Compensatory Damages in a Personal Injury Claim

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What are “Compensatory Damages” in a Personal Injury Claim?

In a personal injury lawsuit, compensatory damages are paid by the defendant to the victim to compensate them for losses caused by the personal injury.  Compensatory damages may be awarded for a wide range of different losses.  

In some cases, compensatory damages can cover other damages that are a “reasonable consequence” of the defendant’s negligence.  Each state may have different limits and rules regarding compensatory damage awards.  But in general, a judge or jury can exercise wide discretionary power when calculating and issuing compensatory damage awards.   

What Types of Losses do Compensatory Damages Usually Cover?

Compensatory damages may be awarded in two different forms.  First, “special damages” compensate the victim for their monetary losses.  Secondly, “general damages” compensate the victim for non-monetary losses. 

While the specific rules may vary by jurisdiction, the following personal injury losses can be recovered through a compensatory damages award:

In some jurisdictions, personal injury laws place a “cap” or limit on the amount of damages that a victim can receive in a lawsuit.  In any case, a compensatory damages award must be reasonable and proportionate to the victim’s losses.

What Factors are Considered When Calculating Compensatory Damages?

When calculating compensatory damages in a personal injury claim, courts will usually consider factors such as:

All of these factors are considered in detail, and the victim may need to provide additional proof in light of such factors.  For example, the victim may need to provide documents such as pay stubs, medical receipts, and witness testimonies. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Compensatory Damages in a Personal Injury Claim?

Filing for compensatory damages can sometimes be a complex task.  If you need assistance with a personal injury claim, you may wish to speak with a lawyer for advice and/or representation in court.  Since personal injury and tort laws vary by state, you may need the expertise of an attorney for your lawsuit. 

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Last Modified: 10-13-2011 11:49 AM PDT

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