When you’ve been injured by another person’s negligence, there are two general types of damages a court can award: punitive damages and compensatory damages.
Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant or deter others from engaging in similar conduct. Here we’re going to focus on compensatory damages, which are further divided into two types: (1) economic damages and (2) non-economic damages.
Economic damages compensate the injured person for the financial cost of their injury. These damages may include medical expenses, lost income from a job, and the cost of property damage. For example, if a factory worker who earns $40,000 a year is hit by a car and is unable to work for a year, he may have a right to receive an award for economic damages that includes $40,000 in compensation for those lost wages. If he also has $20,000 in medical bills, that cost may also be included in the economic component of the award.
When an accident (for instance, a car accident) also includes a property component, damages may also include compensation for damaged or destroyed property.
Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, loss of consortium. These types of damages usually are much more difficult to calculate than economic damages. For instance, how can the pain and suffering resulting from an accident be calculated as a dollar amount? Calculation of economic damages is hard enough, but calculation of non-economic damages is a subtle science, requiring a high degree of skill and experience.
An experienced Missouri personal injury attorney is an invaluable resource for evaluating the damages you can expect to recover after your injury. The results of other cases with similar facts can be informative when calculating these types of damages, but there always will be differences that affect the calculation. Contact an experienced St. Louis personal injury attorney for an evaluation of your case as soon as possible if you or a loved on has been injured by another person’s negligence.
Photo Credit: Flickr Ken Teegardin