What Are Non-Economic Damages?

An accident or injury can result in substantial economic losses for an accident victim, including medical bills and lost wages. However, an injured person may also sustain non-economic damages because of the accident and injury. These damages can result in significant emotional anguish and physical pain.

Non-economic damages represent the suffering and pain an injury victim experiences. You can recover compensation for your pain and suffering by filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. 

What Types of Non-Economic Damages Can I Recover for a Personal Injury Case?

Non-economic damages can make up a significant part of an injury claim. The types of damages you can recover for non-economic losses include:

  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Mental anguish
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Impairments and disabilities
  • Physical pain and discomfort
  • Embarrassment and anxiety 

Be prepared to provide proof of your non-economic damages. Your doctor and medical experts may testify about the emotional fallout from your injury. Likewise, friends and family members may testify about how your injury has impacted your relationships.

However, it comes down to how convincing you are when describing your pain and suffering.

Keep a Pain and Suffering Journal 

Many victims forget about the suffering they endured during the early days of their recovery. They may not recall how they struggled to perform activities of daily living. Victims may forget how depressed they became because they could not participate in hobbies.

Keeping a journal about your accident injuries can help you recall important details that demonstrate the extent of your suffering. In your journal, note your daily emotional condition and pain level. Keep track of nightmares and flashbacks, as well as the things you miss because of your injuries.

What is Loss of Consortium?

A loss of consortium claim is a type of non-economic damage. The claim is for loss of the family relationship when a spouse is injured. The non-injured spouse may recover compensation for loss of companionship, love, society, support, affection, and intimacy.

Are Punitive Damages Included in Non-Economic Damages?

No, a claim for punitive damages is separate from a claim for non-economic damages. Punitive damages are only awarded in a small number of personal injury cases. A jury awards punitive damages to “punish” the defendant for intentional harm or gross negligence. 

Although the damages are directly related to the defendant’s conduct, they are paid to the plaintiff. The damages are also intended to deter the defendant and other parties from committing the same acts in the future. 

How Do You Calculate the Value of Non-Economic Damages?

It is impossible to put a price on a person’s pain and suffering. However, a monetary award is the only remedy the court can offer an injured victim. The court cannot undo the injury or pain, but it can hold the at-fault party financially liable for the victim’s suffering. 

There is no statutory formula for calculating the value of non-economic damages. However, the courts and insurance companies generally use one of two methods to value pain and suffering damages.

Per Diem Method

The per diem method is not used as often as the multiplier method. It is best suited for cases with short recovery periods that do not involve permanent impairments.

A daily amount is chosen based on several factors, including but not limited to:

  • The type and severity of the injury
  • The duration of the recovery
  • Whether the injuries resulted in permanent disfigurement, disability, or impairment
  • The impact of the injuries on the victim’s daily life

The more severe the injury and the more significant impact the injury has on the victim’s life, the higher the per diem.

The per diem is multiplied by the number of days it took for the victim to recover from their injuries. Generally, the recovery period begins on the date of the injury and ends when the doctor states the patient has recovered as fully as possible. 

Multiplier Method

Insurance companies commonly use this method to value non-economic damages claims. A multiplier between 1.5 and five is assigned to the case based on similar factors to those described above. The higher the multiplier, the more money you receive for non-economic damages. 

The total economic damages multiplied by the multiplier is the value of economic damages. The insurance company will always choose the lowest multiplier possible to avoid paying a large settlement. Your attorney uses the information about your injuries and details from your journal to develop a compelling argument for a higher multiplier. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Lawyer 

You have the burden of proving you are entitled to receive compensation for your damages. Our Fort Walton Beach personal injury attorney and staff work with you to document damages to maximize your recovery.

Call our law firm today to request your free consultation with an experienced injury lawyer to discuss your case.