When another party causes you or your family member an injury, that person could be financially responsible for your damages. Damages in personal injury cases usually fall into one of two categories – economic and non-economic damages. The types of damages a person is entitled to receive depends on the facts and circumstances of the case.
What Are Non-Economic Damages?
Economic damages represent your financial losses after an accident, such as lost wages and medical bills. Non-economic damages include the “pain and suffering” you experience because of an accident and injury.
Insurance companies often downplay non-economic losses to avoid paying large injury settlements. Economic losses, such as medical expenses, can be proven with invoices. Accordingly, the insurance company does not have much room to argue about the value.
Non-economic damages do not have an “invoice” or “bill” to prove their value. However, that does not mean that you should accept a low settlement that doesn’t account for them. Instead, talk with a personal injury lawyer to ensure you are not being cheated out of the money you deserve for non-economic damages.
What Are Examples of Non-Economic Damages?
Several different types of non-economic damages might be included in a personal injury case. Non-economic damages are included in all types of injury cases, including cases related to car accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice cases, nursing home abuse, and slip and fall accidents.
Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish and trauma
- Decrease in quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Disabilities and permanent impairments
In some cases, damages may be awarded to family members for “loss of consortium.” Loss of consortium damages compensate family members for the loss of love, companionship, guidance, and support they would have received from their loved one had it not been for the accident and injury.
How Do You Calculate the Value of Non-Economic Damages?
Unfortunately, there is not a standard formula used to calculate the value of non-economic damages. However, insurers and juries use two common methods to place a value on pain and suffering damages.
The multiplier method assigns a figure between 1.5 and 5 to the claim based on factors such as:
- The type and severity of the injury
- Whether the person sustained a permanent impairment
- The duration of the recovery
The figure is multiplied by a victim’s total economic damages to calculate the value of their non-economic damages. Cases involving permanent impairments, catastrophic injuries, and other significant damages receive higher multipliers.
The other method for calculating pain and suffering damages is the per diem method. A daily value is assigned based on the same factors used to assign a multiplier. The daily value is multiplied by the number of days between the date of injury and the date the doctors declare the patient has reached maximum medical improvement. The result would be the value of pain and suffering damages.
The multiplier method tends to be the most common method of calculating non-economic damages.
Proving You Are Entitled to Non-Economic Damages
Insurance companies often allege that a victim is exaggerating how much they suffered after an injury or accident.
You can help improve your chance of recovering maximum compensation for your pain and suffering by doing the following:
- Seek medical attention for your injuries as soon as possible after an accident
- Report all symptoms you experience to your physician
- If a symptom worsens, report it to your doctor immediately
- Follow your doctor’s treatment plan and keep all doctor’s appointments
- Stop using social media until your case is resolved (including allowing friends and family members to include you in posts)
- Document your recovery with photographs of your injuries
It can also be helpful to keep a pain and suffering journal. The journal includes details about your recovery, such as activities that you cannot perform, daily pain levels, changes in your relationship with family and friends, and your emotional struggles. Your journal can help your attorney prepare a compelling narrative that illustrates the level of suffering caused by the accident and injury.
Are Punitive Damages Non-Economic Damages?
Punitive damages do not compensate an accident victim for financial losses or pain and suffering. Instead, punitive damages “punish” the other party for gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing. They are a special type of non-compensatory damage available in just a few types of personal injury cases.
Call Our Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation
If you were injured in an accident, contact our law firm or call us at (717) 231-1640 to request your free consultation with one of our experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys. Let’s work together to get you the money you deserve for your injuries, financial losses, and other damages.
We serve all across the Lower Susquehanna River Valley region, and we have a team of personal injury lawyers in Harrisburg, York, Carbondale, Carlisle, Chambersburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and Wyomissing.