As a victim of a tort, you have the right to recover two main types of damages from the party or parties responsible for your physical, emotional, or financial injuries. Personal injury law provides for both compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are awards that are intended to restore the plaintiff to the state he or she would have been in, had the tort never occurred. These are typically financial awards that “make up” for the injuries suffered by the plaintiff.
There are two kinds of compensatory damages:
Special damages are compensatory damages that are directly tied to a specific and concrete injury, and can include financial compensation for things such as:
- car repairs,
- medical bills, or
- lost wages.
These damages are easily quantifiable.
General damages, on the other hand, are awards that compensate the plaintiff for injuries that are much less quantifiable. These include awards for:
- pain and suffering,
- emotional distress,
- loss of companionship, and
- loss of ability to enjoy life.
Personal injury law recognizes that, though these injuries are very difficult to quantify, their effects are serious and real enough to warrant redress in a court of law.
Punitive damages are essentially penalties imposed on a defendant in order to deter him, her, or it from committing similar torts in the future. These damages are not necessarily dependent on the severity of injuries suffered by the plaintiff, though several Supreme Court rulings have suggested that excessive punitive-to-compensatory damage ratios could be considered violations of the due process clause of the Constitution.
For more information about damages in tort law, contact Hankey Marks & Crider to speak with an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer today. Call (317) 634-8565.