With criminal justice, the goal is to prove your freedom, not seek damages like you would in a personal injury case. But without damages, there isn’t much reason to file a personal injury lawsuit. After all, the primary end-goal of filing this type of case is to seek compensation for any harm incurred.
Without damages – the legal term for the monetary compensation awarded to the injured party – pursuing a personal injury case likely wouldn’t be worth it. The concept of damages is multi-faceted, encompassing various types such as compensatory damages, punitive damages, nominal damages, and more. Each has its unique implications in personal injury cases.
The personal injury attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. can explain each type and the differences between them.
In personal injury cases, damages refer to the financial compensation awarded to the injured party (you) as a result of the physical or emotional injuries you suffered. These damages are meant to help you recover from your losses and return to life before your injury as closely as possible.
There are several types of damages that can be claimed in personal injury cases. Each type serves a different purpose and is based on specific circumstances of your injury.
Compensatory damages aim to reimburse the injured party for any financial losses incurred due to the accident or injury. These can include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other out-of-pocket costs.
The goal of compensatory damages is to make the injured party “whole” again by covering all financial losses directly related to their injury.
General damages are meant to cover less tangible things than compensatory damages. They are meant to cover non-economic losses that can last even longer.
These may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, or scarring and disfigurement. These are issues that can affect someone for the rest of their life, and thus, call for more damages.
While it can be challenging to assign a monetary value to this type of suffering, they are still crucial in personal injury cases. They acknowledge the impact on the individual’s overall well-being.
Unlike compensatory and general damages, punitive damages serve as a form of punishment for the defendant rather than compensation for the injured party.
They are awarded when the defendant’s actions were intentional or showed a reckless disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages are meant to deter similar behavior in the future and can be far more significant. They often exceed compensatory damages so that they truly make the defendant and others of equal standing and power think twice before doing something similar again.
Special damages refer to specific monetary losses that can be easily quantifiable. These may include lost wages, medical bills, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Special damages are often crucial in personal injury cases as they provide concrete evidence of the financial impact on the injured party.
Sometimes, damages that would be considered special are covered by compensatory damages. The separation can be necessary because the effects of an injury can’t always be immediately quantified. A person’s recovery time can be extended after making a claim or receiving compensatory damages.
In some situations, when there is minimal or no actual damage caused by an accident or injury, nominal damages may be awarded. These typically serve to recognize that a legal right has been violated and acknowledge wrongdoing by the defendant. They are similar to punitive damages but to a lesser extent. Defendants are more likely to receive a large punishment if someone was gravely injured.
Understanding the different types of damages in personal injury cases is crucial. It helps hold those who caused your injury accountable and ensures that you receive proper compensation for your losses.
At Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., our experienced personal injury attorneys are dedicated to fighting for the rights of those who have been wrongfully injured. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you.