What Are Compensatory Damages?

If you’ve been injured in a car crash caused by another person’s negligence, you may be considering seeking compensation for your injuries and property damage through a civil lawsuit. In legal terms, this compensation is called compensatory damages. By now, you’ll be wondering what are compensatory damages? Compensatory damages are monetary awards that are intended to essentially repay accident victims for what they have lost because of the negligence of other people or entities.

Compensatory damages may include losses for the following things:

  • Medical expenses, including doctor bills, ambulance costs, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing care and other possible losses.
  • Potential future medical expenses if your injury continues to affect your health.
  • Lost wages while you recuperate from your injury or when you have to take time off work to go to doctor’s appointments.
  • Potential lost or reduced earning capacity if you can no longer work or your work is limited.
  • Property damage for vehicle repairs or replacement if your car was totaled.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses such as gasoline and parking fees at the doctor’s office, rental car reimbursement, medications and any other costs you have incurred because of the accident.
  • Pain and suffering, which includes loss of joy in life, chronic pain, mental anguish, depression, emotional distress and other less tangible losses.

What Are Compensatory Damages Worth?

What you might be able to get in compensatory damages depends upon the severity of your injuries and specific factors surrounding your accident. In general, the worse your injuries, the higher the award you might receive. Trying to calculate compensatory damages can be complicated because there are so many unknowns involved. For example, it is difficult to place a figure on things like future medical costs that you haven’t incurred yet, or to put a value on what your pain and suffering might be worth. An experienced car accident lawyer can be helpful in looking at all the facts of your case and answering your questions about what your compensatory damages may be worth.

Punitive Damages

While compensatory damages are the main type of damages awarded in car accident claims, in some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded. These damages are awarded over and above compensatory damages. Like the name implies, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant who caused the accident for their especially negligent or reckless actions, potentially dissuading them from repeating their actions. In a car accident case, if an accident is caused by a drunk driver, for example, a case might be made for pursuing punitive damages.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney

When you’ve been injured in an accident, your focus is on getting better, not wading through the legalities of car accident claims. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you with your insurance claim by communicating with and negotiating with the insurance company. And if a fair insurance settlement for your damages doesn’t appear likely, an attorney can work to try and get you the compensation you deserve through a legal claim.

The knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana in Foley are here to review your car accident case and answer your questions. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling (251) 444-7000, toll free at (855) 390-5566 or visiting us online.