What are non-economic damages?
November 22, 2022
When you or a loved one suffer from a life-threatening personal injury that wasn’t your fault, you can receive compensation. It is only fair that your expenses that were a result of your accident get reimbursed. You can also receive a settlement for future expenses. Additionally, your settlement will include non-economic damages that aren’t based solely on the money you spent. Non-economic damages aren’t quantified the same way as economic damages and are based on how bad the victim’s injuries are.
However, similar to economic damages, a more catastrophic personal injury will also amount to a much higher settlement. That is becauseyour overall quality of life may have been negatively impacted by another’s careless mistakes.
When you are stuck with non-economic damages due to another’s negligence, you can seek the help of a proficient personal injury attorney. They are adept at accurately calculating how much you deserve in recompense for your emotional turmoil. Contact our law firm for more information on settling your non-economic damages. Call Henningsen Injury Attorneys now for a free consultation.
What Is The Difference Between Economic Damages And Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are described as subjective, unquantifiable non-monetary losses. Economic damages are defined as measurable real losses that are objectively verifiable. For example, if you were a personal injury victim that received subpar medical care, you can become severely incapacitated as a result of a doctor’s mistake. Another example is if you were hurt in an automobile accident, your economic damages would include property damage, medical bills, and lost income.
Non-economic damages are also part of a personal injury settlement but are closely monitored to prevent them from getting too high. While your economic damages are intended to make up for any of your quantifiable losses, your non-economic damages are based on immeasurable suffering, inconvenience, and other life disturbances. Instead of reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs incurred by your personal injury, you would instead be compensated for the negative impact it had on your life. Non-economic damages make up a majority of your personal injury settlement, so not including them would drastically decrease your compensation.
Common Examples Of Non-Economic Damages
You can experience non-economic damages in many forms. Some frequent examples include the following:
Pain And Suffering
Pain and suffering damages are almost always added to a settlement. These damages refer to the physical and mental pain experienced by the victim.
Personal injury victims can become deeply depressed because of their injuries. Life changes can happen, and they can feel limited by their injuries. Additionally, some neurotransmitter pathways are shared by neurons that evoke the same firing patterns for depression and chronic pain. In the brain and spinal cord, there are similar neural connections between depression and chronic pain, so depression is also influenced by a person’s chronic pain. When depressed, you can lose interest in the things you enjoy most and become sad and withdrawn. Health issues can also arise because of long-term depression.
You may develop anxiety after a personal injury, which can make your life extremely stressful. Developing a phobia is very common for anxious individuals, and anxiety attacks can also happen. This is when you have chronic episodes of abrupt, acute anxiety or terror that suddenly rises in intensity in a matter of minutes. Panic attacks are often characterized by shortness of breath, a pounding heart, and chest pain. These are the same sensations you would feel when you are in a dangerous situation. You might avoid situations that trigger panic attacks, which can gravely impact your life.
Some personal injuries can cause grief to the point that you give up things you love doing. You might quit your job or have no motivation to work and not participate in your normal hobbies. When struggling with a difficult personal injury, you can have difficulty adapting to your new circumstances.
When you are dealing with the burden of painful injuries, you might experience shame. Despite the fact that victims were not at fault, many people nonetheless carry shame from those experiences. If you need to be dependent on others when you were independent before, this can also cause you to feel shame.
Physical injuries can make you feel embarrassed because of your dependency on others. You can’t perform ordinary tasks or do your job when you are badly wounded. Not being able to make a full-time income can also make you feel embarrassed, especially if you begin to struggle financially.
While healing from your wounds, you can experience severe pain that limits your mobility. Broken bones, head injuries, and other serious injuries can be very painful. Suffering from this pain can also dampen your enthusiasm and make you feel depressed. Your pain can also, preventing you from doing any physical activities you could perform before the injury.
Some severe injuries result in scarring, but in certain catastrophic injuries, there might be permanent disfigurement. Your confidence and self-esteem can plummet when you are permanently disfigured, which impacts your well-being and quality of life.
Loss Of Sexual Function
Some injuries lead to the loss of sexual function, which can negatively affect your relationship with your significant other. The lack of intimacy can lead to frustration and anger, which can have a detrimental effect on the relationship.
Loss Of Enjoyment Of Life
Your life can completely change after you experience a catastrophic or severe injury. It is possible that you can completely lose interest in life because of your wounds. If you were very active and are suddenly restricted to a wheelchair, this can make you unable to perform activities that you previously enjoyed.
Although this isn’t included in your settlement and is awarded by the court, punitive damages are also non-economic damages. These damages are based on how grossly negligent the other party was in causing the accident that led to the personal injury. Additionally, punitive damages are awarded if the other party acted maliciously. Depending on how badly you were harmed, you can receive a reward from the court, which is intended as a punishment to the defendant.
Wrongful Death Non-Economic Damages
When a family member or loved one dies, the surviving eligible family members can receive a settlement. The type of non-economic damages that surviving family members and heirs named in the will or estate can receive include the following:
Loss Of Consortium
In tort law, loss of consortium refers to the severing of a relationship as a result of harms brought on by the tortfeasor. This refers to the connection and companionship between two people in an intimate relationship. When a loved one passes away, the surviving spouse won’t be able to enjoy the intimacy or sexual relationship that they once had. They will be without a supportive partner and remain a widow or widower until they marry again.
Loss Of Guardianship
Family members might leave behind children who depended on them for safety and guidance. Without their guardian, they may feel insecure about life and get frightened or stressed more easily. Loss of guardianship can also happen to children who only have one parent. They can be orphaned and have to adapt to living with new family members or being in foster care.
Loss Of Mentorship
The passing of a loved one can also cause the loss of mentorship. Younger dependents who don’t have a mentor to lead them may lose their sense of purpose or direction. This can be incredibly traumatizing for children who look up to their parents. The lack of a mentor can also affect their academic performance.
Pain And Suffering For Family Members
When a wrongful death victim passes away, their family is left to mourn their death. The pain and suffering of the survivors can be included in the settlement because they wouldn’t be suffering if the other party had not been negligent.
Pain And Suffering For Wrongful Death Victims
In some fatal accidents, the wrongful death victim may not have passed away immediately. Instead, they may have suffered for some time before they died. When this is the case, survivors can also obtain damages for the pain and suffering their loved one experienced before they passed away.
How Are Non-Economic Damages Calculated
There is no one approach to calculating non-economic damages. One of the most popular methods involves a multiplier.
A multiplier can range from one to seven, and in some situations even higher for more devastating accidents. For example, for a personal injury that only resulted in a broken bone and mild discomfort, the multiplier might be 3 or 4. If your personal injury was a severe spinal cord injury that resulted in temporary or permanent paralysis, the multiplier could be 6 or 7. If the personal injury is permanent and can’t be healed, then the multiplier may be even higher.
Once a multiplier is chosen, it is multiplied by the total economic damages. The non-economic damages are added to the total economic damages to calculate the settlement amount.
Types Of Economic Damages
Examples of economic damages include the following:
After experiencing a severe personal injury, you are likely stuck with high medical bills. While you are recovering from your injuries, you will have to continue receiving medical treatment for weeks, months, and sometimes years. Your medical expenses might include lab tests, medication, surgery, medical treatments, physical therapy, medical devices, and many more expenses. Transportation to and from your healthcare appointments can also be included in your compensation.
Some personal injuries result in property damage, such as a vehicle, home, or personal property. For example, you might have broken your cellphone because of a slip and fall accident. Any property that needs to be repaired or replaced is a part of your damages.
When badly injured, you won’t be able to work full-time and may even have to stay home to recover completely. Your lost wages are based on the average amount you made before you were injured. Not only is the time you were unable to work calculated into your lost wages damages, but also the future wages you are unable to earn.
Wrongful Death Economic Damages
There are special damages that are specific to a victim who died due to another’s negligence. Wrongful death damages include the following:
Funeral and Burial Costs
The surviving family members might need to pay for funeral bills. The cost can include the plot, headstone, coffin, service, embalming, flowers, and more. In the case of a cremation, the service, urn, and other preparations will need to be paid for.
These are medical bills that have been accumulated up until the victim’s death. Even if the victim passed away a year later due to complications caused by their personal injury, their medical expenses should be included in the total settlement.
When a wrongful death victim passes away, they leave behind survivors who miss out on the income that their loved one could have provided. Any money that the loved one could have earned in the future will be included in the wrongful death settlement.
Loss Of Benefits
The wrongful death victim may have benefits that they lost and can’t pass on. For example, they may have a pension plan, insurance benefits, or investments that they were unable to continue to grow after their death. This loss of benefits will also be added to the survivors’ compensation.
Loss Of Valuable Services
Surviving family members also lose the valuable services their loved one provided. For example, they may have helped around the house by doing laundry, babysitting, yard work, dishes, and other chores. Without them, the remaining guardian may be overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to do alone. It can be especially difficult when small children are involved. The cost to replace these services, for example, hiring a babysitter and housekeeper, can also be calculated and added to the total damages.
A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You With Your Non-Economic Damages
After you’ve received some medical care and begun recovering from your injuries, you can speak to an attorney about your experiences. You should explain in-depth exactly what you’re feeling. For pain and suffering damages, you need to go into detail about the type of emotional turmoil you feel and how you’ve been coping with it. Any life-altering circumstances should also be mentioned. If you cannot go jogging or do yoga because of your injuries, then you should speak up about it.
These types of inconveniences are unfair and should be compensated for because you are unable to participate in certain activities due to your personal injury. Get the help you need from reliable attorneys who will fight for your right to fair compensation. Contact Henningsen Injury Attorneys now for a free consultation.