Call (808) 537-2525

Compensatory vs. Punitive Damages

Compensatory vs. Punitive Damages

March 12, 2018

If you have been injured by the negligent or reckless actions of someone else, you may be entitled to compensatory and punitive damages. Our firm will analyze your situation and help you pursue the maximum amount of compensation available so you can recover and move forward. What is the difference between compensatory damages and punitive damages?

Here’s what you need to know.


Compensatory damages are designed to make the victim whole again after an injury. These damages are split into two forms: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are also known as special damages, while non-economic damages are known as general damages.

Economic damages. These damages are easy to calculate. They include medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, loss of the use of property, costs of replacement or repairs, rehabilitation costs, and other injury-related expenses. It is important to talk with your doctor to determine the amount of past, present, and future expected medical bills you will likely incur from your injuries. It is also important to get necessary information from your employer to determine the amount of lost income you will suffer due to your injuries.

Non-economic damages. In Hawaii, there are several types of non-economic damages available in personal injury cases. These include the loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, disfigurement, and other nonpecuniary losses. These are not easy to calculate, and insurance adjusters will sometimes use a multiplier to determine the amount of non-economic damages you may be entitled to. The severity of your injuries, the potential for ongoing medical consequences and symptoms, the amount of economic damages you suffered, and your age may influence the amount of compensation you may be able to receive for non-economic damages.


Punitive damages are not compensatory, because they do not try to make you whole again after an accident. They are designed to punish the defendant for gross negligence, criminal conduct, or reckless actions. For example, if you are injured by a drunk or aggressive driver, you may be able to receive punitive damages for your case.


For nearly 50 years, Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner has represented injured clients in Hawaii. If you or a loved one have been injured by someone else’s wrongful actions, our Honolulu personal injury attorneys will fight on your behalf to seek justice from those responsible. With our compassionate legal team, you will receive personal assistance every step of the way.

Contact our office today to discuss your case in a free consultation.

Wish To Discuss Your Case With Our Team

Please Call Our Office today