It will help to understand what damages you are entitled to recover if we divide them into two categories: (1) economic and (2) non-economic. Economic damages compensate the injured person for losses that can be measured or calculated mathematically, such as medical bills or lost wages. Non-economic damages compensate the injured person for more subjective kinds of losses we cannot calculate mathematically, such as pain and suffering, but which are very real.
When you have been injured due to another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to recover the following damages:
ECONOMIC DAMAGES (sometimes referred to as “specials”):
- Medical bills, both present and future, for treatment or prescriptions.
- Repair or replacement of damaged property (such as damage to your vehicle, or personal items like a computer or cell phone).
- The diminished value of your car even after it has been repaired.
- Lost wages (if you receive a salary or are paid by the hour) or loss of income (if you are self-employed or work on commissions), both past and future.
- Mileage for travel to and from your medical care providers for treatment.
- Cost of necessary help with domestic or household services or home maintenance (such as cleaning or other household chores that you cannot perform because of your injury).
NON-ECONOMIC DAMAGES (sometimes referred to as “general damages”):
- Pain and suffering.
- Mental and emotional distress or anguish.
- Loss of cognitive functioning (due to a concussion or traumatic brain injury).
- Loss of enjoyment of life (such as inability to engage in recreational activities or hobbies).
- Physical impairment (such as loss of strength in an arm or hand).
- Scarring or disfigurement.
- Loss of consortium (a spouse of an injured person may receive damages for loss of the emotional and intangible elements of marriage, such as loss of companionship, affection, solace, society, intimate relations, and support).
- Lost opportunities (such as inability to continue with schooling, or take a vacation you were planning on).
Your attorney will help you determine which of the above damages you are entitled to recover, and what documentation you will need to support such damages.
In future blogs, we’ll discuss some of the types of damages listed above in more detail.