Bus Accidents: Types of Damages

Last updated on: August 20, 2015


In the context of a bus accident lawsuit, damages refers to the compensation award or judgment that a court enters in favor of the injured party (called the “plaintiff”). As is true in other types of personal injury cases, there are a variety of damages that can potentially be awarded in a successful bus accident case. A knowledgeable bus accident lawyer is often able to investigate your case and advise you of the damages you are likely to receive in your case if it is successful.

Common Types of Damages

Common types of damages awarded in a successful bus accident lawsuit include:

  • Compensatory damages: These damages seek to reimburse or compensate an injured plaintiff for expenses and monetary losses he or she actually received or is likely to receive. The most common type of compensatory damages is for medical bills and expenses. If an injury victim had to miss work for any length of time, these lost wages would also likely be compensated. Other reasons to award compensatory damages include lost future earnings (if the plaintiff was unable to return to his or her former job) and ongoing medical expenses. The price of your bus ticket would also be considered compensatory damages.
  • Noneconomic damages: Noneconomic damages are designed to compensate a person for intangible losses that are difficult to quantify and assign a dollar value. Mental pain and suffering or physical pain, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship are all types of noneconomic damages. By their very nature, these damages are difficult to prove and are very subjective. Some states have enacted “caps” or limits on the amount of noneconomic damages that a plaintiff can recover in a single lawsuit.
  • Punitive damages: Like the name implies, punitive damages are awarded to a plaintiff not so much to compensate him or her for some loss but rather as a means of punishing the at-fault party (the bus driver or his or her employer, for instance) for particularly bad conduct. Simply being negligent is not sufficient to justify punitive damages; instead, the at-fault party must have acted with some ill will or recklessness. A bus company that was repeatedly warned that one of its buses needed replacement and did nothing might be ordered to pay punitive damages if that bus is later involved in an accident. Conversely, it is unlikely that punitive damages would be awarded in a case where a bus driver accidentally sped over the speed limit and thereafter crashed. There has been an increased reluctance to allow large, multimillion-dollar punitive damages awards to stand absent some very serious and unusual circumstances.
  • Nominal damages: Nominal damages are not typically awarded in bus accident cases, but there is no reason why they cannot be. Nominal damages are usually awarded where it is important that the court rules in the plaintiff’s favor even if the plaintiff did not suffer much economic loss. In cases where nominal damages are awarded, they typically amount to only $1.

Damages Must be Proven

Part of your bus accident lawsuit requires you to prove what damages you suffered as well as the amount of damages you are seeking. At Zinda Law Group, we can examine the details of your case and advise you as to what damages you are likely to receive in a bus accident lawsuit. We work to obtain as much compensation for our injured clients as we possibly can. Set up a free consultation with our offices by calling (800) 863-5312 so that we can help you understand the likelihood of compensation in your case and what any damages award would look like.