The word “damages” always comes up when discussing personal injury lawsuits. For someone who has suffered a personal injury, the impact goes far beyond physical pain and often leads to a cascade of financial losses. This creates various economic burdens on the affected individual. If you’ve been injured in an accident and are trying to figure out what to do next, categorizing the various forms of economic losses in a personal injury should be your first step.
Understanding and categorizing the economic losses involved in a personal injury is crucial for the affected individual and the legal professional seeking compensation. In most cases, claimants seek two types of damages: non-economic and economic. This article will discuss the intricate landscape of economic losses in personal injury to give you a clear idea of what to do.
The Fundamentals of Compensatory Damages
The focus of personal injury litigation is to award compensatory damages. These are monetary compensation awarded to the injured party to compensate for injury, property damages, and other incurred losses in connection with the accident. Compensatory damages aim to restore the financial position an injured individual would have been in if the injury had not occurred.
Economic losses are a component of compensatory damages that represent quantifiable and verifiable financial harm to the injured party. To receive compensation, you must prove that a loss occurred and resulted from the injury. Also, you need to quantify that loss in the eyes of the judge or a jury.
Classifying Losses: Economic Vs. Non-Economic
As mentioned, you must quantify your losses and prove they resulted from the injury. Thus, it is critical to distinguish between your economic and non-economic losses. First, economic losses are identified as situations where the injured party loses money – a visible loss that can be accounted for through any legitimate financial statement.
Often called special damages, economic losses are fairly and efficiently calculated because they are actual money spent or lost. These include medical bills, lost wages because of missed work, property damage, and future treatment costs related to the injury sustained.
On the other hand, non-economic losses are all about the pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, and emotional distress caused by the injury. While economic and non-economic damages warrant compensation, the latter is much less easy to quantify and demonstrate.
Economic damages, also called “special damages,” are the tangible, out-of-pocket costs spent due to an injury. These damages can be calculated relatively directly because they represent money spent or lost due to the incident. Its purpose is to replace what the injured person lost financially.
Understanding Economic Loss: Consequential and Pure
There are two divisions within economic losses: pure and consequential. Consequential economic losses result from the injured individual’s inability to use equipment or business property. Some consequential economic losses include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and loss of household services.
Medical expenses include past, present, and future medical costs related to treating the injury from the accident. Such expenses also cover emergency care and ongoing rehabilitation. This category also includes costs of medical bills, medication, therapy, and even assistive devices. On the other hand, lost wages cover missed workdays and potential reduction of the ability to earn. Lost wages also cover bonuses, promotions, and future career opportunities.
When seeking consequential economic losses, damage to personal properties related to the injury should also be covered. The most common type of this is damaged vehicles involved in accidents. If the injured individual cannot perform household chores and needs to hire services, the cost is covered in this type of economic damage.
Pure economic losses are the other type of economic loss. These include loss of support, bystander recovery, and negligent misrepresentation. If the injury prevents the individual from providing financially for his dependents, it translates into pure economic losses for the family.
Another example of pure economic loss is when the injured victim’s family has witnessed the accident and suffers emotional distress; it is covered in the bystander recovery laws. Lastly, if some statements or omissions cause harm, even without physical injury, it can be categorized as pure economic loss.
Additional Considerations for Economic Losses
When calculating economic losses, you must consider future expenses, tax implications, and the collateral source rule. The cost of medical care for chronic conditions related to the injury or any ongoing disability support must be factored into the calculation. Tax implications and collateral source rule should also be considered. This means calculating economic loss must be adjusted for any taxes paid on compensation received or insurance payouts.
Seeking and Ensuring Fair Compensation
Economic losses may be easy to identify and understand but difficult to calculate. One needs to access dozens of medical bills and pages of medical records to estimate the monetary value accurately. In addition to that, you also need to understand any long-term effect an injury may have. The most common mistake for people seeking economic damages is falling into the trap of quick settlements and suffering long-term financial losses.
Thus, gathering and providing as much evidence as possible is crucial. Such evidence might include pay stubs, medical bills, and estimates for property damages. Understanding all the nuances within the landscape of personal injury law is also essential. You must have all the evidence to determine if you have a valid claim.
Understanding the nuances and categories of economic losses gives you the power to quantify and present a claim accurately. Document all the necessary evidence and consult a legal expert to help you navigate the situation and fight for the proper compensation. Keep in mind that your journey to recovery starts with lifting the financial burdens.
When you’re navigating personal injury claims and the complexities of economic losses, you may get overwhelmed and confused, especially if you’re unfamiliar with legal terminologies. As such, you need clarity and organization to seek compensatory damages and effectively get the justice you deserve. Remember that each case is different, and you can’t infer from other cases. Talk to a qualified legal counsel who can help and advise you based on your specific circumstances.