What is the Difference Between Compensatory and Punitive Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

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If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to seek financial compensation for your losses. To collect compensation for your damages, you will have to file a personal injury claim. If your personal injury claim is successful, you may be able to recover two types of damages: compensatory and punitive damages. Understanding the differences between compensatory and punitive damages is crucial, as it can help you maximize your potential award. If you or someone you know has been injured due to another party’s negligence, you should enlist the help of a skilled Morris County Personal Injury Attorney who can help you attain the just compensation you deserve. Please continue reading to learn the differences between compensatory and punitive damages. 

What Are Compensatory Damages?

Compensatory damages are the primary compensation awarded to injured parties in successful personal injury cases. They are awarded to victims to reimburse them for their losses due to another party or entity’s negligence. These damages are typically divided into two categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages are tangible losses that can easily be quantified. They represent out-of-pocket losses stemming from the defendant’s wrongful actions. Examples include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, household services, etc. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are non-tangible losses. They are harder to quantify because they represent subjective losses, such as pain and suffering, post-traumatic stress disorder, inconvenience, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.

What Are Punitive Damages?

As mentioned above, compensatory damages are intended to reimburse victims for the damages they have incurred due to another party or entity’s negligence. Punitive damages are not designed to compensate victims for their losses. Instead, they are meant to punish the defendant for their negligence or wrongdoing and deter others from engaging in similar wrongful behavior. For example, punitive damages may be awarded if a company knowingly sells a defective product to the public, which can cause harm to consumers. It’s crucial to note that punitive damages are rarely awarded. However, if a defendant is guilty of gross negligence, meaning they have demonstrated a reckless disregard for the safety or lives of others, the court can award punitive damages alongside compensatory damages.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, you need a qualified Morris County personal injury attorney on your side. At Lutz Injury Law, we understand the intricacies of pursuing a personal injury claim and can accurately assess the value of your claim. If you believe you are entitled to punitive and compensatory damages, we can help you prove the defendant’s gross negligence. Allow our firm to effectively represent your interests and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

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