Imagine being in an accident that wasn’t your fault. You’re in pain and emotionally distressed, and your life has been turned upside down. As you seek compensation for your damages, you may come across the term “non-economic damages.” But what exactly are they, and how do you calculate them?
Visit bentleymore.com to learn more about non-economic damages and how a lawyer can help you claim them. We’ll break down the basics of the different types of damages you can claim in a personal injury case and how to effectively calculate them.
Types of Damages in Personal Injury Claims
There are three major types of compensation you can obtain in a personal injury case: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
They are the most basic form of loss a victim suffers. This will cover all the financial losses and expenses a victim suffers due to the accident. Medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earnings, and property damage comes under economic damages.
It is fairly easy to calculate economic damages than other types of damages. You can calculate your losses just by adding all your expenses. This is the reason why lawyers ask their clients to document all their bills. They can submit these bills in court as evidence to show the amount of money they have lost due to the accident. For lost wages, you can calculate them simply by adding the daily wages of the days you missed work due to the injuries you sustained.
Understanding Non-Economic Damages in Personal Injury Cases
It refers to the intangible losses a victim may suffer due to an injury, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are not easily quantifiable, as they do not have a direct monetary value.
However, they are just as important as economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, as they can profoundly impact a person’s well-being. An experienced attorney can help you figure this out and get fair compensation.
Punitive, or exemplary damages, are compensation that is awarded to punish the wrongdoer rather than compensate the victim. They are awarded very rarely. It is awarded for extreme cases of negligence. In most cases, punitive damages will be one and a half times more than the economic compensation.
However, it is very hard to obtain punitive damages even in cases where they are available. You need to hire an experienced lawyer to have any chance of obtaining punitive damages.
Methods for Calculating Non-Economic Damages
- The multiplier method ─ This method involves multiplying the victim’s economic damages (such as medical expenses and lost wages) by a certain multiplier, typically ranging from 1 to 5, depending on the severity of the injury. For example, if the economic damages are $50,000 and the multiplier is 3, the total non-economic damages would be $150,000.
- The per diem method ─ This method assigns a daily rate to the victim’s pain and suffering or other non-economic damages for each day they have experienced the harm. For instance, if the per diem rate is $100 and the victim has suffered for 100 days, the total non-economic damages would be $10,000.
Factors to Consider in Calculating Non-Economic Damages
Several factors can influence the calculation of non-economic damages, including:
- The severity of the injury ─ The severity of the injury should be considered when calculating non-economic damages. This includes physical pain, emotional distress, and the long-term impact on the victim’s life.
- Emotional impact ─ Emotional factors such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD can also be considered when calculating non-economic damages. These emotional damages can significantly affect a person’s well-being and quality of life.
- Impact on daily life ─ The extent to which the injury has impacted the victim’s ability to carry out daily activities, participate in hobbies, or enjoy life can also be a factor in calculating non-economic damages. Loss of enjoyment of life, for example, may be factored in when determining the total damages.
Challenges and Considerations
Calculating non-economic damages can be challenging due to the subjective nature of these damages and the lack of specific guidelines. Legal limitations or caps on non-economic damages in certain jurisdictions can also impact the calculation. Additionally, seeking an expert opinion from a personal injury attorney or relevant experts may be necessary to assess non-economic damages accurately.
Importance of Hiring a Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer is crucial to winning a case and maximizing your compensation. You can obtain a compensation amount even without the help of a lawyer, but the compensation you receive will be much lower than your actual losses. This is why hiring a lawyer is crucial. The first step in obtaining fair compensation is to calculate your losses perfectly.
A lawyer can calculate your losses without any mistakes and obtain the compensation you deserve. An experienced lawyer will know how to calculate non-economic damages and when to go for punitive damages.
They can help you overcome the common obstacles of personal injury claims with their expertise. They will collect evidence regarding your losses and show the court exactly how much you have lost. As said, you cannot show the court your non-economic damages, but a lawyer will have their own way of proving non-economic damages to the court. If you ever find yourself in an accident, never try to resolve it alone. Always hire a lawyer and let them deal with it.
In a personal injury case, non-economic damages are just as crucial as economic damages, as they account for the intangible losses a victim may experience. While calculating it can be complex, understanding the methods and factors involved can help ensure fair compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering.
Suppose you have been injured in an accident. In that case, it’s crucial to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney who can help you navigate the process and ensure that all damages, including non-economic ones, are appropriately considered. Remember, you deserve compensation for the visible yet unseen impacts of your injuries.