People who have been injured as a result of another person or party's negligence deserve to receive compensation of some kind to address the hardships that they have faced. That is how civil cases work, and it's a major reason why you should seek the help of a personal injury attorney if you have been injured in an accident or incident in which another person or party was responsible.
This brings us to the topic of damages, which we'd like to cover in brief detail right now.
What are damages?
Damages, as noted above, refers to compensation sought in a personal injury lawsuit that is meant to address the hardships that have been faced by the victim of another person's negligence. There are two kinds of damages:
- Compensatory damages
- Punitive damages
It is not uncommon to seek both compensatory damages and punitive damages in a legal case. Let's address both of these kinds of damages individually.
About Compensatory Damages
Compensatory damages are damages that are meant to cover various kinds of losses or hardships that a person has experienced, be they material or otherwise. This can include medical bills, pain and suffering, damage to property, lost earning potential or wages, and so on.
Calculating Compensatory Damages
Calculating compensatory damages is relatively easy in that material losses and lost earnings can be tabulated rather quickly. With regard to pain and suffering, however, lawyers will consider similar cases and use those as a guide to assessing the value of this kind of hardship.
An Example of Compensatory Damages
Say that the maker of an automobile has designed a vehicle that is mechanically flawed, causing issues with braking on time/distance. If an accident was caused because a driver could not brake easily, our auto accident lawyer would seek damages to cover medical bills, vehicle damage, lost wages at work, and physical rehabilitation (if the injury was very severe and required rehabilitative services).
About Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are meant to punish the negligent party in accident cases, ensuring that negligent actions do not occur again. This is not just a deterrent to the negligent party, but it can also send a message to others who would act in a similarly negligent fashion.
Calculating Punitive Damages
Since punitive damages are not tied to material losses per se, the severity of the negligence, the circumstances of the case, and the damages sought in similar past cases will determine the amount of the punitive damages in your case.
An Example of Punitive Damages
Let's return to the defective vehicle accident mentioned in the compensatory damages example.
Punitive damages will be sought in order to deter the auto manufacturer from designing cars like the defective one in the future. It will also make others in the auto industry take note so that they avoid similar design flaws and properly test their automobiles before they are placed on the market.
Learn More About Personal Injury Lawsuits
For more information about all of your options in a lawsuit, be sure to contact our Orange County personal injury attorneys today. The entire team here looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you receive just compensation for injuries and losses while also holding the responsible party accountable for their act or acts of negligence.