Accidents can forever alter lives. One moment you’re happy, and the next, you’re battling for life in the emergency room. Even survivors will have to put up with the mental trauma caused by accidents.
Victims must take the fight to the at-fault party. In addition to determining liability, victims can use personal injury law when calculating the damages in a personal injury case. This helps victims get the monetary compensation required to get their lives back on track.
This informative article will examine the intricate world of evaluating non-economic damages in personal injury law. This information will help victims be aware of what they’re eligible for when seeking compensation.
Comprehending Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages, commonly known as general damages, are the compensation awarded to a plaintiff in a personal injury case for intangible losses. Unlike economic damages, which can be easily quantified (e.g., medical bills or lost wages), non-economic damages are more subjective and encompass a range of emotional and psychological suffering. These include:
- Pain and Suffering: This encompasses the physical pain caused by the injury during and after recovery. Calculating pain and suffering damages involves assessing the severity of the pain, its duration, and the impact on the victim’s daily life.
- Mental Anguish: Victims may suffer from anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues due to injuries. These damages consider the psychological impact and the treatment needed.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Some injuries restrict a person’s ability to engage in activities they once enjoyed. This type of injury and the conditions that accompany it can be compensated for. The court assesses how the injury has diminished the victim’s quality of life.
- Loss of Consortium: This damage is awarded to the spouse or family members who have lost the victim’s companionship, support, or services.
- Disfigurement or Disability: Permanent physical disfigurement or disability can have a profound psychological or emotional impact on a person. Compensation may be given based on the extent and visibility of the condition.
Calculating Non-Economic Damages
Calculating non-economic damages is challenging due to their subjective nature. Unlike economic damages with clear dollar values, non-economic damages rely on various factors, including:
- The severity of Injuries: The higher the extent of the injuries, the higher the potential non-economic damages. More serious injuries, like paralysis or traumatic brain injuries, often result in larger awards.▪ Impact on Daily Life: Courts consider how the injuries affect the victim’s ability to perform daily activities, work, and enjoy life.
- Duration of Suffering: Longer-lasting pain and suffering typically leads to higher non-economic damages. Chronic pain or permanent disabilities often result in substantial awards.
- Age and Life Expectancy: The victim’s age and life expectancy can affect the calculation. Younger victims with longer life expectancies may receive more significant awards.
- Comparative Negligence: The non-economic damages awarded could be reduced if the plaintiff’s actions contributed to the injury.
With all the above factors in mind, your lawyer or the insurance adjuster will use any of the two methods below when calculating non-economic damages.
1. Multiplier Method: In this method, the lawyer or insurance adjuster will assign a number between 1.5 and 5 for your non-economic damages. This number is then multiplied by your economic damages to arrive at the final number.
2. Per Diem Method: In this method, you will be assigned a fixed rate per day for your non-economic damages. This rate is then multiplied by the number of days you suffer from the condition.
The statistics below provide insight into the significance of non-economic damages.
✔ A study by the RAND Corporation found that non-economic damages accounted for 57% of total compensation in medical malpractice cases.
✔ A survey by the American Bar Association reports that non-economic damages make up a significant portion of jury awards, often exceeding economic damages.
Non-economic damages in personal injury law play a crucial role in providing just compensation to victims for their intangible losses. While they are challenging to calculate, they are essential for addressing the emotional and psychological suffering endured by those injured due to someone else’s negligence.