Types of Tort Law Damages
Louisiana law provides for two types of damages, compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages attempt to place the injured party in the position he would have been in had the accident not occurred. Punitive damages are meant to punish the person responsible for the accident and to deter his conduct.
Louisiana law provides for punitive damages in two limited situations 1) where an intoxicated defendant operated a motor vehicle and caused injuries to another person; and 2) where a defendant perpetrator engages in criminal sexual activity with a victim less than seventeen years old.
Compensatory damages are comprised of two categories of damages, general and special damages. Special damages are generally quantifiable, for example, an incurred medical expense. General damages, on the other hand, are not easily quantifiable and include pain and suffering, mental anguish and future lost wages.
The injured person may recover past and future medical expenses caused by the defendant as well as past wages, future wages and loss of earning capacity. The main categories of general damages an injured person may recover are pain and suffering , mental distress, scarring or disfigurement and loss of enjoyment of life. Also, certain family members (spouse and children, parents, siblings or grandparents) may recover for the "loss of consortium" (basically, loss of love, companionship and affection, uncompensated household services, and a spouses impairment of sexual relations) they suffer as a result of injury to another family member.
A tort victim may also recover for damage to his property. Generally the plaintiff may recover the fair market value of the property, loss of use, and in certain situations even mental anguish . Plaintiffs generally are awarded interest from the date he files his lawsuit and may not recover attorney fees unless provided for in a statute or contract.
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