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In personal injury law, “damages” refers to the monetary compensation awarded to the plaintiff (injured party) as a result of the defendant’s wrongful conduct. Damages may cover a wide range of losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.

There are two main types of damages in personal injury cases: compensatory and punitive.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are intended to compensate the plaintiff for the losses and harm they have suffered as a result of the defendant’s actions. There are two subcategories of compensatory damages: special damages and general damages.

Special Damages

Special damages, also known as economic damages, are quantifiable monetary losses that can be calculated with relative certainty. Examples of special damages include medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the injury.

General Damages

General damages, also known as non-economic damages, are more subjective and harder to quantify. These damages are meant to compensate the plaintiff for intangible losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are awarded in addition to compensatory damages as a way to punish the defendant for particularly egregious conduct and to deter similar behavior in the future. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate the plaintiff, but rather to punish the defendant and send a message that certain behavior will not be tolerated.

It’s important to note that punitive damages are not awarded in every personal injury case and are typically only awarded when the defendant’s actions were especially reckless or malicious.

In conclusion, damages play a crucial role in personal injury cases, as they provide a means of compensating the injured party for their losses and holding the at-fault party accountable for their actions. Through the award of damages, the legal system seeks to restore the injured party to their pre-accident condition as much as possible and to prevent future harm.

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