Proving Economic Damages
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What Are "Economic Damages" in a Personal Injury Case?
In a personal injury case, economic damages are those damages which are easily calculated and quantified. For most personal injury claims, this includes:
- Medical and hospital bills
- Property damages that can readily be ascertained
- Measurable business losses (i.e., lost profit)
- Loss of business opportunity
Other costs may also be involved, such as rehabilitation or therapy expenses, and costs of medicines or medical devices. This will vary with each case, but the idea is that economic damages can be proven using documents and other evidence.
How Are Economic Damages Proven?
Generally speaking, economic damages may be proven using supporting evidence such as:
- Medical documents and other paperwork
- Invoices (especially for mechanic’s repairs, etc.)
- Fair market value prices
- Records from similar personal injury lawsuits
In addition, other forms of evidence can be used to support an economic damages award figure. For instance, video footage or photographs of the scene of an accident can help verify the amount of damage involved in a car accident. In other cases, the testimony of an expert medical witness can help verify the extent of a physical injury.
Are There Any Limits to Economic Damages?
Economic damages are usually limited to what is reasonable and proportionate to the losses actually experienced by the plaintiff. Since economic damages are generally measurable, courts don’t usually impose limits on economic damages, so long as they can be proven and supported by evidence.
This is in contrast with other types of damages, such as punitive damages or medical malpractice damages. Such damages are often limited by strict formulas and calculations. However, each state will have different methods for calculating damages in general, whether they be economic damages or other types of damages.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Economic Damage Claims?
Proving economic damages can often be difficult to do, and may require the help of a qualified legal professional. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you need assistance in filing a personal injury lawsuit. Your attorney can help determine the extent of the damages available to you, and can help when it comes to proving and calculating economic damages awards.
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Last Modified: 02-10-2014 11:54 AM PST
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