Types of Damages in Product Liability Cases

In our last article, we discussed the different types of product liability cases: (1) defective manufacturing; (2) defective design; and (3) failure-to-warn or instruct. Today, we want to talk about the types of damages the Provo lawyers at Howard, Lewis & Petersen have seen in various defective product cases. Why? Because it is important to estimate your damages (monetary amount of compensation) up front to know whether to proceed with prosecuting a claim or joining a class action lawsuit.


Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are meant to compensate the plaintiffs for injury or losses due to the accident. They are meant to “restore” the plaintiff to the condition he or she was in before the injury or loss occurred, by designating a dollar figure to each of the losses. There are two types of compensatory damages: Compensation for economic losses, and compensation for non-economic losses.

  • Economic Losses

Economic losses are so named because they refer to the money or property the plaintiff must replace in order to be “restored.” Many of the most common economic losses will include:

Medical expenses. Care for your accident injury and any future medical care necessary because of the accident.

Cost of disability. If your injury requires you to change your lifestyle, you may be compensated for those adjustments. For example, if you now need to hire someone to do household chores.

Loss of wages or earning potential. If you missed work because of your injury or own your own business, you may be entitled to profit losses. Also, if your injury will keep you from work in the future, you may be compensated for your lost earning potential.

Property replacement or repair. If you experienced property damage or destruction because of the defective product, you may be entitled to cost or repair or replacement.


  • Non-Economic Losses

Non-economic losses are meant to compensate for the pain, suffering, or loss of enjoyment in life resulting from your injury. While nothing can reverse the intangible effects of an accident, it is standard practice to offer monetary compensation in personal injury cases.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not exactly meant to restore the plaintiff, but in cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious and careless, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant. They are used to discourage similar incidents and fine the defendant.


Click here or call the Utah law firm of Howard, Lewis & Petersen today at (801) 373-6345 for more information or for personal injury representation.

Posted April 28th, 2014