In a personal injury case, economic damages may be awarded as a part of the legal remedy for the plaintiff. Economic damages can be defined as those damages which are designed for compensating the plaintiff for their actual, measurable economic losses. Common examples of expenses that are included in an economic damages award may include:
- Compensation for medical expenses (both past and future)
- Lost earnings or business opportunities due to the injuries
- Damage to or unauthorized use of property
- Costs associated with repairs or replacement of property
In most personal injury cases, the bulk of the damages award takes the form of medical expenses (i.e. hospital bills, therapy costs, cost of medication, etc.). Other personal injury cases involve more property costs (such as automobile accidents where the car is severely damaged).
How Are Economic Damages Calculated?
Economic damages are often calculated based several factors which should be measurable. For instance, the court may examine receipts, invoices, and hospital bills to determine the overall costs. In some cases, other evidence may be needed to determine damages. These can include video footage of an accident and other similar forms of evidence. Lastly, many cases require the input of an expert witness who can help determine damage amounts.
Are Economic Damages Always Available?
Economic damages are not available in all cases. For instance, some jurisdictions may limit the plaintiff’s recovery amount under contributory negligence or comparative negligence rules. This means that the plaintiff’s damages may be reduced (or sometimes barred altogether) according to the amount that the plaintiff was negligent. An example of this is where a plaintiff sues in relation to a car accident. If it turns out the plaintiff was speeding prior to the accident, their economic damages award may be affected.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Economic Damages?
Economic damages are an important part of personal injury cases. You may need to hire a personal injury lawyer if you have any questions or inquiries regarding economic damages. Your attorney can advise you on your legal rights and can inform you of the laws in your area. Also, if you need to file a lawsuit, your lawyer can provide you with legal representation during trial.