What are economic vs. non-economic damages and how do they affect personal injury lawsuits?

Hi folks, and welcome back to Hammer TV. I’m Bill Adler and we’re very excited to present a new episode on our frequently asked questions series where we tackle some of the very interesting questions we get in the world of personal injury. Today, we’re taking a look specifically at damages – what they are, how they’re calculated, and what they mean for your personal injury claim. So let’s jump right in.

In a personal injury suit, the money you receive is called your “damages.” There are two types of damages: economic and non-economic. We’ll talk about both.

Economic damages are the easier ones to understand. When you’ve been hurt in an accident, you want your medical bills covered and money back for the time you missed from work. These numbers are objectively verifiable—you know exactly what the doctor charged you, and you can calculate your lost earnings by multiplying your missed time and pay-rate together. Any losses you can define with exact dollars and cents will be economic damages.

The law also allows you to recover non-economic damages for an accident. You likely suffered physical pain and mental anguish because of your injuries, and you are entitled to money to make up for that suffering. You can also get money for physical disfigurement you’ve suffered, like scars and burns, and for physical impairment, such as the loss of your ability to perform certain activities. Certain close family members like spouses can even recover money for their personal emotional suffering when a loved one is injured.

It’s harder to put a precise dollars and cents figure on non-economic damages. Two different juries might award a different amount of money for the same broken arm and neither one would be wrong. And unfortunately, some people have trouble awarding non-economic damages at all; they think that people should only get money for economic damages, even though the law says otherwise. Insurance companies know that non-economic damages are harder to define, and they use that fact to offer you less than you deserve.

Hiring a good personal injury lawyer will help you maximize your non-economic damages and your overall recovery. Your attorney will fight for your rights and make sure you get every penny you deserve.

Hopefully that was helpful to look at the different types of damages that apply in personal injury cases. If you have questions about the information in this video or would like to discuss how it applies to your specific case, you can get in touch with us at Jim Adler and Associates via the contact form at jimadler.com or give us a call at 1-800-567-7575. That’s our number.