss. Compensatory damages are awarded in civil court cases where loss has occurred as a result of the negligence or unlawful conduct of another party.

Commonly, a personal injury plaintiff is permitted to receive compensatory damages. These damages compensate a plaintiff for out-of-pocket expenses and debts related to an accident. These damages may include lost wages, loss of future earnings, medical bills, and emotional distress.

Understanding Compensatory Damages

Two different types of damages may be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages, or exemplary damages, compensate a plaintiff for deterring future acts that caused the plaintiffs loss or damages.

Compensatory damages are designed to reimburse a plaintiff with enough financial compensation to cover losses due to an accident by the defendant.

There are two classifications of compensatory damages: actual and general.

Actual Damages

Actual damages refer to the compensation paid to a plaintiff that suffered losses, which can be calculated, nothing more.

Examples of Payable Actual Damages

  • Loss of income and wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Medical equipment
  • Property damage repairs
  • Business losses
  • Legal fees
  • Transportation
  • Related job search expenses
  • Assisted living care

General Damages

Further categorization of compensatory damages includes economic loss of earnings, property damage and medical expense, and non-economic damages such as emotional distress and pain and suffering.

One method of calculating general damages is multiplying the number of actual damages by a factor of 1.5 to 5, dependant on the severity of the injuries. In extraordinary circumstances, a factor greater than 5 may be used.

A second calculation for general damages is the ‘per diem’ method, which is Latin for “by the day,” that calculates a dollar amount paid out for each day from the initial date of the incident until a plaintiff reaches maximum medical health.

Examples of Payable General Compensatory Damages

  • Future medical expenses
  • Loss of future wages
  • Loss of consortium
  • Opportunity loss
  • Diminish in quality of life
  • Long-term pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Mental Anguish

Proving Compensatory Damages

A plaintiff must prove different conditions of a claim to collect compensatory damages. In most instances, a requirement to justify losses have occurred and caused by the defendant. Mainly, the defendant’s actions caused a loss or injury to the plaintiff.

The conduct of the defendant is typically caused by negligence. A primary example is when the defendants’ negligent actions cause an accident resulting in a plaintiff’s injuries.

To prove a compensatory claim, you will need to gather all evidence that can be used to support your case. Types of evidence include:

  • Witness statements
  • Photos or videos of accident scenes
  • Police records and medical records
  • Any other evidence that can help in calculating damages

Types of Compensatory Damage Claims

There are a variety of compensatory damages awarded in personal injury cases. Most are resolved through a compensatory award. Common types of compensatory damage claims which are awarded are:

Hiring A Lawyer For Compensatory Damage For A Personal Injury Claim

Figuring the amount of a compensatory damage settlement is hugely complex. Speaking with an attorney will give you a more significant opportunity to calculate the most substantial amount for your injury claim. Seek out a personal injury lawyer near me to help if you have been injured in an accident and feel you are entitled to compensatory damages. Shiner Law Group can consult with you on your case and advise you of your legal rights and options to maximize your recovery.

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