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The Difference Between Compensatory Damages & Punitive Damages

One of the questions that we often get from clients is to explain the difference between compensatory versus punitive damages. It is a topic that often comes up once an individual or family hires us following a recent auto accident.

Compensatory damages are the losses you suffered because of someone else’s negligence that caused your car accident. Compensatory damages include both economic and non-economic losses. When you file an insurance claim, you’re entitled to collect compensation for your damages.

If you or someone you know were injured in a crash and the insurance adjuster determines the other driver was at fault, you can claim past and future damages. Depending on the insurance coverage available, you could potentially receive a monetary award for the expenses you paid for, as well as any future losses resulting from your injury and treatment.

The compensatory damages you could collect from an auto accident include the following:

  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Medical expenses
  • Disfigurement or permanent disability
  • Mental anguish
  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical devices and rehabilitation
  • Property damage

Instead of compensating the injured individual, punitive damages punish the liable driver for willful malice, negligence, fraud, or egregious actions. It also aims to prevent similar behavior from happening in the future.

Insurance claims don’t take punitive damages into account, and most lawsuits don’t justify them either. However, if circumstances existed that were so reckless that the motorist should face financial punishment, a judge might allow you to pursue them. As an example, if you suffered injuries because the other person was driving drunk, you may be able to seek punitive damages.

The types of damages that are available to you based on the details of the auto accident you or someone you know experienced can be difficult to understand. That’s why the experienced auto accident and personal injury lawyers at Bashore Green are such a great resource. Contact us at 248-487-1887 to set up you risk-free appointment.