When the Damage is Done: Understanding Compensatory and Punitive Damages in Missouri

When in court for a personal injury lawsuit, there are two main ‘types’ of damages that the courts can award: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Missouri law has strict regulations regarding how it is determined, whether one or both of these two types of damages are awarded, and how much will be awarded. Understanding what’s behind these two damages can help you to get a better idea of what you can expect in your case.

What Are Compensatory Damages?

Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the plaintiff for any losses that they incurred due to the injuries they sustained. There are many types of compensatory damages that the courts can consider, including the following:

  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages
  • Property Damage
  • Cost of Future Healthcare Bills
  • Household Expenses
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Companionship

There are many other examples as well. These types of damages can apply to the individual who was injured, to his/her spouse, or to their surviving family in the event of a wrongful death case. The goal of compensatory damages is to help “make whole” those who were injured.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages, on the other hand, are meant to punish the party that was responsible for the injuries. Judges are able to determine whether or not the jury is permitted to consider punitive damages as part of their decision. If the judge feels that there is sufficient evidence to show that the injuries that the plaintiff experienced were not only caused by the defendant’s negligence, but also that the defendant showed a conscious disregard for the safety of others a claim for such damages can be brought.

This requires a much higher burden of proof, which is why punitive damages are not always an option in personal injury cases. If your case warrants this type of damages, a competent attorney will present a convincing argument to the judge regarding why they should allow the jury to consider them. They will also attempt to show the jury why issuing punitive damages is the right option in your case.

Experience Is Essential | We Can Help

If you are considering any type of personal injury lawsuit, you want to make sure you have an experienced attorney who is ready to fight for you. Contact Ryan R. Cox & Associates to go over the facts surrounding your case and learn how we can help you. We offer free consultations to all new clients, and you won’t pay a thing unless we win your case, so don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

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Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC

Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC is a litigation law firm that represents individuals and families in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Missouri. We help people who have been injured in all types of accidents—including car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and much more. Whether your injury is something that can cause long-term issues like a brain injury or spinal cord injury, or it is something you’ll likely make a full recovery from, we are here to help.

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