Compensatory Damages in a Personal Injury Case

While personal injury claims may ask for punitive and compensatory damages, compensatory damages are most commonly awarded. As the name implies, these damages compensate the plaintiff for injury sustained or property lost. However, compensatory claims cover an array of damages occurring at the time of the accident and losses suffered because of it.

Property Loss

The most common type of damage claim is property loss, which, if a car accident, would include the cost of necessary repairs and coverage of a deductible. However, property loss may comprise items in the car at the time of the accident. For instance, if the wreck destroyed your laptop in the trunk or backseat, you can likely seek damages to cover its replacement.

Medical Expenses

The clearest compensatory claim is medical expenses. If the accident caused no significant injuries, many plaintiffs wouldn’t even bother with a trial. However, car accidents can lead to life-altering injuries, some which will heal and others that permanently disfigure.

Pain and Suffering

While not every accident causes lifelong handicaps, you still may suffer severe pain and temporary discomfort. If you can prove that the medical pain and suffering results from the collision, then you may deserve compensation; however, there must be a link between the car accident and the discomfort or injury.

Emotional Distress

While often connected to pain and suffering damages, emotional distress is an interesting claim. In serious accidents, resulting in severe injury, some people suffer more than physical symptoms and ailments. For some, the accident is a significant psychological trauma, causing sleep loss, anxiety and irrational fear. In these instances, a judge or jury may attribute a dollar amount to psychological suffering.


Another form of compensatory damages is the loss of income. If the personal injury plaintiff suffered injuries, resulting in time away from work and a loss of income, a jury might find the defendant liable for those losses.

Loss of Consortium and Enjoyment

The phrase loss of consortium refers to the changes in the plaintiff’s relationships because of the accident. The phrase loss of enjoyment relates to changes in day-to-day living. Both losses attribute the injuries caused in the collision with a significant change in lifestyle, which requires compensation.

Loss of Employment

If an injury forces the plaintiff to switch careers or worse yet eliminates the possibility of employment, then they can seek damages for future lost wages. However, they will need to show the extent of the injury through medical records and expert testimony.

Compensatory damages encompass an array of potential losses, but not all the above examples will pertain to your case. To understand how compensatory losses may relate to your situation, contact a personal injury lawyer.