Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages

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 What Is Economic Damage?

Economic damages encompass any objectively verifiable monetary losses. This can include losses of medical expenses, cost of repairing damaged property, and loss of business opportunities. In a lawsuit, you can sue the defendant to recover economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are the financial losses incurred due to the defendant’s actions. You can apply a specific numeric value to these damages for these cases because they are tangible losses. You may be entitled to recover compensation for various types of economic damages for a case. Below are examples of the possible damages that could be caused.

For instance, if someone physically injures you and you need treatment after. The person should be responsible for paying for the medical bills. You may face costs for hospitalizations, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, mental health counseling, and more. Your settlement with a personal injury claim will fully compensate you for any medical bills you incurred during or after the accident, caused by the defendant.

Moreover, when you are injured, you will most likely miss work. Meaning you would need to take sick leave to heal and get back to your normal self. In more extreme cases, you may need to leave your work entirely and see your wages discontinued. Therefore, getting compensated for the financial losses during this time is crucial. This would be a claim for lost wages for your case.

Besides lost income, you may lose your earning capacity due to your injuries. Meaning your injury could impact your ability to continue certain work. For instance, the extent of your impairment, field, age, and future earning potential both before and post-accident will be factored in when determining the amount of future earnings you will not be able to do anymore due to your injuries.

Additionally, if you have damaged property as your claim in this case, this is considered another type of economic loss. You can recover the loss of property damages for your case and include the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged property.

Furthermore, the majority of states adhere to a rule known as the collateral source rule. This rule shields you from having any reduction to your damages in case there is an introduction of evidence demonstrating you have already received payment for some of your losses.

For example, in medical insurance scenarios, the defendant will still be responsible for compensating you for their caused losses. Even though your insurance covered it, the defendant must still pay for the accident-related injury.

What Are Non-Economic Damages?

With any lawsuit, some losses occur besides the economic ones. Therefore, a plaintiff has a right to recover for other noneconomic damages caused by the injury. Depending on the course of action for the case, the purpose of the suit is to ensure that you are “made whole” for all losses.

This means you should return as closely as possible to the position you would have been in if the accident had not occurred. Therefore, to accomplish this you need to also be compensated for any non-economic damages and the actual financial losses.

The following passage describes how to compensate for the non-economic damages incurred in a case. It also explains how each type of loss will be calculated. For instance, in a car accident claim, you can recover monetary compensation for the damages in the case.

These could be any medical costs or car insurance claims. They are considered as the financial expenses attached to the case. However, besides this, you can also recover from non-economic damage, such as emotional distress. Therefore, there are other losses you should be compensated for as well that do not have a direct dollar value, but that is still an important part of your case.

Non-economic damages are meant to compensate you for the other intangible losses that happen due to your injury. Various types of non-economic damages are applicable depending on your situation.

Besides dealing with the physical pain of your injuries, you could face severe mental anguish because you just experienced a traumatic accident.

From burns to broken bones to concussions, you can feel serious discomfort for weeks, months, years, or even the rest of your life.

For instance, you may discover that you are permanently disabled; the mental state after experiencing this can be terrifying. There is no numerical value that could pay for your mental distress. If you experience emotional or mental issues due to the incident, you should be compensated. Non-economic recovery addresses this issue and allows people to be compensated for more than simply a monetary amount.

This consists of cases where you develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, phobias, depression, a change in personality, impaired memory or cognitive function, or any other mental or emotional issues.

Additionally, if your injuries impact your relationships,, you have a claim for loss of companionship and consortium. For instance, if you are unable to play with your children or you cannot be intimate with your romantic partner, you will be compensated for the loss of these important aspects of your relationships.

Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, you can experience extreme emotional distress. Especially if you were pregnant at the time of the car accident. Having to worry about the safety of your unborn child is a huge emotional burden. Also, if your injuries cause you to no longer enjoy your life as much or prevent you from participating in activities you used to enjoy, this can be a big loss for your emotional well-being.

Seeking compensation after being permanently impaired, disabled, or disfigured is a life-changing experience. It can create both physical and emotional turmoil in your life. You will have more doubts about the success of your future and will constantly question yourself. Permanent injuries of this type will generally entitle you to a substantial amount of non-economic damages.

How to Differentiate Between Economic vs. Non-economic Damages?

The main distinction between economic and non-economic damages is how you get compensated. One is more about the actual objectifiable financial losses, and the other is more abstract in terms of Non-economic damages, which are intangible losses for which it can be more difficult to estimate a dollar value.

Non-economic damages, as mentioned earlier, typically include things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, diminished quality of life, or loss of companionship or consortium if your injuries impact relationships with loved ones. However, in some states, there are limitations or caps on non-economic damages on how much money you can recover for these non-financial losses.

When Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer?

With any lawsuit, there are both economic and non-economic damages for the plaintiffs to recover. As stated earlier, there is a distinction in the monetary means of compensation for the economic vs. the non-economic losses.

Depending on your situation and the state you reside in, you can have access to the various non-economic damages available in your area. If you have any questions on this, you can reach out to a personal injury attorney in your area for assistance.


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