The types of damages awarded in a personal injury case include economic, non-economic, and punitive.
An attorney can help you determine what types of damages to pursue based on the circumstances of your specific case.
What Are the Three Types of Damages?
Economic and non-economic damages fall under the umbrella of compensatory damages. The former is also known as “special damages,” whereas the latter is sometimes referred to as “general damages.”
Punitive damages seek to punish the defendant for unlawful actions. Per Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute, a court typically awards punitive damages if the judge considers a defendant’s behavior especially harmful, willful, and malicious. Most personal injury claims do not involve punitive damages as they are very difficult to obtain, although plaintiffs can seek them in addition to compensatory damages.
A Guide to Compensatory Damages in Personal Injury Cases
As the name implies, compensatory damages compensate the plaintiff for the losses their injury caused. A lawyer can help you determine all the losses you incurred and their monetary value.
Calculating economic damages is relatively straightforward as it involves totaling the monetary losses you incurred because of your injury. In most cases, receipts or bills are available to establish these damages. However, some economic damages are more concrete and easier to calculate than others.
Some economic damages include:
- Emergency medical care and transportation bills
- Other past and reasonably anticipated healthcare costs
- The cost of long-term care, including ongoing treatments or a caretaker
- Medical devices or equipment
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning potential, if you cannot return to your previous position because of long-term disability resulting from your injuries
- Lost benefits, such as health care or retirement contributions
- Property damage, such as a totaled car
- Miscellaneous expenses related to your accident, such as the costs of transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, renting a vehicle, or renovating your vehicle to accommodate a wheelchair
Non-economic damages can be more challenging to quantify. While it’s simple to determine how much hospital care or property damage costs you, it can be difficult to put a price on pain and suffering. An attorney can assist you with this.
Common types of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Exacerbation of existing physical or psychological ailments
- Damaged reputation
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment
- Disability or disfigurement
Our team can help you determine the value of your economic and non-economic damages.
Wrongful Death Damages
Another type of damages awarded in personal injury cases only pertains to wrongful deaths. In these circumstances, the survivors can pursue wrongful death compensatory damages.
Examples of wrongful death damages include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Loss of financial contribution, if the deceased was a breadwinner
- Emotional pain and anguish
- Cost of medical care before the death, if the victim received injury treatment before they died
How Do You Calculate Non-Economic Damages?
Attorneys usually use the per diem or multiplier method to calculate non-economic damages.
How the Per Diem Method Works
The per diem, or per day, method is based on established economic damages or the daily cost of your injuries. To use the per diem method, an attorney will determine how long you are likely to spend recovering from your injuries. Then, they will multiply the cost per day by the number of days.
For example, if you make $200 a day and will need 180 days to recover, you could seek up to $36,000 for pain and suffering.
How the Multiplier Method Works
To use the multiplier method, an attorney will assess the severity of your injuries, how they impact your life, and how long they will affect you. Based on these factors, they will select a number from 1.5 to five and multiply this number by your economic damages. Then, they will determine a reasonable amount of compensation based on this figure.
For example, your attorney assigns your injury a four after you suffered a traumatic brain injury. You incurred $15,000 in economic damages. Your estimated non-economic damages would total $60,000.
How Can an Attorney Support You?
A personal injury lawyer can support you by proving your losses through receipts, medical reports, expert and witness testimonies, psychological evaluations, and other evidence. They will also advocate for you in negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company or legal team to pursue a fair settlement. If necessary, they will represent you in a court of law.
We handle all cases on a contingency-fee basis, which means you pay us nothing up front and nothing unless we obtain compensation on your behalf.
Contact Our Team Today to See What Damages You Might Be Able to Recover
The team at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers is here to help. Call (888) 612-7001 to speak with someone about your case.