Differences Between Economic and Noneconomic Damages

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Experiencing a car accident can lead to a period filled with both emotional distress and considerable economic burden. As you navigate the path toward seeking just compensation, it’s essential to comprehend the distinct categories of damages that may be available to you. Generally, these are classified into economic and noneconomic damages.

This bifurcation is crucial as it delineates the compensation for various forms of losses that can occur as a result of the accident. Understanding this difference is fundamental to ensuring that all aspects of your losses are adequately addressed and compensated.

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Economic Damages

According to the car accident lawyers at Cannon & Dunphy S.C., economic damages are tangible losses that can be calculated in dollar amounts. These damages are based on actual expenses incurred or money that you are unable to earn as a result of the car accident. Here are the main types of economic damages in a car accident case:

Medical Bills

Medical treatment costs are the most common economic damage claimed in a car accident case. This encompasses emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medication, physical therapy, medical equipment, and any other treatment-related expenses. Future medical costs can also be estimated and sought if long-term care is needed.

Lost Wages and Earning Potential

If your injuries prevent you from returning to work, you can claim lost wages for the time you’re unable to work. Furthermore, if your injuries result in disabilities that affect your capacity to work or earn as you did before the accident, compensation for lost future earning potential might be pursued.

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Vehicle and Property Damage

This includes the costs incurred to repair or replace your car and any other personal property damaged in the accident. Receipts and estimates from mechanics and appraisers are used to establish the amount of these losses.

vehicle damage

Out-of-Pocket Expenses

You may incur miscellaneous expenses directly related to the accident like towing charges, rental car fees, and transportation costs to medical appointments. These can also be claimed as economic damages.

Noneconomic Damages

Noneconomic damages are subjective and more difficult to quantify. They include compensation for the non-monetary aspects of your losses resulting from the car accident. Although these damages cannot be measured in bills or receipts, they are no less real for the victims who endure them. Below are examples of noneconomic damages:

Pain and Suffering

This refers to the physical and emotional stress caused by the accident, including the discomfort during recovery. Pain and suffering damages might consider the severity and duration of pain, as well as how the injuries have affected the individual’s daily life.

Emotional Distress

Car accidents can be traumatic, leading to psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc. Compensation for emotional distress addresses these psychological impacts of the accident.

Loss of Enjoyment

If injuries affect your ability to enjoy day-to-day activities, hobbies, or exercise, you might be compensated for “loss of enjoyment” of life. It acknowledges that the injury has taken away pleasures or passions that contributed to your quality of life.

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Loss of Consortium

This type of noneconomic damage is claimed by the spouse or partner of the victim and compensates for the loss of companionship, affection, and the ability to maintain a sexual relationship, if applicable.

Proving and Calculating Damages

While economic damages are calculated by adding up all the monetary losses, noneconomic damages are more subjective and require careful argumentation to justify. The method of calculating these can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another.

Different states have different laws regarding noneconomic damages, and some cap the amount you can claim. It is believed that capping noneconomic damages helps to keep insurance premiums down by limiting what insurance companies could potentially have to pay out in a lawsuit.

Understanding Economic and Noneconomic Damages

Understanding how economic and noneconomic damages differ can help set realistic expectations for your compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer can be instrumental in calculating and proving both types of damages, to ensure that you are adequately compensated for all the hardships and losses resulting from the car accident.

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John Miller

John Miller is a cars enthusiast who loves writing anything related to automobiles. He is a passionate blogger writing for innovatecar.com and other auto blogs