What Victims Should Know About The Two Main Damage Categories

If a car accident has left you hurt by a careless driver, being paid for your damages is of utmost importance. The word damages covers all the ways you have been hurt physically, mentally, and financially. When it comes to how you are paid, your damages are divided into compensatory and punitive damages. Read and find out more about both.

Compensatory Damages

This category covers the expenses directly attributable to the accident. If the accident and your resulting injuries caused you to miss work, then the dollar amount of your lost time from work is a compensatory damage. It's different from punitive damages in the way that the money paid represents actual financial losses.

One sort of compensatory damage is a bit different. Pain and suffering are not the results of a dollar amount of something because the mental stress of dealing with an accident is not that readily valued. Instead, various insurers and personal injury lawyers use different methods to place a dollar figure on pain and suffering damages. One method ties pain and suffering to a dollar amount that is assigned to each day after the accident until the victim is physically healed.

Another method to figure out pain and suffering payments is to add up the total amount of medical treatment expenses and assign a factor to that sum. Then that sum is multiplied by that factor. For example, if your medical bills total $250,000 and your factor is 3, you could be paid $750,000 for your pain and suffering. Speak to your personal injury lawyer to learn more about the importance of this valuable form of personal injury damages.

Punitive Damages

Many accident cases settle outside of court, but those that do not could warrant punitive damages. Punitive damages are not available if you settle your case outside of court. As the name suggests, punitive damages are meant to punish the driver that caused the accident. Most drivers that cause accidents did not mean to do so. They were following the rules of the road but made a mistake and an accident occurred.

Punitive damages are not appropriate for every case. Only when the driver took actions that they knew could result in an accident are these damages available. For example:

  • A driver was running from law enforcement when they hit you.
  • A driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the wreck.
  • A driver for a commercial vehicle was under pressure by their company to complete their deliveries for the day. The company would be the target of the suit and not the driver in that case.

Contact a law office like the Law Offices of Donald E. Green, P.C. to learn more.