The Difference Between Compensatory and Punitive Damages

What are Damages in Personal Injury

When a personal injury lawsuit is filed, the party injured must prove that the defendant was negligent in some way that caused injury to them, the claimant.

Once evidence and testimony is collected, the claimant should be able to establish guilt.

If the negligence was especially egregious, the defendant may be able to seek punitive damages in addition to the already compensatory damages they were going to get originally.


Punitive is a type compensation that are awarded to the defendant in order to punish the defendant for their negligent behavior. In most cases of filing for punitive damage compensation, the defendant is usually a business or corporation instead of an individual.

This kind of compensation is rare, but in cases where it has been awarded, a corporation that had a history of personal injury lawsuits against them injured the claimant, but they failed to fix the problem.

These kinds of damages are usually argued by opponents as awarding only one individual excessively, whereas others that were injured in the past may have only received minimal compensation.

They are also criticized for costing the defendant millions of dollars, which doesn’t benefit the public since it only falls into the hands of that one individual.


These kinds of damages are much more common, and covers all losses the claimant incurred as a result of the accident.

These losses can include: medical expenses in the present and future, lost wages in the present and future, lost profits, damage to property, pain and suffering, damaged reputation, loss of friends, etc.

These damages are meant to put the claimant back in the position that they were before the accident occurred.

Need Help with a Potential Claim?

At Thrush Law Group, our Tucson personal injury attorneys will protect your rights in your personal injury case and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve for damages.