Q What Are Compensatory Damages in a Personal Injury Case?
Compensatory damages — or "actual damages" in some states — are a type of monetary compensation awarded in civil court cases to repay someone for their losses. These losses might include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by the incident.
Unlike punitive damages, which are a penalty above and beyond compensatory damages for the purpose of punishing the defendant, compensatory damages should reflect the actual financial loss that someone suffered due to a personal injury. They can usually be corroborated with documentation like receipts or paycheck stubs.
However, one category of compensatory damages — pain and emotional suffering — can't be directly quantified. When determining this element, testimony from friends, family, and therapists typically come into play. For example, the compensatory damages owed to the spouse or children of a victim may include loss of support, guidance, and care for the child.
Some states have tried to limit how much money can be awarded for pain and suffering. There have been many challenges to such laws and the topic remains controversial.
The purpose of compensatory damages is to replace what was lost. While often the losses associated with a personal injury can seem intangible — especially pain and suffering — this outlet allows for at least some form of reparation to be made.
If you've suffered an injury because of someone else's negligence or wrongdoing, call us today at 816-842-7100 to speak with an attorney that will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Or you can click here to email us and schedule your free consultation.