What are non-economic damages?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2021 | Personal injury |

Victims injured due to the negligence of others can seek damages or compensation. This will consider such economic factors as lost income while recovering from the injury, future income potential because the injury may permanently impact the victim’s future earning potential, and medical expenses. The victim and their attorney can also pursue non-economic damages for enduring a traumatic event. Common examples of this include “pain and suffering,” emotional distress, loss of society and companionship, even humiliation, but there may be other unique factors.

Damage caps in California

Some states put a cap on the amount of non-economic damages. California, for example, singles out specific circumstances for non-economic damages caps:

  • Medical malpractice: $250,000
  • Traffic incidents: No damages if victims who were impaired or uninsured (unless the other driver was impaired)
  • Convicted felons: No damages if victims injured while committing a felony

Pain and suffering

California has a relatively broad classification for pain and suffering, but it can still be challenging to define.  There can be pain and suffering due to severe physical injury that causes ongoing or long-term physical pain, but there may also be lingering mental pain and suffering. Examples of this include post-traumatic stress disorder endured by war veterans or other mental health issues like fear, anxiety or shame. These can prevent the victims from resuming their life or enjoy the life they lived before their traumatic injuries.

There is a window of opportunity

There are specific statutes of limitation for filing a personal injury claim. Depending upon the injury’s circumstances, the amount of time will vary, but the limit is often two years. The severely injured should seek medical treatment to begin their recovery and document the nature of the injuries. If they are victims of someone else’s negligence, it is also smart to reach out to a personal injury attorney to discuss the injury’s details. The attorney can then offer their analysis of the case, including any potential non-economic damages.