What are Compensatory Damages?
Compensatory damages are a monetary award granted by a court to compensate the plaintiff for their injuries. The amount of compensation is dependent on the degree of injury and the circumstances surrounding the injury. Compensatory damages are different from punitive damages, which are issued as punishment to the defendant for his or her actions. Compensatory damages can be awarded in a variety of situations, including product liability claims, medical malpractice cases, and personal injury lawsuits. If you have been injured by someone else's negligence or carelessness, you may be entitled to receive compensatory damages if your injuries have caused damage that cannot be repaired through medical treatment alone.
How are compensatory damages determined?
Compensatory damages are determined by the court and the jury, if there is one. The amount of compensatory damages that a victim of a tort receives depends on the type of tort committed against them and their unique circumstances (such as age). Compensatory damages are meant to compensate a victim for all losses caused by the tort committed against them. In other words, these damages are meant to make up for any financial or emotional losses they have suffered due to their injury.
What are the types of compensatory damages?
Compensatory damages are intended to compensate the victim for the losses they've suffered as a result of the crime. This means that these damages are intended to restore the victim to their previous state, if possible. Compensatory damages include:
- Damages for pain and suffering
- Damages for lost wages or loss of earning capacity (what you could've earned had you not been injured)
- Medical bills, including those incurred in treatment after the crime occurred
- Property damage (e.g., fixing broken windows or replacing stolen items)
Punitive damages are intended to punish a wrongdoer for their actions and deter others from committing similar crimes. These damages are decided by a judge rather than a jury; unlike compensatory damages, they are not based on actual losses suffered by the victim but rather on what amount would be necessary to achieve justice in this case. Punitive damages can include:
- Attorney fees paid by defendant
- Costs associated with arresting and prosecuting defendant (e.g., incarceration costs)