Compensatory & Punitive Damages Compensatory damages are comprised of those financial losses that you have suffered as a direct result of the Defendants action. Compensatory damages are the most common type of damages awarded to Plaintiffs. Compensatory damages can include payment from the Defendant to compensate you for, among other things, lost wages, lost profits, hospital bills (current & future), cost of home medical care (including medical equipment such as beds, wheelchairs, etc.) property damage, mental anguish, loss of friends, loss of respect in the community, loss of reputation, loss of consortium, and pain & suffering. The purpose of compensatory damages is to put you back in the position that you were in prior to the injury or property damage caused by the Defendant. Insurance companies sometimes call compensatory damages "special damages."
Punitive damages are not awarded as often as compensatory damages. The judge will award you punitive damages only if the Defendant
s act was so horrible and offensive that the court believes it is important to make an example out of the Defendant. Punitive damages are not awarded to compensate you for your direct injuries or property damage (compensatory damages), but are instead added to the compensatory damages in order to discourage other would be wrongdoers from acting in a similar way. Punitive damages are just what they sound like, they "punish" the Defendant.
When you prevail at trial, the judge may order the Defendant to pay your legal costs. Such costs can include fees charged by expert witnesses, court reporter fees, costs of constructing exhibits, reproduction costs, and more.
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