What are Non-Economic Losses for a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
No doubt you’re well aware of the loss to your pocket. When you’re in an accident, you may find yourself straddled with bills that seemingly come out of nowhere. First, there’s the obvious – the sudden onslaught of medical expenses. To top it off, your income may be affected if you become incapacitated due to your injuries. These are some basic economic losses. So, what in the world are non-economic losses in a personal injury lawsuit?
For starters, you might think of non-economic losses as a bit intangible. They do not represent money damages. Therefore, that doesn’t only exclude bills and loss of income. In fact, economic losses also future loss of earnings and property damage expenses.
Non-economic damages are more abstract. For example, there’s no magic number that can quantify the amount of pain and suffering you endure as the result of an accident. There’s also consideration for loss of enjoyment you undergo because you can’t engage in activities you previously found to be fun. (Maybe you loved competing in marathons – and your injuries will prevent you from every participating again.)
Your spouse may also make a claim for non-economic losses as a result of your injury claim. The legal definition of a loss of consortium represents the deprivation of a couple to engage in marital relations. This can be a concern for those who suffer devastating harm as a result of an accident.
Proving Non-Economic Losses
It goes without saying that it is far easier to prove economic damages when compared with non-economic losses. The assembly of documentation often speaks for itself. So, what about showing a case for the non-economic loss?
Consider the case of an infant injured in a car crash. The child is under the age of one and is unable to speak yet. How can legal counsel provide proof of the baby’s pain? Is it enough that the child cries day after day?
Of course, a review of the infant’s injuries provides some insight into the extent of suffering. However, there’s more. A review of the medical records provides documentation that the child is constantly sedated with pain medication. The list of meds is submitted to the defendant’s insurance company who has no choice but to recognize the child’s pain levels.
Imagine the beautiful lady who becomes disfigured as a result of an accident. Surgery after surgery – and the transformation never returns to normal. When the woman testifies during her deposition, the tears are streaming down her face. There’s no way that defense counsel will want to risk a trial.
In the meantime, you should know that some states put caps on non-economic damage awards. New Jersey is not one of them.