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What Are Compensatory Damages and Why Are They Crucial to Your Case?

By Matthew Golitko on August 22, 2014

A few stacks of hundred dollar billsHere at Golitko & Daly, we are committed to helping accident victims and their loved ones receive just compensation that helps them move forward with life following a serious accident. Work injury victims from throughout the greater Indianapolis area have come to our team for help because our construction accident attorneys have a strong reputation and proven track record when it comes to achieving just results.

Damages are an important part of any kind of injury litigation. Since we've examined the role of punitive damages previously on this blog, we'd like to turn our attention to compensatory damages right now.

About Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are sought in a civil lawsuit in order to cover actual losses that were experienced as a result of an accident or wrong of some kind. This includes compensation for the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning potential
  • Pain and suffering

In the case of wrongful death lawsuits, compensatory damages will also cover the funeral costs and the hardships related to the loss of companionship.

How Compensatory Damages Differ from Punitive Damages

While compensatory damages are sought in order to cover actual losses that are experienced as a direct result of an accident, punitive damages will seek money that goes beyond the actual losses experienced. The punitive damages will punish the negligent party and will often be used to send a message based on the seriousness of the incident in question.

Calculating Compensatory Damages

In order to calculate compensatory damages, our lawyers will assess actual bills and receipts for medical treatments and replacement or repair of damaged goods. Lost income and estimates of future income are calculated given the amount of time off work necessary to recover from an injury and a reasonable expectation of earnings if a person was able to maintain the same career trajectory without an injury occurring. With regard to these kinds of matters, compensatory damages are generally easy to calculate.

For pain and suffering, the nature of the accident will be considered, as will similar accidents and the amounts assessed for pain and suffering in those cases. Sometimes a mental health expert may be consulted to properly assess this amount given the cost of psychological counseling and other forms of professional assistance required.

An Example of Compensatory Damages in Action

Say that a crane accident occurred that led to the severe spinal cord injury of a construction worker. This accident left the worker paralyzed from the waist down, confining him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Compensatory damages will cover the medical expenses and lost wages of that employee, also covering physical therapy and any necessary mental health counseling to address PTSD and other psychological issues that may arise as a result of the accident.

Since the worker's life and livelihood are forever changed, compensatory damages will also be sought to cover the future earnings that this worker will no longer be able to earn as a result of the permanent disability suffered from the crane accident. Pain and suffering will also be considered as well as any other kinds of losses or affects to overall quality of life.

Contact Golitko & Daly to Discuss Your Case

If you would like more information about your legal options following a serious accident or injury at construction site or industrial workplace, it's of the utmost importance that you contact our construction accident and workplace injury attorneys today. The legal team here at Golitko & Daly will fight diligently on your behalf.

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