Being injured in an accident caused by someone else can be a frustrating and overwhelming experience. If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know a lot about the legal process and what your rights are.

One of the first things you need to understand is the difference between punitive damages vs compensatory damages.

Punitive Damages Vs Compensatory Damages

An Overview of Damages

In personal injury cases, there are two types of damages victims for which victims may be awarded compensation: punitive and compensatory.

Damages are calculated based on several factors, including:

  • Severity of injuries
  • Negligence of the guilty party, such as in the case of drunk driving 
  • Whether the injuries are a result of that negligence

Punitive Damages Explained

Punitive damages are awarded in addition to any other damages that may be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant for his or her actions

For punitive damages to be awarded, the court must find that the defendant’s actions were intentional or showed a complete disregard for the safety of others.

Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim for his or her injuries; rather, they are meant to let the defendant and others know that such careless behavior will not be tolerated.

Compensatory Damages Explained

Compensatory damages, on the other hand, are meant to compensate the victim for his or her injuries, whether sustained in a car accident, the result of medical malpractice, or another accident.  

Special Damages

Special damages, also called economic damages, refers to compensation for tangible losses, including:

General Damages

General damages, sometimes referred to as non-economic, refer to compensation for intangible losses, including: 

Read our article in detail on special damages vs general damages

general damages

Determining How Much Your Case is Worth

The value of your case depends on several factors, including how much the other driver is at fault and how much they have to pay out under their own insurance policies.

In some cases, the value of your case will depend solely on the damages caused to your body or car. 

Document all symptoms and expenses you incur. If you have had a long-term condition, document all visits to your doctor. Also, keep a record of your medical bills and lost wages.

Limitations on Damages

Punitive Damages

According to Florida law, punitive damages cannot exceed 300% of the compensatory damages. The maximum amount a victim can receive in a punitive damage award is $500,000.

Compensatory Damages

In Florida, there is no damage limit for compensatory damages for personal injury cases. 

When You Need a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney

The bottom line is that if you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to both compensatory and punitive damages.

Experienced personal injury attorneys like the ones here at Denmon Pearlman can help you understand your legal rights and options and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation!