What Are Compensatory Damages?

Compensatory damages are monetary awards that reimburse you for the injuries and losses you suffered in an accident.

The plaintiff in a civil lawsuit can generally receive two main types of damages:

  • Compensatory damages seek to make the victim “whole” again after an accident caused by negligence. They are generally the same for any civil lawsuit, depending on the effects of a defendant’s negligence.
  • Punitive damages punish a defendant’s wrongdoing or intentional tort.

If you or a loved one experience a personal injury or other loss due to the negligence of another party, it is essential to know which types of damages could play a role in your future lawsuit, so you might want to consider speaking with a Nassau County personal injury lawyer on our team. The plaintiff has the burden of proving not only that the defendant is responsible for the plaintiff’s damages but also the extent of those damages.

Types of compensatory damages you can recover

Below is a list of damages you can recover after an accident caused by negligence.

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Medical expenses

If a defendant’s negligence leads to serious physical injuries, the plaintiff may require emergency medical treatment. The plaintiff in a civil lawsuit can claim compensation for any and all medical expenses resulting from a defendant’s negligence, such as:

  • Hospital stays
  • Rehabilitation
  • Prescription medication
  • Medical devices
  • Ongoing care
  • Surgeries
  • Physical therapy

Lost income

Many personal injuries require missing work for at least a few days during recovery. If a plaintiff suffered an injury due to negligence outside of work and cannot claim workers’ compensation, he or she may need to use sick days, vacation days, or accrued paid time off during recovery. A plaintiff can sue for wages and benefits lost during recovery from an injury caused by a negligent defendant.

In the event a defendant’s negligence prevents the plaintiff from working in the future, the plaintiff can sue for lost future earnings. The plaintiff’s attorney will likely consult a financial expert witness to provide the court with an estimate of the plaintiff’s lost future earnings.

Property damage

If a defendant’s negligence caused damage to the plaintiff’s personal property, the plaintiff can sue for the costs of repairing or replacing those items. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of personal injury lawsuits. A plaintiff in a car accident lawsuit may secure the compensation that covers his or her vehicle repairs or pays for a new car.

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Pain and suffering

It may sound difficult to quantify something like “pain and suffering” with a monetary figure. A jury will consider several factors in awarding pain and suffering damages. In general, the amount a plaintiff receives reflects his or her medical expenses, future prognosis, and testimony from expert witnesses.

For example, a broken arm may interfere with the plaintiff’s ability to do his or her job, require surgical treatment, and involve several months of recovery. The plaintiff could reasonably expect a large amount of compensation for such a claim. However, in a case involving a severed arm, the physical pain and psychological distress from such a catastrophic injury would likely result in more significant pain and suffering recovery.

Wrongful death damages

You can also recover damages if you lost your loved one in an accident. These compensatory damages might include, but are not limited to:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Burial plot
  • Embalming
  • Your loved one’s medical bills
  • Your loss of support and companionship

What to watch out for when calculating damages

It is important for a plaintiff to refrain from agreeing to a settlement that is contingent upon releasing the defendant from further liability for the claim until consulting an attorney with our firm.

In most cases, once a plaintiff accepts a settlement from a defendant, the plaintiff can no longer take legal action against that defendant for the same claim. Accepting a settlement too soon could lead to discovering more medical expenses later that the plaintiff could not expect a defendant to pay.

Adhering to the statute of limitations

After your damages have been reviewed and assessed, you only have a certain amount of time to request reimbursement for them should you file a lawsuit.

  • CVP §214 permits three years to file for personal injury.
  • EPT §5-4.1 allows claimants two years to file for wrongful death.
  • CVP214-A gives those hurt by medical malpractice two years and six months to file.

Abiding by the timeline is crucial. Failure to do so could result in the State of New York declaring your case null and void. However, your case might apply for exceptions. For example, if your minor child was harmed in an accident, the statute of limitations could be paused and begin on their 18th birthday.

What our injury lawyers can do for you

Trying to figure out which damages apply to your case and how much they’re worth is no easy task. Fortunately, our lawyers can take over this aspect of building your case, among many others, including:

  • Ordering a copy of the incident report
  • Compiling different forms of evidence that prove your damages
  • Naming the at-fault party or parties
  • Consulting expert witnesses
  • Communicating with the at-fault party’s insurer and representatives
  • Negotiating a settlement that appropriately compensates you
  • Complying with the corresponding statute of limitations
  • Representing you in trial

We can render these services on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t owe us anything until you are awarded your compensatory damages.

Connect with Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P., today

Every personal injury case is different and will have different types of compensation. If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries due to the negligence of another party and are unsure about which types of compensation may be available to you, contact Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. today.

You will receive a complimentary, no-obligation consultation when you call.

Filed Under: Personal Injury

For a free legal consultation, call 516-451-7900

Practice Areas

Our Long Island Injury Lawyers Have Experience In

Truck Accidents
Accidents on the highways can be lethal events
Bicycle Accidents
Riding a bicycle should not be unsafe
Car Accidents
If you have been seriously injured, call our firm
Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents often result in serious injury
Medical Malpractice
Medical mistakes can cause death ruin lives
Wrongful Death
When negligence results in the death of a loved me
Premises Liability
When hurt in a location, someone has to take responsibility
Brain Injury
Brain injuries can have long term severe effects
Dog Bites
Dog bites can cause serious injury


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