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Jury Award of $7 Million for Kentucky Plane Crash

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By Minara El-Rahman on December 11, 2009 2:30 PM

A jury award of $7 millon dollars has been awarded to the family of a Kentucky plane crash victim. This award was for compensatory damages. Whether punitive damages will be awarded remains to be seen.

AP reports that the family of Bryan Keith Woordward was awarded the amount after a jury found that pilots of the airline failed to notice that they were on the wrong runway when they attempted to take off from a runway that was too short in an airport in Lexington, Kentucky. It results in a Kentucky plane crash that killed 49 people.

Another trial will take place next year in order to determine if Comair was negligent. This trial could result in punitive damages. Though lawsuits do not typically separate these two into separate trials, plaintiffs often seek both compensatory and punitive damages. 

So, what's the difference between the two?

What Are Compensatory Damages?

Compensatory damages represents the actual harm suffered or loss incurred by the plaintiff.

To collect compensatory damages, the plaintiff must prove what the actual out-of-pocket losses are since damages cannot be presumed.

What are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are awards of money as punishment for a party's wrongful acts beyond any actual losses to the plaintiff.

When punitive damages are awarded, a judge is often sending a signal to the community that similar outrageous, malicious, or oppressive conduct will not be tolerated.

Under the laws of many states, punitive damages can be awarded only in certain types of lawsuits, such as personal injury and product liability actions, and not lawsuits to enforce employment contracts or business agreements.

For more information on damages and personal injury, please visit our Related Resources links.

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