Types of Damages

Types Of Damages

Compensatory Damages

The word “compensate” means “to offset an error or undesirable effect.” Compensatory damages, therefore, are meant to make up for an injury sustained by an individual. There are two basic types of compensatory damages: actual and general. Actual damages reimburse an individual for funds paid out-of-pocket for medical treatments, lost wages, substitute transportation, property replacement or repair, and rehabilitation. An accident victim can also sue for general damages, which include estimates of loss not involving actual monetary expenditure. Mental anguish, disfigurement, future medical expenses, future lost wages, long-term pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of opportunity are all examples of general damages. If you have suffered injuries in an accident, it is vital to have a Moline Personal Injury Attorney review your case.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant for acts of gross negligence or intentional misconduct that cause personal injury to the plaintiff. They are not calculated by the extent of the actual injury, but rather are meant to prevent the defendant or others in similar situations from allowing or causing the same sort of accident to happen in the future. For example, if a person intentionally runs an automobile into a pedestrian, punitive damages may be appropriate.

Nominal Damages

In a case where the evidence of actual damages is slight, the courts may still choose to award the plaintiff a small sum of money to acknowledge that he or she was legally wronged by the defendant. These nominal damages may only be sought in intentional tort cases where a physical injury to the plaintiff is not required for a defendant to be found guilty. If the tort committed is battery, for example, the defendant may indeed have shoved the plaintiff in an offensive manner but without causing physical injury. The plaintiff may then be awarded a minimal amount of nominal damages.

Court Costs and Attorney’s Fees

If a personal injury case is settled in favor of the plaintiff, he or she may also have recourse to recover some of the expenses of taking the case to court. These court costs would include filing and process server fees, obtaining deposition and court transcripts, and payment to translators. There are some instances in which a plaintiff may also be able to recover attorney and expert witness fees, but this is not as common.

Consult with a Moline Personal Injury Attorney at VanDerGinst Law

If You Or A Loved One Has Suffered A Personal Injury That Seems To Have Been Someone Else’s Fault, Call VanDerGinst Law at 1-800-797-5391. The initial consultation is free of charge. If we agree to handle your injury case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if, and when, there is a money recovery for you. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. So please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation. Our team of personal injury lawyers is licensed to practice in Illinois, Iowa, and the federal courts. We have handled and can handle serious cases all over the country.  No matter where you reside VanDerGinst Law can help you.


The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.