Compensatory damages are designed to give you enough money to cover the actual amount of the injury or loss you suffered. The two main types of compensatory damages are actual and general. Actual damages cover the cost of replacing what was lost and nothing more.
Actual compensatory damages include:
- Medical and hospital bills
- Medical treatments
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Physical therapy
- Ambulance expenses
- Medicine and prescription drugs
- Nursing home care
- Domestic services
- Medical equipment
- Lost wages or lost employment income
- Increased living expenses
- Property replacement or repair
To receive actual compensatory damages, you must prove that the losses you suffered can be assigned a monetary value that a judge or jury can determine.
Material damages refers to damage caused to your personal property. For example, in a road traffic accident, the material damage would be the damage to your car.
An accident victim can also receive compensation for general damages. General damages include estimates of loss that don’t involve monetary expenditure, including:
- Mental suffering
- Future medical expenses
- Future lost wages
- Long-term physical pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of opportunity
Compensatory damages are the most common type of damage awards in medical malpractice lawsuits, usually for medical bills, hospital bills, rehabilitation expenses, and compensation for lost earnings. Compensatory damages for things like the value of lost wages can be difficult to assess because they will be much higher for some people than for others.
Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant’s behavior.
Fatal Injury Damages
Fatal injury damages are claimed when somebody dies because of the wrongful acts of another person. The deceased person’s dependants bring a fatal accident claim against that wrongdoer.
Part 4 of the Civil Liability Act, 1961 states that only one claim may be made against the same person in relation to the death, so it must be made on behalf of all the deceased’s dependants. It is a difficult aspect to consider when you are suffering through a trauma, but you will need to gather evidence of the damage caused. This usually means getting medical records or a report from a medical practitioner supporting the claim.
Making a fatal injury claim
A fatal accident claim can only be brought by those who are dependent on the deceased for financial support, related to them, and financially and emotionally damaged by the fatal accident.
If the deceased person is discovered to have contributed to their own death, the court will make a deduction due to contributory negligence.
Dependents usually include:
- Partner/spouse or former partner/spouse
Damages are assessed under the following headings:
- Loss of services provided by the deceased
- The loss of financial dependency since the accident
- Loss of future dependency before retirement
- A loss of future financial dependency following retirement
- Accelerated value of deductible assets passing on death.
- The offender may also be ordered to pay you a settlement amount for the ordeal you had to endure.
The legislation permits a claim to be brought for:
- Financial losses
- Funeral expenses
- Mental distress