Difference Between Compensatory and Consortium Damages

Categories: Personal Injury Law

There is no way to plan for a personal injury. You may be going about your day-to-day routine, as you have so many times before, when tragedy strikes—and you’re seriously injured.

Personal injuries have a significant impact not only on victims but on loved ones as well. You may lose your ability to earn income to support your family. You may lack the ability to perform your usual duties around the house. Medical bills may pile up. Your life—and your family’s life—can be changed forever.

In the worst-case scenario, a loved one dies as a result of someone else’s negligence. The family is left grieving and in desperate financial straits following this wrongful death. 

When a personal injury changes your life forever, you can seek compensation for your losses. 

If you’ve been searching for a personal injury attorney, you may have seen the terms compensatory and consortium in relation to damages. What is the difference?

Compensatory Damages 

If you are the victim of a personal injury, you may seek compensatory damages, which means a financial award to cover you for losses and injuries caused by someone else’s negligence. A court may also award compensatory damages to loved ones to help ease the financial burden in the event of wrongful death.

When do you receive compensatory damages? 

Personal injury can cover a wide range of situations that may have an impact on you over the long-term. The damages resulting from personal injury may include physical, financial, and mental loss. 

Compensatory damages can never undo the effects of another’s negligence. However, if another person is responsible for your accident, compensatory damages can help you and your family recover financially. These amounts may cover items like medical bills, therapy costs, and lost wages. 

You may also file a claim for compensatory damages for the wrongful death of a family member if you believe someone else was at fault. The money will not bring your loved one back or make up for the loss, but it may help your family avoid serious financial repercussions in addition to your emotional devastation. 

The difference between special and general damages

Compensatory damages fall into two different categories: special damages and general damages. What’s the difference?

Special damages are the easy-to-gather costs of your personal injury. These items are simple to figure out since they typically come with some sort of documentation. They include:

  • Medical bills
  • Bills for physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Prescription medication costs
  • Costs of medical devices 
  • Bills for in-home services
  • Reimbursement for lost income
  • Bills to repair or replace damaged property

General damages, on the other hand, are somewhat tougher to figure out and for which to determine a financial value. While they may not come with receipts, these factors come at a significant cost and deserve compensation. They include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Inconvenience
  • Mental anguish
  • Physical disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of opportunity

If you are the victim of a personal injury, you will likely feel the financial impact sooner rather than later. Personal injury cases can take some time to go through the courts, so you should contact a lawyer for assistance as soon as possible.

Claims that receive compensatory damages 

When you think of compensatory damages for personal injury cases caused by someone else’s negligence, you probably think of two of the most common types: car accidents and slip and fall injuries. A variety of situations may result in personal injury:

  • Car accident claims – Since Florida is a no-fault state, your own insurance company will cover your injuries. However, if your injuries are considered permanent or if your medical costs exceed $10,000, you can pursue a personal injury case.
  • Slip and fall injuries – If you receive an injury in a slip and fall incident at a business, and that business knew, or should have known, about the hazard, you can seek compensation.
  • Medical negligence – If you receive an injury due to the negligence of a physician or another healthcare professional, you may file a personal injury suit for medical malpractice.
  • Dog bites – Attacks from man’s best friend can be extremely serious. If you are the victim of a dog bite, you can seek compensation from the owner’s homeowner’s insurance or through a lawsuit.
  • Injuries caused by a defective or damaged product – If you receive an injury through use of a product that does not perform as promised, you may be compensated for your injuries.

Your claim for compensatory damages for any of these types of personal injuries may become further complicated if you qualify as an eggshell plaintiff—that is, if the incident worsens a pre-existing condition. If this is the case, a personal injury lawyer can help with your concerns.

Consortium Damages 

The other type of damages involved in a personal injury case are consortium damages, which are losses endured by a husband, wife, or another family member of a victim who has been severely injured or killed as a result of another person’s negligence. 

You may seek consortium damages if you are a non-injured spouse or family member. Consortium damages cover the negative impact in a number of different situations.

Quality of relationship 

This category refers to the loss of intimacy, love, and emotional support in a marriage. Quality of relationship losses apply to wrongful death and serious personal injury. The thinking behind compensation for loss of quality of the relationship is that not only did the victim suffer, but you, as the survivor, are suffering as well.

Loss of services the victim provided

This category applies to the financial value of things your loved one did around the house. It may include chores, yard work, and childcare. Your family member’s injury or death does not mean these things no longer need to be done. It likely means you will have to pay someone else to perform these tasks.

Loss of support by the victim

This category applies to things you can’t put a price tag on like companionship, affection, comfort, and society. If your loved one hadn’t been seriously injured or killed, he or she would have been able to act as your better half. Without this person, you are missing out on significant and emotionally valuable parts of your life.

Contact Us and Demand More®

If you or a family member have been the victim of a personal injury in Palm Beach County, FL, I encourage you to contact me, Brian D. Guralnick, to discuss your legal rights. To learn how the injury team at Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers can help you Demand More® for your injuries, please call now. 

Disclaimer:  You should not take any information in this blog as legal advice in any situation. If you need expertise on a specific issue, contact a qualified personal injury attorney.