Economic damages are those losses that may be readily measured and quantified in a personal injury case. They are the losses for which monetary damages can be awarded as compensation. Economic damages are meant to restore the victim’s financial stability in a personal injury claim.
Economic losses for the majority of personal injury claims include the following:
- Each and every charge for medical care related to the injuries sustained in the incident at issue in the case, including:
- ER visits and other urgent care expenses;
- Ambulatory care;
- Doctor visits;
- Prescription drugs and medications;
- Physical treatment
- X-rays and further diagnostic procedures;
- Lab work
- travel expenses for medical appointments;
- Easily measurable property harm, such as the cost of repairing or returning a piece of property to its pre-accident state;
- The victim’s lost wages or salary as a result of being unable to work owing to their injuries or unable to go to work due to medical visits;
- Upcoming lost earnings
- Potential medical care costs, should they become necessary after the experiment has ended;
- The financial loss brought on by a permanent handicap;
- Business losses that can be measured, such as lost profits;
- Business opportunity lost.
There may also be other fees, such as those related to treatment or rehabilitation costs and the price of medical equipment. Although each case will be different, the general notion is that economic damages can be demonstrated by records, the testimony of those who have firsthand knowledge of the incident, and other evidence.
How Are Economic Losses Established?
Generally speaking, the following types of evidence can be used to demonstrate economic damages:
- Receipts and other payment data;
- Medical records that detail an injury’s extent and the level of care needed to treat it;
- Estimates for the cost of fixing the car that demonstrate how much damage there is;
- Invoices, particularly for auto body shops and mechanics, etc.
- Insurance statements that reveal the cost of medical care;
- The evidence of experts regarding other issues and the fair market value of lost items.
In a personal injury trial, testimony from individuals with firsthand knowledge of the events at issue is frequently utilized in addition to documents. For instance, a medical professional who treated the victim may be asked to provide their testimony regarding the severity of their injuries.
It may be necessary to use an expert’s testimony to support a number of claims. For instance, an expert may be required to discuss the precise nature of the loss, how it might influence the victim’s capacity to earn a living in the future, and how the loss can be measured if the victim loses all or part of their earning capacity due to injuries received in an accident. The specialist could be an economist.
Alternatively, a victim might have missed work due to their wounds, and by the time of the trial, they might not have fully recovered. They might anticipate missing work in the future. In order to assign a monetary value to losses that could continue into the future, a specialist may be required.
Additional types of evidence may also support the cash value of an award of economic damages for the plaintiff. Videos and pictures of the accident scene, for instance, might help confirm the damage caused by a car collision. In other situations, the testimony of a medical expert witness can be used to demonstrate the severity of the physical damage, the course of treatment, and the associated costs. A victim could make a movie to demonstrate how a serious or disabling injury has affected their daily activities.
Are Economic Damages Subject to Any Limitations?
Economic damages are typically only allowed to the extent that they are reasonable and proportionate to the losses that the victim has actually endured. Courts often do not set limits on economic losses as long as they are supported by reliable evidence because they are typically quantifiable.
In contrast, punitive damages or damages for pain and suffering are other sorts of damages. Such damages are frequently constrained by rigid rules or restrictions. However, the general methodologies for determining damages vary depending on the state. Many jurisdictions have restrictions or dollar limits for pain and suffering and punitive penalties in medical malpractice claims.
Compared to ceilings on damages in general personal injury claims, more states place limits on damages in medical malpractice cases. In both kinds of circumstances, some states do, however, set caps. In some states, the amount of damages that can be recovered for medical negligence lawsuits is still uncapped.
Frequently, only non-economic damages, not economic damages, are covered by the cap. Attorney fees in situations of medical malpractice are likewise capped in several states.
What Claim Types Typically Invoke Economic Damage?
Economic damage disputes are frequent in personal injury cases. Economic damages, such as those related to medical expenses, property damage, etc., are damages that can be assessed with a reasonable level of confidence. Economic harm conflicts can occur over a variety of topics, despite the fact that they are typically calculable.
The following are a few frequent economic harm disputes:
- Conflicts involving insurance issues
- Disagreements about how much property was damaged in a personal injury incident
- Any disputes relating to physical injuries
- Pre-existing medical condition issues (a pre-existing injury can reduce a damages award)
- Insurance-related litigation involving policies and corporations
- Plaintiff’s carelessness (contributory or comparative negligence can also reduce a damages award)
Last but not least, disagreements over economic damage awards frequently center on how damages are classified. There may be disagreements about whether some damages should be considered economic or punitive, for example. Punitive damages might not always be permitted, which may have an impact on the overall award.
How Are Disputes Over Economic Damage Resolved?
Economic harm disputes are frequently somewhat complex and challenging to settle. An evaluation of the damage-related evidence can be used to settle disputes. For instance, to ascertain how much the plaintiff spent on injuries, the court may examine records like invoices and receipts. The court may also take into account witness declarations and testimony.
Particularly, the estimation of economic damages frequently involves a significant contribution from expert witnesses. A car accident reconstruction expert, for example, might be able to provide their testimony regarding the precise amount of harm done to a vehicle in an accident. Or, a surgeon can be asked to describe the kinds of procedures the accident victim underwent.
Last but not least, a disagreement regarding economic damages is frequently settled utilizing precedent. The court can frequently determine a damages number that is acceptable and appropriate for the current case by comparing damages amounts from other cases in the same jurisdiction.
Do I Require Legal Counsel to Handle Economic Damage Issues?
The assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer is typically required when resolving conflicts over economic loss. You might need to engage a lawyer if you have any complaints or inquiries regarding an economic damages award.
Your lawyer can give you legal advice and assist you in obtaining damages that are reasonable for your claim. Additionally, if you have to appear in court to have your damages claim evaluated, your attorney can assist in representing you.