If you sustain loss or injuries either on your person or on your property because of the wrongful conduct of another person, you may be entitled to compensation. This compensation is awarded in a damages claim through a civil suit. Damages are usually monetary awards designed to return the affected party to their original position, before the damage was done. Here are four types of damages that can be awarded in a civil suit.
- General Damages
These types of damages are awarded when a person incurs some specific, personal harm. The damage can be:
- Emotional distress caused by sexual harassment, physical harm, physical contact, or slander
- Pain and suffering caused by an injury, including scarring, aches, and temporary or permanent limitations on activity
- Defamation of character caused by the intentional communication of false information, which subsequently harms the reputation of a person or establishment. Also known as loss of reputation, this may include any untrue information that leads to decreased respect or regard of a person or establishment
- Loss of consortium or loss of companionship, when an injury or death resulting from the actions of another party deprives you of the benefits of a normal family relationship. For example, the inability to provide the same comfort, love and affection, or sexual relations
- Loss of mental or physical capacity, meaning a reduced or complete inability to take care of oneself or think clearly due to another person’s acts
- Disfigurement, when another party’s actions causes a permanent change in your body or appearance
It is often difficult to measure these types of damages. In most cases, the decision will depend on the nature of the loss or injury. Where it is particularly hard to make a determination, the judge may look at previous similar cases to award compensation.
2. Special Damages
Special Damages are awarded on losses that have a determinable value. They include payment orders to cover things such as medical expenses, personal or property damage, or even loss of income. Compensation for damage to personal property is generally based on the value of the item at the time of the damage, not the buying price. This basically means that you will be compensated for the used or depreciated value of the property, rather than for the actual market price.
3. Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are a special compensation that is awarded when the actions of the offending party are found to be especially harmful, egregious, and intentional. The main purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant and discourage future similar actions. These types of damages are typically not applicable in contract cases, unless the plaintiff can prove that the actions of the other party were done with the express intent to defraud.
4. Liquidated Damages
When you go into a contract with another party and one of you breaches the agreement, the offending party may have to pay the non-breaching party liquidated damages. This is usually done by estimating the presumed damages caused by breaching the contract. This type of compensation usually comes into play when it is difficult to measure the actual loss incurred by a breach of contract. However, the value of the liquidated damages must be reasonable; a disproportionate estimate may cause the claim to be dismissed.
Claiming compensation for damages incurred by another party is not a complicated process, but it helps to have an experienced attorney on your side. If you find yourself in an awkward situation, Tanika L. Finney can help you settle the matter. Contact us today at 334-246-4170.