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What’s the Difference between Punitive Damages and Compensatory Damages?

Phoenix personal injury lawyer

If you’ve been injured due to another person’s negligence, seek medical care immediately. Once you’ve seen a doctor, you should hire a skilled Phoenix personal injury lawyer. This isn’t a matter of suing someone to rake in lots of money; it’s about receiving compensation for damages that you’ve sustained due to the incident.

Without the help of an experienced Phoenix personal injury attorney, you’ll face an uphill battle. The terms that are bandied about alone are enough to leave you more confused than ever. A prime example involves the types of damages that you may receive in the event that your case is settled in your favor. They fall into two categories: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Your Phoenix personal injury lawyer will be well-versed in both types and how they are awarded. In the meantime, though, it doesn’t hurt to study up a little yourself.

How Personal Injury Lawsuits Work

Your personal injury lawsuit needs to prove that the other party’s negligence caused the accident to occur. It must then show causation, which means that the other party’s negligence caused your injuries. If the court rules that both causation and negligence exist, damages should be awarded. These damages are monetary awards that compensate you for your injuries, property damage, lost wages and even intangible losses like pain and suffering. Proving these cases can be tricky, which is yet another reason why it’s crucial to hire a competent Phoenix personal injury attorney.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are automatically sought by plaintiffs in personal injury cases. As your Phoenix personal injury lawyer will be able to tell you, they’re designed to compensate you or make you whole. They should bring you back to the financial situation you were in at the time of the accident. Since then, you’ve likely spent considerable amounts of money out of your own pocket for medical care and other things. Your Phoenix personal injury lawyer will file the lawsuit in the hopes that you will be compensated for those losses.

There are two subcategories of compensatory damages. Economic compensation is for tangible losses with attached receipts that prove how much they cost. It may cover things like lost wages, lost property and medical bills. Non-economic compensation is for intangible losses or losses that don’t have clear, definitive values. It may cover things like emotional distress and pain and suffering. Your Phoenix personal injury lawyer will be able to tell you whether your compensation is likely to fall into one or both categories.

Punitive Damages

If the other party acted with willful disregard for others’ health and safety or acted in a blatantly negligent or careless manner, your Phoenix personal injury lawyer may also seek punitive damages on your behalf. It’s a lot less common for personal injury plaintiffs to seek punitive damages, which are designed to punish the at-fault party. Your Phoenix personal injury attorney should be able to tell fairly quickly whether it makes sense to seek punitive damages along with compensatory damages.

Hire a Skilled Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer Now

Before worrying about whether you’ll seek punitive damages and compensatory damages, you need to retain an experienced Phoenix personal injury lawyer. Call Schiffman Law Office, P.C. at (602) 235-0539 now.


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