There are several types of damages that plaintiffs in a personal injury case may receive compensation for. Not every type applies to every case.
What are the different types of damages?
There are two types of compensatory damages. Economic or special compensatory damages include damages that can be specifically computed in dollars and cents. Examples include medical bills, lost wages and property damage. Additional expenses, such as the cost to hire a housekeeper because your injury prevents you from doing housework, may also be in this category.
General compensatory damages cover losses that are not financial. Examples of these damages include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment and disfigurement. Compensatory damages are not usually capped in Pennsylvania except when the suit involves the government. Damages for cases against the state government may have a cap of $250,000 per plaintiff and $1,000,000 total.
Punitive damages only apply to a small portion of personal injury cases. Rather than compensating plaintiffs for losses, punitive damages punish defendants for undesirable behavior. Punitive damages are usually capped at twice the amount of compensatory damages. Punitive damages apply when the court determines that the defendant acted recklessly without any regard for the safety of others. Judges award punitive damages to discourage others from engaging in similar behavior.
The exact damages injured people may receive compensation for as part of a personal injury settlement vary depending on the facts of their cases. If you need help determining what type of damages apply to your injury case, contact Schmidt, Kirifides & Rassias at 610-601-5399 for a free consultation.