Compensatory damages are the financial awards a victim receives from a personal injury case that “compensates” her for her losses. These are in contrast to non-compensatory or punitive damages, which aim to punish the wrongdoer in the case, not necessarily to compensate the victim for a specific loss. Compensatory damages include both monetary expenses like medical bills and non-monetary losses like emotional harm.
What types of compensatory damages can personal injury victims receive?
There are various compensatory damages a victim can seek when filing a personal injury claim. They fall under two categories:
Monetary: Eligible victims can pursue compensation for their actual monetary losses related to their injuries. These damages are referred to as “special damages,” and can include medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages, loss of work benefits and perks, reduced capacity to work, prescriptions, assistive devices and prosthetics, household services, and more.
Non-monetary: When a person sustains a serious or traumatic injury, there are also emotional ramifications to consider, such as mental anguish, reduced quality of life, and psychological pain. Victims can seek compensation for these intangible, non-monetary losses and receive “general damages,” often referred to as pain and suffering. The more severe the injuries, the greater the general damage award will be.
How are compensatory damages calculated?
The purpose of compensatory damages is to make a victim financially whole again or to put him in the same financial position as if the accident never occurred. To calculate compensatory damages, you will need clear and thorough documentation of your losses. This can include evidence such as:
- Bills and receipts for injury-related expenses;
- Proof of lost wages, benefits, etc.; and
- Medical and mental health records.
It is important to note that you can receive compensation not only for expenses you have already sustained after the accident, but for future damages as well. Your lawyer will review the facts of your case, speak with medical and financial experts, and determine the total value of your compensatory damages—including the losses you will sustain in the future. This way, you can pursue full and fair compensation and ensure your future needs are accounted for.
Are there limits to the amount of compensatory damages I can receive?
Unlike some states, Pennsylvania does not cap the amount of compensatory damages a victim can pursue. You can seek recovery for just about any of your losses related to your injury. The only thing that might reduce your damage award is if you were partly at fault for your injuries. This is called comparative negligence. Your compensatory damage award will be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault, e.g., if you were 30% at fault for your accident, your damages will be reduced by 30%.
How can I maximize my compensatory damage award?
With over 40 years helping injured victims in Pennsylvania, the attorneys at Berger and Green know how to maximize compensatory damage awards and obtain the recovery victims deserve. Call our firm today at 412-661-1400 for a free consultation and see how we can help with your claim.