Understanding the Types of Compensatory Damages in a Civil Lawsuit

In a civil lawsuit, a plaintiff brings charges against a defendant for a negligent act or wrongdoing. If the plaintiff wins the case, they are given a monetary award. These rewards are also called civil damages, and can be classified in two categories, “compensatory” or “punitive.”

Although both awards are monetary and will be paid to the plaintiff by the defendant, each is specific and serves a distinct function. Compensatory damages are intended to compensate the victim for the harm they suffered as a result of the defendant’s negligence, and to restore the victim as much as possible, to “whole.” Punitive damages, on the other hand, are focused on the defendant and geared towards punishing them for their wrongdoing. Punitive damages are less commonly awarded, and usually only when a person or party has committed a particular egregious act.

If you are involved in a civil lawsuit or are considering filing a claim, understanding the various types of compensatory damages can increase your chances of winning a claim.

The two types of compensatory damages

Compensatory damages, the most common damages awarded in a civil lawsuit, can be broken into two categories as well. They are called special and general damages. Here is more information about the two types of compensatory damages:

  • Special damages are more objective and easier to calculate. Their objective is to reimburse the plaintiff for the expenses they incurred from the accident. This can include medical expenses, emergency transportation costs, property loss and damage, and lost income from time off work.
  • General damages are more subjective and consider factors that are more difficult to put an exact dollar amount on. Through general damages the plaintiff can be compensated for things such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, emotional consortium, disfigurement, defamation or the loss of enjoyment in life.

If you’re unsure about how to calculate the special and general damages for your personal injury claim, we recommend contacting an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss the details of your case.

Contact a knowledgeable Texas personal attorney

For almost 50 years, Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers have been fighting for Texans in all sorts of personal injury cases.Our attorneys have significant trial experience and will fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. We know how to calculate fair valuations for your damages even in the most complex claims. If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another person or parties, give us a call today at (281) 645-5000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers.