Compensatory Vs Punitive Damages In Auto Accident Cases


If you have been involved in an auto accident injury case as either the plaintiff or defendant, you may be wondering what the different types of damages mean. For example, did you know that as the defendant, you may be liable for both compensatory and punitive damages? That could cost you quite a bit of money, depending on the severity of the charges and your responsibility. Here is some information about both types of damages, along with possible causes for such damages. 

Compensatory Damages

The word 'compensate' means to give someone something in place of something else. Most often people are compensated with money. If you have accidentally caused someone bodily injury, for example, you would pay for their medical care as compensation. In cases involving auto accidents, compensation will require the repair of their vehicle, along with paying any medical bills the victim has pertaining to the accident. Compensatory damages are a way of making righting a situation in which you wronged someone. If an individual has been injured, causing them to miss work, their lost wages may be the responsibility of the defendant. Pain and suffering may also fall under compensatory damages. 

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not so much restitution as much as it is a punishment for the person who caused those damages. Punitive damages are not awarded on every case, some people estimating that less than 5% of cases receive this ruling. This ruling is decided completely by the judge over the case, mostly being awarded when they are trying to make a point. For example, in cases where they want to assure that the defendant does not ever make the same mistake again, punitive damages may be awarded. This may be the case in examples of drunk driving, malpractice, abuse, and distracted driving. Punitive damages are mainly awarded when the judge feels that the defendant needs to be taught a lesson as a consequence to their actions. 

In conclusion, the damages that a defendant is required to pay depends on both the severity of the situation, along with the judge's decisions. Understanding the reasons behind a judge's rulings can help defendants to better accept the consequences of their actions. If you would like more information on damages or would like some legal advice, contact a auto accident injury attorney near you. Many will not require payment unless they win your case for you. What do you have to lose?

For more information, contact companies such as GGRM Law Firm.

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Your Injuries, Your Rights

Medical bills can pile up quickly after an accident or injury. Then, you miss work and lose wages, leaving you in a tough spot financially. It can feel like there is no way out, but hiring a personal injury attorney can be a smart first step towards getting the compensation you deserve. This website is chock-full of articles on personal injury law. We hope to help you feel more confident as you find an attorney and start building your case. Learn about options like settling out of court, and also how the amount of compensation is determined. You have rights, and an attorney will help you defend them.

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