The Difference Between Compensatory Damages and Punitive Damages


Do you know the difference between the types of damages in a personal injury lawsuit? Robert Sparks Attorneys explains what they are and why it matters.

When people are injured through the wrongful or negligent acts of another, they have the legal right to pursue financial compensation for their injuries and other losses (such as financial and emotional harms), but did you know there are multiple different types of compensation personal injury victims can pursue?

For the purpose of this article, we will look at the difference between compensatory damages and punitive damages.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages come in a variety of forms, but essentially, this type of damage is awarded to compensate a victim (or the family of a victim) for the harm they suffered as a result of some type of negligence or liability. For example, if someone is injured in a slip and fall accident and ends up with $5,000 in medical bills to treat the injuries, he or she could receive $5,000 in compensatory damages. These damages exist to compensate a victim for the losses they suffered. This can include: medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and funeral expenses.

Punitive Damages

Think of punitive damages as a form of punishment. If you or someone you love suffered harm because of the wrongful or egregiously negligent acts of another, the court could order that individual to pay punitive damages. They don’t directly compensate for a loss, but are awarded nonetheless for the severity of the act resulting in wrongful injury or death.

If you or someone you love was injured in an accident, such as a car accident, slip and fall, or nursing home incident, we invite you to contact the Tampa personal injury attorneys at Robert Sparks Attorneys today for a free review of your case to determine damages you could be entitled to.