Last time, we mentioned that the type of damages available in a premises liability case depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Damages, we noted, comes in several varieties, including those dealing with economic losses and non-economic losses, as well punitive damages.
Compensatory damages, sometimes called actual damages, relate to losses that are easily translated into monetary compensation. Such damages include things like lost wages, diminished earning capacity, medical expenses, and similar sorts of damages. Non-economic damages cover losses that are not easily monetized, such as pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. Punitive damages are a category all their own.
While compensatory damages have the aim of repaying the accident victim for his or her injuries and losses, punitive damages are aimed at punishing the defendant in a civil context. Punitive damages are not available in ordinary cases, but only in cases involving particularly egregious conduct. Ordinary negligence does not make an accident victim entitled to punitive damages, but only conduct involving a high degree of moral culpability. Such damages are not ordinarily going to be awarded in premises liability cases, though it is possible.