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What Are Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

Were you recently injured in an accident due to no fault of your own? If you are considering filing a personal injury claim against the responsible party, which may be an individual, a business, or a government agency, soon you’ll be learning about “damages” in a personal injury case. What are they and what do they have to do with the claims process?

In a personal injury case, “damages” refers to the financial compensation the at-fault party provides to the injured party (plaintiff) for their losses. However, there are two types of damages in a personal injury case: economic damages and non-economic damages, which we’ll explain below.

Economic Damages Defined

Economic damages refer to the plaintiff’s measurable and quantifiable losses. The types of losses that are easily documented, such as:

  • Lost income
  • Property damage to a vehicle
  • Medical bills
  • Physical therapy
  • Medical devices
  • Funeral costs

Non-economic damages on the other hand, compensate a plaintiff for other losses that are not so easily measured. These types of losses aren’t supported by bills, repair estimates, and receipts but they are still very real. Non-economic damages include but are not limited to the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship
  • Emotional distress

For example, suppose a small child was viciously attacked by a large dog. As a result of the attack, the five-year-old boy suffered permanent scarring and disfigurement to his face. The young boy had to endure multiple reconstructive surgeries, but his face and ears were never the same.

As a result of his permanent scars, he was constantly bullied in school. He suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and had constant nightmares about dogs attacking him. And, because of his horrific scars, his personal life and future career possibilities were changed forever and not for the better.

In this case, the child’s family can pursue the dog’s owner for non-economic damages for pain and suffering on the child’s behalf. This is one example of non-economic damages, but there are other kinds that apply in many situations.

Related: Will My Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?

We hope this posts helps you better understand damages in a personal injury claim. To discuss your case in detail with a Schenectady personal injury lawyer, contact us today.