Preparing for a personal injury lawsuit can be challenging, especially when the terminology is unfamiliar. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer is a great way to navigate these legal actions. “Non-economic damages” is a commonly misunderstood legal term, and this clarification is offered in the hopes of making your personal injury journey just a little easier.
Non-Economic Damages In Personal Injury Cases
What Are “Economic Damages?”
In personal injury cases, your legal tea works to quantify all that you’ve lost. Some losses are easier to put a number on than others. These are generally called “economic damages.”
Economic damages include things like lost income, property damage, and medical bills. Other examples include the expense of household services you need as a result of your injuries or ongoing care needs like vocational rehabilitation or physical therapy.
Loss of earning capacity is an important factor in economic damages. If you’ve sustained a serious injury, your ability to earn a living could be negatively impacted over the long term. This means you need to seek compensation for the money you won’t earn over the course of your life.
Determining the “value” of economic damages is relatively straightforward. In many ways, it is simply a process of gathering all of the losses and expenses that can be quantified, then adding them up and reaching a final tally.
Of course, it is easy to overlook expenses or losses, especially in cases where injures are severe or significant time has elapsed since the incident. In those instances, your legal team must go over the details of your financial landscape with a fine-tooth comb. This is an area where working with an experienced legal team really pays off.
What Are “Non-Economic Damages?”
Non-economic damages are losses that are not so easy to put a price tag on. Examples include pain and suffering you experience as a result of your injuries, or loss of enjoyment of normal activities. While no one can truly understand your thoughts and emotions, every effort is made to clarify what you are going through in the aftermath of a serious injury.
Many people find that prior injuries or illnesses become exacerbated after a serious injury. Emotional anguish is another form of non-economic damages, as is humiliation stemming from your altered condition. Most people go through a range of these emotions as they move through the recovery process and beyond.
For some, emotional pain lingers even after the scars have healed and physical therapy is complete. They may feel troubled when they watch friends and family enjoying activities that the injured party can no longer participate in. They often feel left out or left behind, which is incredibly toxic over time.
How Is Monetary Value Assigned To “Non-Economic Damages?”
Determining the “value” of non-economic damages is not a simple matter. The process begins by working closely with your attorney to help them understand the changes your injuries brought about.
Discuss the way your life was prior to the injury, as well as what has changed since that time. If you’ve received counseling to address these changes, that can be helpful information to share.
If those closest to you have seen the changes in your quality of life and enjoyment of routine activities, it might be helpful to have them share their perceptions. In some cases, the testimony of loved ones is even more powerful than medical records and lab reports.
It should also be noted that the spouse of the injured party also sustains damages. When your partner is significantly altered physically or mentally, your life changes dramatically. In addition, the entire scope of your future is changed, because your partner may no longer be on the same path. This type of damage is referred to as loss of consortium.
Similarly, children are also negatively impacted when a parent is severely injured or killed as a result of injuries. Growing up without a parent, or with a parent who can no longer play as active a role in their upbringing, is distressing to kids, and makes their childhood far more complicated than it might have been.
An experienced legal team can work to get your family the compensation they deserve, including damages sustained by a spouse.
How Can I Get The Very Best Outcome In My Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Every personal injury case is unique, just like every life is unique. Because no two personal injury cases are exactly alike, they all require a careful and systematic approach.
Your attorney works closely with you to fully understand how your injuries have changed the landscape of your life. They then take that information and construct a case that demonstrates those losses.
When a personal injury case goes before a jury, your outcome is determined by a group of strangers. Making those individuals understand what you’ve gone through and what your future might hold is not a cut-and-dried process and is far more of an art than a science.
Rest assured your personal injury attorney and wider legal team are there to work hard on your behalf. While the journey of healing is not always easy to navigate, working with a top-quality legal team can make the process easier.
As with “non-economic damages,” any time you aren’t sure of the exact meaning of a term, reach out to ask for clarification. Your attorney views their role as your partner in your personal injury experience, and that partnership works best when both parties are on the same page.