If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to recover multiple forms of compensation, depending on the circumstances and the facts of the situation. Yet, although most victims often receive compensatory damages for the harm they endured, there are some cases where punitive damages may be available. To better help you understand what your case may be worth and what compensation you may be able to pursue, this blog post will discuss the different types of available damages and what you need to prove to obtain them.
Compensatory damages refer to compensation that reimburses a victim (or a plaintiff) for their damages, injuries, or other incurred losses that result from an accident. These damages are generally awarded in civil court cases, where loss has occurred because of another party’s negligence or unlawful conduct.
In general, there are two types of compensatory damages, and they are often labeled as “special” and “general” damages.
These damages refer to the actual losses that a victim has suffered because of an accident. When a court awards these special damages, the sole purpose is to financially compensate the injured party for the actual economic losses they have suffered and make them “whole” or return them to their financial position before the incident occurred. These special damages often include:
In comparison, general or non-economic damages refer to losses that are rather subjective and hard to quantify. These damages do not necessarily involve out-of-pocket expenses but instead emotional losses that include things such as:
Unlike compensatory damages, which are meant to compensate the victim, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their egregious and wrongful actions and to deter them and others from committing these actions again in the future. However, in Louisiana, these punitive damages are only available when authorized by statute or when the defendant’s actions are based on a wanton or reckless disregard for the safety and rights of others, such as when a defendant causes injuries because they were driving intoxicated.
Some examples of circumstances that may call for punitive damages:
Although compensatory and punitive damages are types of damages that the victim can recover following an accident, both have a different effect on the opposing sides of a personal injury claim. For instance, compensatory damages are given to the victim to help pay for their losses and medical bills that the accident caused. On the other hand, punitive damages are intended to penalize the at-fault party.
Another critical difference between the two is compensatory damages are much more common compared to punitive damages. In Louisiana, punitive damages are only awarded in exceptional circumstances.
Compensatory damages can be awarded in about any personal injury claim that was created because of another person’s or entity’s negligence. However, these damages are commonly awarded in the following types of accidents:
In comparison, punitive damages are typically designed to punish the tortfeasor. They are available as a remedy by statute or in general maritime actions where a wrongful party’s intentional or wanton and reckless conduct amounts to a conscious disregard for the rights of others. Generally, the standard for punitive damages is a much higher degree of fault than simple negligence, and the amount of punitive damages awarded is considered on a case-by-case basis.
The statute of limitations is a law that dictates the maximum amount of time you have to bring a claim for an alleged offense. If you do not bring a claim within the allotted time period, you can be barred from collecting compensation for your injuries and losses.
In Louisiana, the time limit to bring an injury claim is one year from the date of the accident. However, it is best not to wait. To ensure that your case is filed before time expires, it is best to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of another person’s wrongful or negligent actions, you deserve legal help that you can count on and trust. That is why it is so important to reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible following your accident. These attorneys can not only walk you through everything you need to know about the legal nuances that these cases entail, but they can also provide you the legal assistance that you require.
These lawyers can:
If an injury because of an accident disrupted your life or the life of a loved one, do not wait any longer to get the legal help you need. Contact Charbonnet Law Firm, LLC online today, or call our firm at (504) 294-5118 and let our legal team get you the answers you need and show you how we can fight for you and your rights.