The primary purpose of filing a personal injury claim is to pursue and recover financial compensation from a guilty party for a victim’s damages. This is intended to return the victim to the position they were in before the accident, or to make them whole again. But we all know that this is not always possible. Sometimes damage is more than just financial and a victim can never be the same after a serious accident. This is why there are different types of damages in accident law, which are awarded in successful personal injury cases.
But many people are confused about what the term “damage” represents in personal injury law. Read on to find out what damages are related to accident lawsuits and the difference between economic and non-economic damages.
What are damages?
Damages resulting from a personal injury caused by a negligent party are generally losses. These losses can be financial, emotional, physical and mental. Depending on the type of loss suffered after personal injury, the damage is economic, non-economic, or both. Here’s a brief overview of the differences between the two damage categories and examples of each:
Economic damage refers to material financial losses. Losses that can be defined by an actual dollar amount and can be repaid through financial compensation are considered economic losses. Economic loss includes hospital bills (i.e. hospitalization, ambulance transportation, anesthesia, emergency services, surgeries, doctor care, X-rays, MRIs, etc.), medical expenses (i.e. physical therapy, medical equipment, medication, etc.) lost wages from work time, property damage, lost benefits due to the death of the partner (such as insurance, veterans’ benefits, etc.), home nursing care, and anything else that was a direct financial loss to the victim or his family.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to assign to a dollar amount because they are not direct and tangible financial losses, such as medical bills and lost wages. Instead, they are punitive damages awarded for emotional or mental losses and tribulations. Examples of non-economic losses are pain and suffering, mental anguish or illness (i.e. depression, anxiety, etc.), loss of companionship (i.e. wrongful death, brain damage of a loved one, paralysis of the loved one that alters or prohibits the relationship) . , etc.), long-term medical care or medication dependence, decreased quality of life, permanent disabilities, loss of work ability and more.
For grossly malicious or egregious acts, a judge or jury may also award damages, depending on the circumstances of a case. These are different from economic and non-economic damages because they are not intended to return a victim to the same position they were in before an injury or accident. While punitive damages are still paid to the plaintiff, they are more intended as punishment for the guilty party. They are intended to set a public example and also serve as a deterrent to the specific negligence involved in the case.
Rely on an experienced accident lawyer
Call a reputable personal injury law firm for information and advice about a recent serious accident or injury you or a loved one may have suffered. You may be entitled to compensation for your economic and immaterial damage.