What Damages Am I Entitled to If I Sue Someone?

Civil law ensures that if you are harmed by someone else, you will be repaid for the injury you suffer. This compensation is generally referred to as “damages.” However, unlike criminal law, civil law is invoked only when you file a lawsuit against the person or entity that injured you.

How do I recover damages in a lawsuit?
A lawsuit allows you to recover damages from a person who was required to act in a certain way (either by statute, contract, or a generally accepted standard of care) fails to do so and causes you monetary loss.

Broadly speaking, the law allows you to recover the actual financial cost of your harm. For example, if a construction company contracts with you to do work that they then fail to do, you may be able to recover the money you paid them or the money that it costs you to complete the work properly.  The fact that you spent time on the phone arguing with the project manager or picking up the contractor’s mismanaged debris typically is not something you can recover damages for – even though your time is valuable.

What are enhanced damages in a lawsuit? 
There are other categories of “enhanced” damages which are generally created by law.  For example, you may be entitled to punitive damages, which are designed to punish people who commit malevolent acts “wantonly, willfully, and deliberately” and deter similar future conduct by other parties.  North Carolina also permits enhanced damages for business practices that are deemed “unfair” or “deceptive”, depending on the circumstances.  “Double damages” can be recovered for employees who are harmed by an employer’s failure to comply with hourly wage and overtime requirements.

These types of enhanced or increased damages are the exception to the normal rule that in order to recover damages, you must provide evidence that you lost money, had to spend extra money, or failed to receive the money you were entitled to.

For additional information on the availability of damages in specific cases, contact Parton Law to speak with an attorney.