How Do Lawyers Determine Monetary Amounts?
The types of damages you can recover in personal injury cases fall mainly into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
What Are Economic Damages?
As the name implies, economic damages are tangible based on the actual value of the loss. For example, the following would be economic damages:
- Past medical expenses. Past doctor visits, scans or x-rays, prescription medications, hospitalization and treatment are examples.
- Future medical expenses. Typically, when injury is long-lasting or permanent, the patient requires ongoing medical care. Expert testimony from the treating physician is generally necessary to establish the extent of future medical expenses.
- Past lost wages. Severe injury can prohibit work, and the wages lost would be part of economic damages.
- Future lost wages. If injury is severe, the individual may not be able to return to work for some time.
- Lost earning capacity. A permanent injury can result in no longer being able to perform the tasks of a certain job position. The attorney would seek compensation for the difference in salary, based on the lost capacity to do the previous job.
- Vocational rehabilitation. Severe injury often requires rehabilitation to develop different or new vocational skills.
- Property damages. Replacing damaged property, such as a totaled vehicle in a car crash or other damaged property may be part of the compensation being sought.
- Household services. While the injured individual recovers, he or she may not be able to clean the house, do laundry, cook meals or perform other normal everyday tasks. Compensation for outside help is an economic damage that can be documented.
- Out-of-pocket expenses. Examples include the costs of rental car or other transportation fees along with hotel stays while receiving treatment.
Noneconomic damages are not tangible in the way that economic damages are. They often include the following:
- Emotional anguish
- Reputational damage
- Loss of enjoyment of activities
- Loss of consortium
Noneconomic damages typically address the greatest losses, which can be summarized as a loss of enjoyment of living. An active individual who enjoyed sports, hiking or dancing may no longer be able to do these things. Even daily activities, such as getting dressed, cooking meals or bathing may become too difficult in some cases.
If you have questions about the types of damages that could apply to your personal injury case, our attorneys at Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP are glad to discuss your potential case.