The financial and emotional costs of a serious accident can be difficult to endure. These costs are often too much for accident victims to deal with on their own. Because of this, they may find it necessary to file a claim for damages against the at-fault party.
When an accident victim claims damages, they are typically requesting compensation for financial losses related to the accident. However, a serious accident can trigger economic damages and non-economic damages.
Types of Damages Available in Personal Injury Cases
Damages refer to the costs and losses someone incurs after a personal injury. In personal injury cases, you can receive three types of damages: economic damages, non-economic damages.
- Economic damages: these represent a victim’s financial losses due to an injury. Things like your medical bills, lost wages from missing work, and property damage all fall under the umbrella of economic damages.
- Non-economic damages: these refer to the indirect, emotional costs of an accident. Things like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life fall under the umbrella of non-economic damages.
- Punitive damages: these damages punish the responsible party for their conduct. Punitive damages are in addition to any economic or non-economic damages awarded. However, they must be proved by clear and convincing evidence. While rare, punitive damages can result in high-value awards.
The facts of your case will determine what type of compensation you are eligible for. You might be eligible for all three types of damages, depending on the circumstances.
It is important to have an attorney review your case to understand the value of your damages.
Common Types of Non-Economic Damages
While much of the focus in personal injury claims is on economic damages, injury victims can also recover non-economic damages.
Economic damages are financial in nature. Non-economic damages are personal and emotional in nature. Although they are hard to value, victims should still receive compensation for these losses.
Non-economic damages compensate for harms such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Non-economic damages are based on injuries that result in life-altering side effects for an injury victim. These damages can be significant when they are awarded, but they are not available for all cases. They are typically more common in cases involving serious injury, which naturally produce greater losses.
How Courts Determine the Proper Amount of Non-Economic Damages
When an injury victim claims non-economic damages, a court or insurance company will decide if they should be awarded. If it is determined that non-economic damages should be awarded, then the question becomes how much is appropriate to compensate the injured party.
Non-economic damages can be awarded when:
- The accident victim endured significant pain and suffering due to their injuries
- The accident victim can’t enjoy time with his children because of their injuries
- The accident victim can’t enjoy his daily activities because of their injuries
- The accident victim has suffered a major inconvenience because of their injuries
Non-economic damages can be difficult to calculate. One can’t put a price tag on pain and suffering. Because of this, courts will use various formulas to determine how much non-economic damages someone can be eligible for.
One such formula is the multiplier method. The multiplier method uses an accident victim’s economic damages as a frame of reference. Parties using the multiplier method will assign a number between 1.5 to 5 to the victim’s injuries, based on their severity. Then, the parties will multiply that number by the total economic damages to arrive at a figure for non-economic damages.
If you have questions about the potential of non-economic damages for your case, then make sure your case is professionally evaluated.
How Do I Know If I Qualify for Non-Economic Damages?
The most obvious way to determine if you qualify for non-economic damages is to look at the long-term effects of your injury. If your accident has caused you long-term physical pain and emotional suffering, you might qualify for non-economic damages.
A personal injury attorney will be the best judge of whether your case qualifies for non-economic damages. An attorney will calculate all your damages after an accident, working with experts when necessary. They can ensure you leave nothing on the table after your injury.