Compensatory Damages Versus Punitive Damages in Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Nicole Winch | March 3, 2020
Deciding whether to file a mesothelioma lawsuit is a weighty choice, and it’s understandable to sway back and forth.
The benefits of filing a legal claim are massive and plentiful: paying for treatment, recovering lost wages and regaining financial stability for you and your family.
Don’t expect mesothelioma compensation to come to you in one lump sum. If your case goes to trial, then you’ll hope for a favorable verdict. If you receive one, then you’ll most likely get two forms of damages from the asbestos company responsible for your mesothelioma.
The two damages are called compensatory damages and punitive damages. Here are the main differences between the two legal terms.
What Does Compensatory Damages Mean?
Mesothelioma patients experience physical, emotional and financial loss after their diagnosis. Compensatory damages offer retribution for these struggles.
These damages are awarded to the plaintiff as recompense for their mesothelioma. The main purpose of compensatory damages is to restore the injured person back to the place that they were in before any harm was done.
There are two subtypes of compensatory damages that you, as a mesothelioma victim, may receive: special damages and general damages.
Special damages are for measurable losses. These include medical expenses, loss of wages and earnings (both past and future), and more negative financial results caused by your disease.
General damages are awarded when losses are not easily quantifiable or identifiable through monetary calculations. These damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of companionship.
As a mesothelioma patient, the best way to get the largest compensatory damages amount possible is by hiring an experienced lawyer. The lawyers at Bullock Campbell Bullock & Harris have helped thousands of clients recover the much-needed funds to cover treatment costs as well as everyday living expenses.
What Does Punitive Damages Mean?
The companies responsible for your asbestos exposure should be punished for your diagnosis. They knowingly exposed their employees to this toxic substance and hid the dangers for years. Their actions were immoral, and they should not pass without further reprimand. Punitive damages offer that reprimand.
When you file a personal injury claim, you might receive punitive damages along with compensatory damages. Punitive damages are used to punish the guilty party for the negligent acts committed.
“These types of damages are usually only determined at trial and vary by state,” said Craig Bullock, a partner at BCBH Law.
When the defendant pays punitive damages, the hope is that they and other companies will refrain from partaking in the same reckless business behaviors again.
In some states, there may be a limit on the amount of punitive damages awarded in a case. Some states restrict it to three times the compensatory damages amount, which is always issued first. Other states may limit these damages in a more general way — to an “acceptable” amount based on the entire case value.
The lawyers at BCBH Law want you and your family to know that there are compensation options available. We also want you to understand how mesothelioma compensation works — and the process behind lawsuits and verdicts.
Our experienced lawyers can help you navigate the case process and build an indisputable case as to why you deserve financial help. Contact our law firm today to learn more why we are experts in mesothelioma legal practice.
- Constitutional Limitations on Punitive Damages: Ambiguous Effects and Inconsistent Justifications Retrieved from: https://law.vanderbilt.edu/phd/students/files/McMichael_VLR-Note.pdf. Accessed: 03/02/20.
- Decisionmaking About General Damages: A Comparison of Jurors, Judges, and Lawyers Retrieved from: https://repository.law.umich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2816&context=mlr. Accessed: 03/02/20.