There are some Legal Terms that you should know when dealing with damages in a lawsuit. Here are the main descriptions of damages:

General, Actual, Economic, or Compensatory Damages:  These awards serve to compensate a plaintive for what he or she has lost as a result of a defendant’s wrongful conduct, such as loss of present and future earnings, medical bills, and damage to property. These are finite awards that can be determined or extrapolated because there is a dollar amount associated with them. They can be quantified and readily proven to have occurred.

Non-Economic or Quality of Life Damages:  These damages compensate injuries and losses that are not easily quantified by a dollar amount, such as pain, suffering, permanent disability, blindness, loss of a limb, disfigurement, paralysis, trauma, loss of companionship, consortium (love of spouse), etc.. They are considered Quality of Life Damages, and are separate from economic damages.

Punitive or Exemplary Damages:   Monetary compensation awarded to an injured party that goes beyond that which is necessary to compensate the individual for injuries and losses and is intended to punish the defendant. It is also intended to deter the defendant and others from similar and future misconduct. These circumstances typically refer to a situation in which the defendant acted willfully, spitefully, fraudulently, or with complete disregard to the rights of the plaintiff.

Nominal Damages:  Those that consist of a small sum of money, often symbolic, awarded to a plaintiff who has sustained no substantial loss or injury but has suffered an infringement of rights. Included in this category are damages for which proof of loss cannot be submitted.

Damages Cap:  Limits the amount of non-economic damages that can be awarded for a case. For example, the federal government imposes a damages cap of $250,000 for medical malpractice claims. States determine their own damages caps. Florida’s medical malpractice caps are rather complicated.

If you have questions about these terms or any other questions, please call me at 386-258-3453. A consultation is always free. We’re here to help you through the legal process.