judge with gavel

When you are injured due to the negligence or recklessness of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation. If you and your attorney can prove the ways in which the responsible party is at fault and how their behavior contributed to your injury, you can potentially collect a financial award to cover certain expenses that are associated with the accident. This financial award can be found in the form of compensatory or punitive damages. For more information and to acquire legal representation for your personal injury claim or lawsuit, contact an experienced New York injury lawyer today.

What Are Compensatory Damages?

Compensatory damages are damages that intend to reimburse a victim for actual monetary or other losses. They are the main form of compensation awarded during personal injury cases. Some compensatory damages that are typically collected during a personal injury claim or lawsuit can include the following.

  • Medical costs such as ambulance rides, hospital visits, doctor visits, medication, physical therapy, surgery, etc.
  • Property damage to a car or other personal property
  • Pain and suffering like emotional distress or the development of psychological issues
  • Loss of wages due to forced absence from work because of the injury

Compensatory damages are calculated by evaluating the actual costs that the victim has incurred due to the accident. You and your lawyer can gather and present relevant evidence including medical bills and property evaluation as well as calculating how long you were out of work for and how much money you would have made if you had been present.

What Are Punitive Damages?

If the defendant is found guilty or liable they may be required to pay punitive damages alongside the previously explained compensatory damages. The main intention of punitive damages is to punish the defendant by making them pay more money. It may be decided that the defendant should pay punitive damages if the compensatory damages were deemed insufficient or if the defendant acted in gross or willful negligence. The punishment of increased compensation intends to prevent the defendant from acting this way again and ensure they have learned from their mistakes.

Is There a Limit to How Much a Defendant Will Have to Pay?

Many states have a cap for punitive damages, and even compensatory damages in some instances. Generally, states will limit punitive damages to four or five times the amount of compensatory damages awarded. However, several states including New York do not limit either form of compensation.

Should I Hire an Attorney for My Case?

You should always hire a lawyer when dealing with a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Studies show that those with professional legal counsel tend to be awarded more in financial compensation than those who choose to forgo legal representation.

Not only will your lawyer potentially increase the amount of money you are awarded, but they can help you navigate the legal process from start to finish. Collecting evidence, communicating with insurance companies, and presenting your case will all be easier and more stress-free with the help of a skilled attorney.