Personal injury claims often result in damages. Damages are monetary awards given to the victim whose injury or accident was caused by another person or entity’s negligence. The amount of damages that are awarded, in other words, the monetary compensation, generally depends on the severity of the injuries, the cost of medical treatment, the amount of lost wages, whether earning capacity has been reduced or not, and pain and suffering.
Personal injury cases that result in compensatory damages may include motor vehicle accidents, construction accidents, and slip and fall accidents, among others. Defective products and medical malpractice claims may also lead to compensatory damages, for example.
There are two different types of monetary compensation that are awarded according to a judge or jury: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are quantifiable losses and refer to a victim’s earning capacity, lost wages, medical expenses, and rehabilitative care, along with property damage expenses, such as repairs and replacements. These financial losses are very concrete in that the amount is based on documentation of wages, medical costs and other expenses that have receipts; further, the victim would not have incurred them if not for another party’s negligence. The documentation for economic damages often includes medical records and bills, receipts, pay stubs, invoices, and photographs or videos.
On the other hand, non-economic damages are non-quantifiable and may refer to pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium and loss of guardianship (in wrongful death cases), emotional anguish, damage to one’s reputation, bodily disfigurement, post-traumatic stress (PTSD) and humiliation. Non-economic damages, which are not tangible, are quantified by the court in order to compensate victims of negligence as a lawful way to ameliorate their suffering. While no amount of money can take away the anguish an individual or loved one may go through as a result of a serious and life-changing personal injury or death, damages are awarded to victims and their families by the courts to compensate them for their great losses.
Sometimes, economic damages are awarded, and non-economic damages are not awarded, and in other situations, both kinds of compensatory damages are awarded to the victim. Someone who is permanently disabled or disfigured and unable to work because of another party’s negligence may be financially awarded economic and non-economic damages. For example, their medical care, on-going care, expenses related to any lifestyle accommodations they have had to make as a result of their disability, such as a different kind of vehicle, loss of future earning capacity, along with the pain and suffering that the individual endures are considered compensatory damages.
The facts and details of your case, along with your attorney’s experience, will determine the value of compensatory damages that you receive. In order to receive the maximum compensation for your case, you will need an experienced attorney who can navigate the complexity of your personal injury claim. Sometimes, non-economic damages make up the largest portion of compensation for the plaintiff in personal injury cases, and thus, as these damages are inherently subjective, they will certainly rely on the expertise of the plaintiff’s attorney.
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