Compensation is a general term that refers to the money paid by someone who caused an injury (or other damages) to the person who suffered it. This money can offset the costs and impacts of the injury, but in many cases it can never truly make up for it.
Compensation is at the heart of our how our law system handles civil cases. It’s how a reckless or careless person is held accountable, and it’s also how our society tries to alleviate outcome for the victims or those who were injured by such carelessness.
How Does Compensation Work in a Lawsuit?
Since compensation is money paid for damages, how the compensation works depends on what kinds of damages there were. The damages suffered by a person who was prescribed a dangerous drug will be very different than the damages suffered by someone whose car was vandalized.
In general, however, damages fall into two main groups:
1. Financial damages (things that cost money to fix or undo)
This is also known as “special damages.” It can include any kind of financial loss that the victim suffered, but common examples include car repair bills, hospital bills, lost earnings, or the actual loss of money if a person was defrauded in some way.
These damages are easy to calculate because they have a real dollar cost. And, when the damages are paid to the victim, it truly is compensation — the money they are given replaces the money they lost, and “makes them whole” in many ways.
2. Other types of losses (things that money can never fix)
The most common example here is a painful injury. Money may be able to pay for the hospital costs, but it doesn’t take away the pain and discomfort. And if the injury will have permanent effects, money will never reverse that.
But our courts still use money as compensation for these kinds of damages (sometimes known as “general damages”). The reasoning is that the victim still deserves some kind of compensation to make up for it, even if it can never actually be undone.
Many cases involve both kinds of damages — and you can receive financial compensation for both.
Does Compensation Truly “Compensate” the Victim?
As you can see, money can fix some situations but it can’t fix others. And even when it can, the victim still has to put substantial time, stress and worry into the injury. Sadly, there is no “undo” button when bad things happen.
That’s why, at John Foy & Associates, we usually don’t use the word “compensation.” It’s a word that implies everything was made up for and now everyone’s fine — which we know isn’t always the case. We generally refer to compensation as a financial recovery, because that’s what it is: you were able to recover money for the situation.
At the same time, we’ve seen how powerfully money compensation can change the life of someone who was wronged. It doesn’t just pay for hospital bills; it may help you start a stable new life even after a severe injury. Or it can simply help hold your home and family together while you’re dealing with the aftermath.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
If you’ve been injured, find out what kind of compensation you’re entitled to. Our personal injury lawyers will give you a FREE consultation — and get you answers. Call 404-400-4000, or complete the form to your right to get started today with a free consultation.