Compensatory vs. Punitive Damages: What’s The Difference?

12/6/2022 By webmaster Read in about 3 minutes

​If you have been injured in an accident, you may be eligible for several types of compensation.

But without an understanding of the damages they deserve, many accident victims settle for less. That’s why our personal injury lawyers have provided this helpful guide that details the difference between compensatory and punitive damages. 

To learn more or to schedule your free initial consultation, contact the Mike Hostilo Law Firm today! Attorney Mike Hostilo and our trusted team are standing by, eager to pursue justice on your behalf. 

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are intended to reimburse accident victims for their losses, both economic and non-economic. Economic damages typically include medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages. Non-economic damages are more challenging to quantify, often including compensation for emotional trauma, pain and suffering, etc. Put simply, compensatory damages are awarded in nearly all personal injury cases, with the primary goal of restoring the injured party’s financial standing to pre-accident status.

Punitive Damages 

Punitive damages are awarded much less frequently, only when the court deems the defendant’s actions particularly reckless or intentionally malicious. These damages are meant to punish the at-fault party for their negligence and to deter others from acting similarly.

The Difference 

The damages’ intent is the differentiating factor between the two. Compensatory damages are directed toward the injured party, intended to provide reimbursement for losses. Punitive damages, in sharp contrast, are aimed at the defendant and serve as punishment for their gross negligence. For instance, punitive damages may be awarded for cases involving drunk driving or medical malpractice.

Choose Mike Hostilo Law Firm Today! 

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, recovering maximum compensation requires an experienced attorney in your corner. For trusted legal advice for an accident claim, Mike Hostilo Law Firm can help. 

Our personal injury attorneys have a reputation for success – with the track record of results to back it up. Schedule your initial free consultation today to get started!

We are proud to serve accident victims in the following areas: 


Albany, GA

Atlanta, GA

Augusta, GA

Columbus, GA

Macon, GA

(Park of Commerce) Savannah, GA

(Abercorn) Savannah, GA

Statesboro, GA 


Aiken, SC

Beaufort, SC 

North Charleston, SC 


Phenix City, AL

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