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If you are injured due to another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to recover compensation. The type of compensation you are awarded depends on a number of different factors. Read on to learn more about the types of compensation in New Jersey and when punitive damages come into play.

Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages

The most common types of compensation awarded in personal injury cases are economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to the financial damages brought on by your accident. For example, you may have to pay for physical therapy, in-home care, and expensive hospital bills. If you were injured due to another party’s negligence, this responsibility should not fall on your shoulders. Lost wages and property damage may also fall under this category. These damages are quantifiable, meaning you had to spend a certain amount of money on them and can provide receipts. On the other hand, non-economic damages are a little more difficult to determine. This is because they are not easily quantified. These damages refer to the physical and emotional burdens you face as a result of your injury. For example, you may recover compensation for things like loss of independence, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering. In some rare cases, you will also be awarded punitive damages.

What Are Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not meant to award the injured party, but rather to punish the negligent party. The goal of punitive damages is to deter the defendant from engaging in negligent behavior in the future.

When Are Punitive? Damages Awarded

Punitive damages are not involved in every personal injury case. In fact, they are only awarded in cases involving gross negligence. For example, if you slip and fall on ice in front of someone’s house, you may recover compensation, but not punitive damages. This is because the homeowner failed to properly maintain his property, but his actions were not outrageous or malicious. A case that may involve punitive damages is a drunk driving case in which the plaintiff was permanently injured or killed. This is an example of gross negligence, and it is possible to be awarded punitive damages.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a personal injury accident, contact our firm today to discuss your case.


Here at McNerney & McAuliffe, we understand how confusing certain legal matters can be, which is why we are here to provide clients from all walks of life with the experienced, compassionate legal guidance they need. If you require the legal assistance of an attorney to help you through a criminal law matter, personal injury matter, family law matter, or otherwise, you can turn to us. Contact McNerney & McAuliffe today to learn more about what we can do for you.

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