What is the Meaning of Compensatory Damage?
In personal injury law, compensatory damages, also referred to as actual damages, are damages that are equivalent to the loss the victim suffered.
The amount of compensation a personal injury victim could receive in compensatory damages is based on the established harm or loss they suffered as a result of the defendant’s action or inaction.
This is in contrast to exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages, which do not directly reflect the plaintiff’s losses. Instead, they are awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly malicious or reckless. It is possible for a personal injury claim to result in both types of damages.
When determining the value of compensatory damages, the value of economic losses will be considered, such as lost wages and medical expenses, as well as non-economic losses, such as emotional pain and suffering.
Chris Morrow Law, PLLC – The Attorney That Works
At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we are committed to providing high-quality representation to personal injury victims in Texas and have been since 1994.
We believe everyone deserves access to experienced legal representation, which is why we offer a free consolation and work on a contingency fee basis. We only get paid if your case is successful. We ensure that the attorney assigned to your case will be personally available to answer your questions and guide you through the process.
Call us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer at 512-520-8100.
What is the Meaning of Compensatory Damage in Texas?
Compensatory damages, also known as actual damages, are intended to compensate personal injury victims for their losses and nothing more.
Compensatory damages can be further divided into two types: actual and general.
Actual Compensatory Damages
In order to be awarded actual compensatory damages, a clear monetary value must be attached to them. Evidence such as hospital bills and receipts will be required to claim, and so you should keep clear documentation of all the costs relating to your injuries.
Compensatory damages involving actual monetary expenditure include:
- Medical bills.
- Medication costs.
- Nursing home care
- Ambulance expenses.
- Home adjustments.
- Lost employment income.
- Increased living expenses
- Property replacement or repair
- Transportation to and from hospital appointments.
General Compensatory Damages
On the other hand, general compensatory damages include estimates of losses rather than actual monetary expenditure. Examples include emotional distress and future medical costs.
General compensatory damages include:
- Mental anguish.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
- Loss of opportunity.
- Future medical expenses.
- Future lost wages and lost earning potential.
- Long-term physical pain and suffering.
- Loss of consortium refers to the change in daily relationships due to the injuries suffered.
When determining what your losses suffered equate to, it is essential that your future expenses related to your injury are considered. If the monetary amount of compensation only accounts for your past medical bills and lost wages, then you could still end up out of pocket.
A personal injury attorney may need to draw upon expert testimony to determine what the ongoing costs of your medical care will be. Additionally, if your injuries are likely to prevent you from returning to work in the same capacity, then your attorney will fight for you to be compensated for a lifetime of lost earning potential.
Pain and Suffering Damages
Pain and suffering is the term used to describe emotional suffering after an accident. That could include the emotional trauma from the accident itself or the effect the injuries are having on your physical and emotional well-being.
Pain and suffering damages can be difficult to prove, and the best way to ensure that you are fairly compensated is to enlist the help of a skilled personal injury attorney.
When you have strong representation, your pain and suffering damages are likely to make up a large portion of your settlement. One common way of determining the value of your pain and suffering is to use a multiplier method. The multiplier method takes into account your actual compensatory damages and applies a multiplier between 1 and 5 depending on the severity of your suffering.
For example, if you have suffered broken bones that have prevented you from participating in hobbies you once enjoyed, but you are likely to make a full recovery in the near future, then a multiplier of two could be justified. However, if you are unlikely to ever fully recover from your injuries and they limit your life in some way, then a multiplier of up to five could be used to establish the value of your pain and suffering damages.
What Is the Difference Between Compensatory and Punitive Damages?
While compensatory damages are in place to compensate personal injury victims for their actual losses, punitive damages or exemplary damages may compensate above any loss suffered.
Punitive damage awards are only awarded in personal injury cases that go to court, as they can only be awarded by a Judge. They are reserved for cases where the Judge is looking to punish the defendant for reckless or malicious behavior or to discourage people from behaving in a similar way in the future.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer To Claim Compensation in Texas?
You are within your rights to pursue compensation without a personal injury lawyer. However, many victims who pursue a claim without legal representation end up with less than what they truly deserve.
After a personal injury, you will most likely be claiming compensation from insurance companies. Insurance companies are driven by profit, and they employ legal teams whose job it is to devalue or dismiss your claim; when you have experienced representation, you level the playing field.
It is also important to consider that personal injury cases can take many months to settle and can be incredibly stressful. It involves collecting evidence, investigating liability, negotiating with insurance companies, and sometimes a court hearing. At Chris Morrow Law PLLC, we will take over the entire process while keeping you informed at every stage so that you can focus on your recovery.
We are experienced trial lawyers, and insurance defense lawyers know this, which means that they may be more willing to offer a fair settlement outside of court rather than risk court fees. Securing a fair out-of-court settlement is often preferable as it saves time and money, but if a just settlement cannot be reached, then we will be prepared to advocate on your behalf in front of a Judge.
Our personal injury lawyers will fight to ensure that your actual and general damages are considered, including your future costs and your pain and suffering. Using our skills, experience, and resources, we will determine what a good settlement looks like in your case, one that is truly representative of your experiences, and will provide evidence that is difficult to contest.
We also work on a no-win no-fee basis, which means that you will never be left out of pocket. We assume all the risk and only get paid as a percentage of your settlement if we are successful.
Compensatory damages compensate personal injury victims for the actual losses they’ve suffered. Examples include medical and hospital bills and lost wages, both past, and future.
There are two forms of compensatory damages, actual and general. Actual damages replace what was lost and nothing more, such as past lost earnings, property damage, and past medical bills. In contrast, general damages include estimated losses such as future medical bills and lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.
Another name for compensatory damages is actual damages.
The three main elements of compensatory damages are medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact Us here at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC Today
At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we want to help you secure the compensation that is rightfully yours. We have a passion for helping personal injury victims in Texas and will fight tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome in your case.
With over 25 years of experience and a dedication to personal injury law in Texas, we have a long history of favorable outcome wins and happy clients. We take a personalized approach and will keep you informed and engaged from start to finish.
Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we offer a free consultation to all clients, so to gain clarity on your next steps, get in touch today.