Understanding Economic and Non-Economic Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury claims can be a complex and emotional experience for those involved. When pursuing compensation for injuries sustained due to another party’s negligence, it is important to understand the types of damages you may be entitled to. In legal terms, damages can be categorized into two primary categories: economic and non-economic damages. In this blog post, we will discuss what these terms mean and how they play a crucial role in personal injury cases.
Economic damages are the more straightforward and visible aspects of a personal injury claim. These damages are quantifiable and include:
- Medical Expenses: This category includes all costs related to your medical treatment including hospital bills, surgeries, medications, therapy and rehabilitation. It also includes any future medical expenses that are reasonably anticipated, such as ongoing therapy or surgeries.
- Lost Earnings: When you are injured, you may miss work, leading to a loss of income. Economic damages account for the wages or salary you would have earned had you not been injured. This may also cover future lost earnings if your injury impacts your ability to work in the long term.
- Property Damage: If your personal property, such as your vehicle, was damaged in the accident, you can seek compensation for the repair or replacement costs.
- Other Out-of-Pocket Expenses: This can include transportation costs to and from medical appointments, prescription costs and any other expenses directly related to your injury.
Economic damages are typically supported by concrete evidence such as medical bills, pay stubs and repair estimates. Calculating these damages is relatively straightforward because they are based on actual financial losses.
Non-economic damages are more challenging to calculate because they involve factors that do not have a specific dollar value attached. These damages are meant to compensate you for the emotional and nonphysical aspects of your injury including:
- Pain and Suffering: This category accounts for the physical pain and emotional distress you endured due to the injury. It considers factors like the severity of the injury, the duration of pain and its long-term impact on your quality of life.
- Emotional Distress: Beyond physical pain, personal injuries can lead to emotional trauma, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Non-economic damages aim to provide compensation for these psychological struggles.
- Loss of Consortium: If the injury affects your ability to maintain personal relationships or enjoy companionship with your spouse or family members, non-economic damages may be awarded to compensate for this loss.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: This category covers the limitations your injury places on your ability to enjoy hobbies, recreational activities or other aspects of life you once enjoyed.
Calculating non-economic damages is more complex because they lack specific receipts or invoices. Instead, lawyers or insurance companies typically consider the severity of the injury and its impact on your life when determining an appropriate amount.
Getting the help you need after an accident.
Personal injury cases involve seeking compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. To maximize your chances of obtaining fair compensation, it is crucial to work with a skilled attorney who can help you build a strong case.
Contact the personal injury attorneys at Berger and Green for a free consultation to evaluate your claim.