Injuries aren’t just physical. Injuries can also cause emotional hardships as you cope with your pain and adjust your life around new physical limitations. If injured due to someone else’s negligent actions, filing a personal injury claim can help you gain the financial security needed to get back on your feet after the accident.
Awards in personal injury cases fall into one of two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages – monetary damages – are compensation for costs related to your injury. Non-economic damages, however, may be awarded for less tangible – but no less significant – hardships that you may have experienced due to your injuries.
Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages
Through no fault of your own, your injury has likely left you with a stack of medical bills and other expenses related to recovery. Economic damages in personal injury cases may also include:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Past, present, and future lost wages
- Decreased or lost earning capacity
- Household services such as cleaning, shoveling, etc., that you are unable to complete due to your injury
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Property damage, i.e., damage to your car during the accident
- Transportation to and from medical appointments
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Whereas economic damages require a financial loss, non-economic damages do not involve financial loss. Instead, non-economic damages compensate you for the emotional trauma that may have resulted from the injury. Depending on the injury’s impact on your emotional/mental state, you may be entitled to non-economic damages, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Reduced enjoyment of life
- Scarring and permanent disfigurement
- Disabilities and permanent impairment
Calculating the Value of Non-Economic Damages
When pursuing a personal injury claim, you must keep records of bills and other expenses to receive economic damages. However, non-economic damages are more difficult to assign value to.
There are a few ways to calculate non-economic damages in personal injury cases. First, insurance companies and personal injury attorneys sometimes multiply a number between 2 and 5 by the total economic damages to determine the value of non-economic damages. The multiplier used is based on the extent and permanence of the injuries.
A per diem formula could also be used, which involves assigning a regular rate to your non-economic damages and multiplying that rate by the time your injuries persist.
Regardless of the extent of your injuries, you may be entitled to economic and non-economic damages in your claim. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you obtain the financial security needed to recover from your injuries.