Personal Injury Lawyer

One of the most common questions that people who are thinking of filing a medical malpractice case have is what kinds of damages they can recover. When you file, you will choose certain damages to claim. These are the things that you are asking compensation for. Your attorney will help you include the right claims in your lawsuit, but it is helpful to have a good understanding of what damages are and how they work. This guide will go over the three types of damages.

Special Compensatory Damages

The most basic type of damages is special compensatory damages. These correspond to losses with a set monetary value. If you are able to pinpoint the exact dollar value you lost as a result of your injury, it falls into this category. If these claims are accepted, you will receive compensation for them at the exact amount of money you lost. Examples of special compensatory damages include:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical expenses
  • Loss of wages
  • Loss of earning ability
  • Cost of medicine or medical equipment

General Compensatory Damages

Another type of damages is general compensatory damages. These correspond to losses without a set monetary value. Essentially, this type of suffering is something that hurt you in ways that are not financial. When you claim one of these types of damages, you do not get to decide how much they are worth. 

Determining their value will be up to the judge. Examples of general compensatory damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of mobility or physical abilities
  • Emotional or mental distress
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Punitive Damages

The final category of damages is completely different from the first two. Punitive damages do not serve to compensate the victim at all. Instead, they are meant to act as a punishment for the defendant. These types of damages are usually only assigned when the defendant acted especially irresponsibly, acted maliciously, or the judge decides the amount of other damages is not enough of a punishment for the incident.

Punitive damages are assigned by the judge, and no one else in the courtroom has the ability to control whether or not punitive damages are assigned or how much the punitive damages are worth. Your attorney might be able to make a recommendation for punitive damages, though. Remember, it is always a good idea to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer, like a medical malpractice lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT, if there is anything about your case that you do not fully understand.



Thanks to Rasmussen & Miner for their insight into the different kinds of damages that can be recovered in a medical malpractice lawsuit.