A Comparison of Compensatory and Punitive Damages

In personal injury lawsuits, the injured individual (plaintiff) has to prove that their injuries were caused by another person (defendant) due to their careless, negligent, or reckless behavior.  Whether the lawsuit takes place in Brampton, Burlington, or Mississauga, or anywhere else in Ontario Province, the plaintiff may be awarded damages in the form of monetary compensation for any losses that resulted from the defendant’s behavior.  There are two types of damages that are normally awarded in a personal injury case.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are the most common type of compensation in a personal injury case.  The purpose of these damages is to pay the injured victims for their losses and to make them financially whole again.  However, compensatory damages are broken down into two categories – economic and non-economic losses.  These are described as follows:

  • Economic losses – tangible losses that have monetary value or cost money such as attendant or rehabilitative care expenses, legal fees, lost income (past and future), medical expenses, property damage, and wrongful death.
  • Non-economic losses – intangible losses that are difficult to calculate such as emotional distress, loss of care, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering.

There are a number of factors that personal injury lawyers in Brampton take into consideration when assessing the value of a case or what it is worth.  This includes the cause of your injuries, how your injuries have affected your quality of life, the impact of your injuries on your ability to perform your job, and the nature and extent of your injuries. Based on it, the compensation amount is decided. Someone with traumatic brain injury is going to get a higher compensation that a persona who just has a simple fracture. That is how it works.

Punitive Damages

In personal injury lawsuits where the defendant’s behavior is found to be grossly careless, negligent, or reckless, the court may award the plaintiff punitive damages in addition the compensatory damages that have been awarded.  The rationale behind punitive damages is considerably different from that of compensatory damages.  For instance, compensatory damages are awarded to make the plaintiff whole again while punitive damages are intended to do what the name implies – punish the defendant.

The real goal of punitive damages is to hurt the defendant where it matters the most, namely their purse or wallet and punish them for their actions or behavior.  Punitive damages are also intended to serve as a deterrent so the defendant doesn’t commit such an offense again.  While you may be able to sue for punitive damages in your personal injury case, the percentage of lawsuits where these damages are awarded is extremely small.

One thing that you should keep in mind where personal injury lawsuits are concerned is that is that the burden of proof rests on the shoulders of the defendant.  This is why it is so important to retain the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer.

We proudly serve the residents in the Mississauga, Brampton and Burlington areas. If you want a personal injury lawyer that represents your best interests, we’d love to review your case and give a free consultation. Contact us today!

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