Compensatory damages are an important part of many types of legal cases. Attorneys often try to secure compensatory damages for clients when they are plaintiffs in such cases such:
- Personal injury cases
- Workers’ compensation cases
- Medical malpractice cases
- Breach of contract cases
- And beyond
In these and many other practice areas, compensatory damages serve as a remedy to help plaintiffs recover financially after suffering harm(s) due to some other party.
If you or a loved one has been injured through the fault of someone else, please contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers today by calling 1-516-342-2200 or visiting us onlinefor a free consultation, case evaluation, and so much more.
What Are Compensatory Damages?
In simple terms, compensatory damages are a kind of monetary award secured for a plaintiff as result of a lawsuit.
In recovering compensatory damages, plaintiffs carry the burden of proving and quantifying any losses incurred. That said, courts do provide some guidelines, such as the commonly used per diem” calculation for estimating costs for an injury victim or other plaintiff on a daily basis. Still, it is best to rely on the knowledge and experience of tried-and-true compensatory damage attorneys like those at Schwartzapfel Lawyers, who have the legal track record to back up their 99% client-satisfaction rating.
What Are Two Major Types of Compensatory Damages?
In assessing compensatory damages for a client, attorneys will look at two (2) major types of damages: actual damages and general damages. Note: Actual damages are commonly referred to as economic damages,” while general compensatory damages may at times be termed non-economic damages.”
Whereas actual damages categories are more readily defined, as they carry something of a paper trail, general damages are more abstract and may consequently prove harder to quantify.
What Are Common Types of Actual Compensatory Damages?
Economic compensatory damages (also called special damages) relate to actual costs that someone has faced because of someone else’s negligence or behavior.
Some common actual compensatory damages that parties seek include:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Transportation costs
- Nursing home care
- Domestic services
- Medical equipment
- Increases in living costs
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Ambulance expenses
These are seen as actual compensatory damages because people can put them into monetary amounts pretty easily. The injured party or plaintiff may have documentation to show what they paid for each of these types of costs and be able to show how those costs were generated due to an injury or some other event.
What Are Common Types of General Compensatory Damages?
Then, there are the general or non-economic compensatory damages. These are less quantifiable and more abstract in the actual compensatory damages above.
Certain categories of general compensatory damages include but are not limited to:
- Mental anguish and/or emotional distress
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life or quality of life
Because these types of costs are more ambiguous, they can also be more confusing to a plaintiff or other parties in a case. Some of these non-economic or general costs can be assessed with a per diem” calculation, but the challenge will be figuring out how to quantify the underlying harm itself.
For instance, consider loss of consortium, which refers to the inability of a spouse or partner to provide the same care and affection as he or she did prior to an injury or another event.
The name of the category of damages, loss of consortium,” sounds pretty vague. So, people must understand how the legal community talks about these types of costs to figure out how they apply to a case like their own.
To learn more now, dial 1-516-342-2200 and speak with an experienced Schwartzapfel Lawyers attorney at no charge.
When Do Compensatory Damages Apply?
There are general practice areas and specific cases where lawyers often seek compensatory damages for a client. They cover many different situations where someone experiences harm.
Personal Injury Cases
In almost all personal injury cases, there is an injury that is the central event that the plaintiff has centered their lawsuit around.
For example, personal injury attorneys might seek to get their clients compensatory damages for:
In each of these cases, there is a central event that causes injury to a party. Discovery, which may be performed by your attorney, involves researching how the injury occurred and how the law applies, given the attendant circumstances.
Medical Malpractice Cases
In a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff is typically going to be asserting that some mistake happened in the hospital or some other medical setting.
Medical malpractice cases with compensatory damages can include but are not limited to:
- Surgical errors and surgery-related cases
- Cases of facility negligence or neglect
- Cases of medical mistakes in an outpatient setting
Providers will typically have medical malpractice insurance to help them to pay for the costs of one of these cases, including any compensatory damages that apply under tort law.
Some types of business cases may involve compensatory damages if a party claims an economic loss related to an event. For instance, a breach of contract case could result in compensatory damages for the plaintiff.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a situation like any of those outlined above protect your financial future and contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers today.
To learn more about your rights under the law, call 1-516-342-2200 or visit us online. Note: One free consultation from our skilled team can save you miles of heartache, headaches, and financial strain down the road, so, please, don’t wait.
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Compensatory and Punitive Damages
It’s also helpful to understand compensatory damages according to how they function in a settlement or court award.
Compensatory damages, as explained above, cover all of the costs to a plaintiff that happened as a result of an event. Punitive damages are different. These are damages that a court awards in order to punish some wrongdoer for willingly breaking the law or for being negligent in some way.
Punitive damages aren’t meant to accrue to a plaintiff to cover the costs of actual losses such as medical treatments or property damage. They are meant to be a deterrent to avoid a recurrence of a particular event or to prevent others from following suit.
Attorney Fees and Compensatory Damages
Attorneys often refer to something called the American Rule,” which is a general rule that implies that each party in a lawsuit has to pay for its own legal costs.
However, there are also other provisions under the law, including something called a tort of another” situation, in which some legal fees may be recoverable as compensatory damages.
So, although each side typically covers its own legal fees, it’s worth asking about how this category of compensatory damages applies to a particular case.
What Are Examples of Compensatory Damages?
In terms of overall compensatory damages, lawyers will sit down with their clients to add up various costs as they do discovery and proceed toward either a settlement or a suit.
For example, suppose someone is bitten by a dog above the neck and has to undergo facial reconstruction on the affected area as a result. In that case, those compensatory damages will usually cover the medical bills and the time away from work.
However, they may also cover some of those non-economic compensatory damages, particularly because of facial disfigurement, which can’t be fully remediated in most cases. Perhaps the bite was on a leg, raising problems with mobility. That can impact the damages sought for transportation and some of the above parts of general damages.
Alternatively, suppose someone slips, trips and falls in a public place. Here, compensatory damages may apply if some form of negligence can be proven. Here, examples may include but are not limited to:
- Wet floors without warning signage
- Unusual slippery substances on a floor
- Uneven floors or walkways
The right attorney will look at all of the factors of the case, including where the incident happened, when it happened, and who it happened to, in order to figure out whether third-party negligence will apply.
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The Idea Behind Compensatory Damages
Compensatory damages play a central role in all sorts of injury cases.
The injury victim should feel that they have recourse to costs that were generated by events beyond their own control. The family will want to know that their loved one can expect to recover those funds. The plaintiff wants to hear from their lawyer and stay informed every step of the way as the case proceeds toward resolution.
Compensatory Damages by State
It’s important to note that state law is also relevant when it comes to compensatory damages in any of the above types of cases.
States often have different rules on compensatory damages, including caps on compensatory damages in lawsuits.
For example, some states have a cap on only non-economic compensatory damages, whereas others have a cap on both economic and non-economic damages. Some states have a separate total cap on all compensatory damages, actual and general, or economic and non-economic.
In some states, courts have found caps on compensatory damages unconstitutional and then reversed their opinions. Some states have caps on only certain types of actual or general damages, such as pain and suffering, and a more complex handling of separate categories.
Additionally, some states have caps on punitive damages as well. Some of them have a ratio of how much punitive damages can exceed compensatory damages.
Qualified attorneys will know about all of these things in a plaintiff’s particular state of residence as well as the specific venue where the case is being brought.
There are also comparative negligence rules in some states, where award damages are given in accordance with the deemed percentage of fault. One example of this is Connecticut, where legal experts write that contributory negligence shall not bar recovery.”
Compensatory Damages in Business Cases
Compensatory damages may take on a slightly varied nature in business cases. For example, in a breach of contract case, compensatory damages can include items like:
- Loss of future earnings
- Costs of completing a contract
- Loss of business reputation
In addition, attorneys may use terms like:
- Liquidated damages
- Nominal damages
- Quantum meruit (what one has earned,” or the value of services)
- Remedies in equity
Bottom line: When a business suffers a loss due to the illegal actions of another party, the business may consequently file a claim against said party to recover damages.
Access to Compensatory Damages
For professional representation across New York State, visit Schwartzapfel Lawyersonline today. Alternatively, give us a call at 1-516-342-2200 and recover the money and benefits you deserve!
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 1-516-342-2200 now!
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Compensatory Damages: Definition, Types, and Examples | Investopedia