Economic damages and non-economic damages are two categories of compensation that a person can seek after being involved in a car accident. Here are the key differences between economic and non-economic damages:
Economic damages, also known as special damages, refer to quantifiable and tangible financial losses that a person incurs due to an accident. These damages have a specific dollar value attached to them. Receipts, bills, pay stubs, and other documentation can be used to determine the value of these damages.
Economic damages include:
- Medical Expenses: Costs associated with medical treatment, hospitalization, surgeries, medications, doctor's visits, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.
- Property Damage: Repair or replacement costs for damaged vehicles or other property.
- Lost Wages: Compensation for time missed from work due to injuries and medical appointments.
- Future Medical Expenses: Anticipated medical costs for ongoing treatment, therapies, and future surgeries.
- Loss of Earning Capacity: Compensation for reduced earning potential if the accident results in long-term or permanent disabilities that affect the ability to work.
- Funeral and Burial Expenses: Applicable in the case of a fatal accident.
These damages compensate for intangible harms that are more challenging to quantify in monetary terms. Non-economic damages often involve factors such as the severity of the injuries, the duration of recovery, and the impact on the individual's life. Juries and insurance adjusters often use a multiplier based on economic damages to estimate non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical pain, discomfort, and emotional distress caused by the accident and resulting injuries.
- Emotional Distress: Compensation for psychological impacts such as anxiety, depression, and trauma stemming from the accident.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Compensation for the reduction in quality of life and the ability to engage in activities you enjoyed before the accident.
- Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the impact of the injuries on the relationship with a spouse or family members.
- Scarring and Disfigurement: Compensation for the physical changes to one's appearance resulting from injuries or surgeries.
- Loss of Companionship (in wrongful death cases): Compensation for the emotional and social losses suffered by surviving family members due to the death of a loved one.
The determination of damages can be a complex matter with a variety of factors employed to arrive at a range of possible compensation packages.
Contact a personal injury attorney in your area to learn more about economic and non-economic damages and how they affect your case.