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September 20, 2021

What’s the Difference Between Punitive and Compensatory Damages?

After an injury caused by an accident, you can file a claim against the responsible party for the damages you suffered.

Personal injury lawsuits help people recover compensatory damages, such as those represented by economic and non-economic losses. However, in other cases involving severe or extreme negligence on the part of the at-fault party, the judge in a tort case could decide to award punitive damages, too. 

Read on to learn more about what these damages are, and get help with your claim by consulting a Charlotte personal injury attorney from our firm. 

Compensatory Differences: A Breakdown

Compensatory damages, as the name suggests, go back to the point of a personal injury claim, which is to restore the plaintiff through compensation for the damages they’ve suffered. 

Compensatory damages are like the bread and butter of any personal injury case. In most cases, these are the only types of damages in play—especially considering most personal injury cases are settled out of court before they can go to trial. 

Compensatory damages reflect both economic and non-economic losses that the plaintiff in a personal injury case suffers. Some examples of both of these include:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Property damages
  • Emotional damages, such as pain and suffering

For a complete list of the compensatory damages to which you may be entitled and to calculate your settlement value, contact an attorney. 

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages, on the other hand, refer to specific penalties levied against the at-fault party in a personal injury lawsuit. They can also be called “vindictive damages” or “exemplary damages.”

The goal of these damages is to punish the defendant for their actions, as well as to deter others from taking similar actions. They are typically awarded by a judge in a tort case in specific circumstances. 

For example, in Georgia, punitive damages can only be awarded in cases where the defendant “showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or […] conscious indifference to consequences.”

Although the general limit for punitive damages in Georgia is $250,000, there are exceptions; namely, in product liability cases, this limit is abolished. 

You can learn more about punitive damages or compensatory damages by engaging a personal injury attorney for counsel with your case. 

Injured? Get a Free Consultation

An experienced personal injury lawyer with The Nye Law Group can help you recover the maximum settlement possible. 

Call 912-200-5230 or fill out the following form for more information. 

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402 West Trade Street,
Suite 112
Charlotte, NC

704-862-4177 get directions

2008 Whitaker Street
Savannah, GA 31401

912-732-0249 get directions
View all locations
CONTACT US

NO PRESSURE. SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY. NO HIDDEN FEES.

* All Fields Required

Or Call 855-856-4212