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Explaining the Difference Between Economic and Non-Economic Damages


Victims of motor vehicle crashes, pedestrian collisions, bicyclist collisions, slip and falls, premises accidents, and other unintentional injuries have only one means to justice and financial compensation—by filing a personal injury claim. The at fault parties who cause unintentional injuries are generally not punished in criminal court unless they were drinking and driving, committed a hit and run, or committed some other type of felony. As such, financial compensation is not simply money, it is justice and it can go a long way towards the healing process. However, there are many other practical reasons for maximizing one’s financial compensation, including covering your lost wages and earning capacity, as well as avoiding bankruptcy due to a mountain of medical bills—medical emergencies are, in fact, the most common cause of bankruptcy in America. An experienced attorney can help you maximize your compensation for both economic and non economic damages.

The Two Types of Personal Injury Damages

There are two categories of damages in a personal injury case: economic damages and non-economic damages. Examples of the two types of damages are as follows:

  • Economic Damages: Hospital bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity due to disability, home medical care, home housekeeping expenses, property damage, and future medical expenses for elective surgeries and physical therapy.
  • Non-Economic Damages: Lost joy of life, loss of consortium in wrongful death claims, permanent scarring and disfigurement, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.

The Value of Your Economic Versus Non-Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Claim

An economic damage has an actual monetary value. For instance, imagine that a 22-year-old Certified Professional Accountant (CPA) suffered a traumatic brain injury that caused her a permanent inability to work in her profession as a CPA. Her entry level job paid $40,000 per year with good health benefits for her family and a 401(k). Assume that she would have continued working as a CPA until retirement at 65 years old, which would have been 43 years. Take into account that, with raises and annual bonuses, the average Florida CPA earns $58,000 per year, according to Payscale. Over the next 43 years of her career, she would have likely earned $2,494,000 ($58,000 X 43yrs). This sum of nearly $2.5 million is easily calculable with a few simple factors such as salary, occupation, age, and her likely career trajectory. Other economic damages, such as past and current medical bills, are even easier to calculate because they have a direct dollar amount printed on the bill. But it is not quite so simple for pain and suffering, loss of joy of life, and other non-economic damages. These damages are calculated based on the severity of your injuries, and the total economic injuries you have, or your total medical expenses , may be multiplied by a factor of one to five depending on the severity of your injuries. They may also be based on psychological evaluation, the presence of PTSD, and many other factors. If the lawsuit is heard in court by a judge, a jury may decide what your non-economic damages are worth based on their empathy towards your situation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Our Orlando Personal Injury Lawyers Are Waiting For Your Call

The value of a victim’s economic and non-economic damages takes time to understand, and our experienced Orlando personal injury attorneys know how to maximize both by negotiating with insurance companies and taking them to court when necessary. To get started today, call the Payer Law at 866-930-1238 to schedule a free consultation.


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