What are Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

The primary purpose of filing a personal injury claim is to pursue and recover financial compensation from an at-fault party for a victim’s damages. When a settlement or verdict is obtained, the at-fault party’s insurance company pays the verdict or settlement. This is intended to put the victim back into the position they were in before the accident, or to make them whole once again, including a monetary amount for the pain and suffering the injured person endured.

But we all know this isn’t always possible. For injured persons, damages are more than just financial, and a victim can never be the same after a serious accident. Therefore, several types of damages exist in accident law and are awarded in successful personal injury cases. But many people are confused about what the term damages represents in personal injury tort law.

Continue reading to learn what damages are in relation to accident lawsuits, and the difference between economic and non-economic damages.

Indiana Accident Attorneys 317-881-2700
Indiana Accident Attorneys 317-881-2700

Personal Injury Damages and Losses

Damages that result from a personal injury caused by a negligent party are generally losses. These losses can be financial, emotional, physical, and mental. Depending on the types of losses experienced following a personal injury, damages can be economic, non-economic, punitive, or a combination of all three. There are also damages known as nominal damages, which are small sums of compensation that are awarded to acknowledge that a victim, although not seriously injured or subject to substantial financial losses, was still violated in terms of their rights.

Facts About Economic Damages

Economic damages, also known as compensatory damages or general damages, are the calculable financial losses that can be defined by an actual dollar amount and redeemed through financial compensation. Economic damages include hospital bills (i.e., hospitalization, ambulance transport, anesthesia, emergency room services, surgeries, doctor care, x-rays, MRI’s, etc.), medical expenses (i.e., physical therapy, medical equipment, medication, etc.) lost wages from time off work, property damages, lost benefits from spouses’ death (i.e., insurance, veteran benefits, etc.), in-home nurse, and anything else that was a direct financial loss to the victim or their family.

Facts About Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more difficult to assign a dollar amount to because they are not direct and tangible monetary losses, like medical bills and lost wages. Instead, they are damages awarded for emotional or mental losses and tribulations. Examples of non-economic losses include pain and suffering damages, mental anguish or illness (i.e., depression, anxiety, etc.), loss of companionship (i.e., wrongful death, brain damage to loved one, paralysis of loved one that changes or prohibits the relationship, etc.), long-term medical care or medication dependencies, diminished quality of life, permanent disabilities, loss of ability to work, and more.

Understanding Punitive Damages

For very malicious or egregious acts, a judge or jury might also award punitive damages depending on the circumstances of a case. These are different from economic and non-economic damages because they are not intended to put a victim back into the same position they were in before an injury or accident, at least as much as possible. Although punitive damages are still paid in part to the plaintiff, they are meant to be more of a punishment for the at-fault party. They are intended to set a public example and double as a deterrent for the type of gross negligence involved in the case.

Are you ready to speak with a licensed injury attorney about obtaining compensation following your wrongful accident? Contact the Law Office of Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to schedule a free initial case evaluation for your personal injury claim in Indianapolis, Indiana. Act now before evidence is lost and time runs out on your claim. We represent clients all throughout the state.

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The Most Common Types of Damages Awarded in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Those who are injured wrongfully by a reckless or negligent party should not be financially liable for their damages and losses. Wrongfully injured victims deserve justice, and that justice by law comes in the form of full and fair compensation for everything from medical expenses and hospital bills, to lost wages, pain, suffering, disability, and much more. These types of losses all fit under one of two categories of damages, economic and non-economic. Within these two umbrella categories lies several other types of damages that are and should be awarded in personal injury cases. As an injured victim hurt in an accident that was not your fault, you deserve to know which types of damages you are entitled to under the law.

Continue reading to review the most common types of damages in personal injury lawsuits, and where to get trusted advice on your claim.

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Indianapolis IN Personal Injury Law Firm 317-881-2700

Economic and Non-Economic Personal Injury Damages

Economic damages represent quantifiable losses that are documented, and therefore, can be more precisely calculated. Examples of such damages include hospital bills, medical expenses, gas money spent traveling to and from doctor’s visits, lost wages from missing time at work, and similar out-of-pocket costs. Non-economic damages are the opposite, as they are more difficult to put a figure to. However, these types of damages are even more impactful and deserving of compensation, such as pain and suffering, emotional trauma, mental anguish, loss of consortium, loss of ability to work, permanent disfigurement or disability, and similar losses experienced by a personal injury victim.

Compensatory Damages – Economic damages, like hospital bills and medical treatment, are types of compensatory damages, or actual damages. They can be traced and calculated.

General Damages – General damages are also known as hedonic damages, and they represent non-economic damages like pain and suffering or reduced quality of life.  These are the damages that injured persons are entitled to under the law and any settlement or award for these types of damages should be substantial if the injury was substantial.

Special Damages – There is also another category known as special damages, which are awarded for things like property damage, legal fees, and even incidental and future damages, if eligible.

Punitive Damages

Courts may also award additional punishable damages in special cases of extreme offensive conduct including gross negligence. These are called punitive damages, or exemplary damages, and are more intended to reprimand the wrong-doer rather than award the victim (although the victim still receives a percentage of the monetary compensation awarded). Punitive damages are awarded in cases where victims suffered losses as a result of another’s maliciousness, brazenness, or gross negligence. They are intended to set an example, as well as reform the wrong-doer and deter others from similar immoral behaviors.

Aggravated Damages

Aggravated damages are not a separate category of damages, but rather an extension of general damages that fall under compensatory damages. Aggravated damages are essentially the same as punitive damages, since they are awarded for cases of egregious invidious conduct, however, they are directly compensatory in nature. Punitive damages are meant to punish, whereas aggravated damages are meant to monetarily compensate a victim for aggravated injuries sustained by a defendant’s extreme malevolent conduct.

To learn more details about the common damages awarded in a personal injury claim, speak with a licensed Indiana accident lawyer who has the knowledge and experienced necessary to obtain the full and fair compensation you deserve as a wrongfully injured victim.

Learn More About Making a Personal Injury Claim in Indianapolis, Indiana

Call the Law Office of Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to learn your rights to being compensated for your damages and losses after being wrongfully injured in Indianapolis, Indiana. Our seasoned personal injury lawyers retain extensive trial and litigation experience, and never collect attorney fees unless we obtain a settlement or verdict for you. Contact us today to schedule a free initial case evaluation, and explore your claim’s strength with a skilled injury lawyer. We serve clients in and around Indianapolis, and all throughout the state of Indiana. Act now before evidence is lost and time runs out on your claim!

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How Do Insurance Companies Estimate Compensation for Accident Victims?

One of the most common questions accident lawyers hear from potential clients has to do with the amount of compensation an insurance company will offer for the losses and damages incurred after suffering a personal injury. The challenge with this inquiry is that there is more than just one answer. Injury claim recompense can be a tricky value to estimate upfront because there are so many variables involved and because no accident claim is the same.

Continue reading to learn some basics about how insurance companies might estimate the amount of compensation they will pay out for an accident claim.

Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys 317-881-2700

Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys

Evaluation of Related Damages and Losses

An insurance company will initially look at what they are compensating you for. There could be a number of damages that validate compensation, such as hospital bills, medical expenses, lost wages, prolonged physical therapy, permanent handicap or disability, loss of companionship, loss of ability to perform work duties, reduced quality of life, emotional distress, physical pain, damaged property, and any other aspect of life that was negatively affected as a result of the injury. Once an insurance company makes this assessment, the next step in the standard claim process is generally the insurance company’s losses and damages formula.

Losses and Damages Formulas

The damages formula is exactly what it sounds like; it formulates a victim’s losses and damages into a numeric value. Insurance companies use the same damage formula to attain what it believes to be a fair and reasonable dollar value that is equivalent to the total amount of damages suffered by a claimant. The complicated part is assigning an appropriate dollar value for pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, and other non-economic damages. See our article, “The Difference Between Economic and Non-Economic Damages”, to learn more about such damages.

An Example of How a Formula Might Work

Although it differs from carrier to carrier, the basic process of using the damages formula involves calculating the total dollar amounts for hospital and medical expenses. This is the principle figure the insurance company uses to determine the dollar amount assigned to pain and suffering. For minor injuries, the insurance adjuster may multiply the principle number by a predesignated lower numerical value, such as 1.5 or 2.

However, the more serious the injury, the higher number, which can be as high as 5. If the injuries result in long-lasting or permanent implications, such as an amputation, medical condition, or disability, the number may go all the way up to 10. Once this value is calculated, the insurance company adds on any additional compensation necessary for losses, such as lost income from missing work, and similar economic losses.

It Takes More Than a Formula

Although the insurance company damages formula is complete at this stage, their final figure is not the amount of compensation that will be recovered. It is just the foundation used by the insurance companies and personal injury attorneys during negotiations. The number may increase if the accident attorney can prove more damages, or the extensiveness of damages. Also during negotiations, the percentage of fault among each party is assessed and applied to the deciding factors of the case. This is a central reason why you need a seasoned Indianapolis personal injury lawyer to represent your best interests after being injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another.

Get Started on Your Claim Today

Personal Injury Law Firm 317-881-2700

Personal Injury Law Firm

Call The Law office of Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to make a personal injury claim in Indiana. Our seasoned Indianapolis accident lawyers are ready and able to recover the full and fair compensation you deserve. Not only does our law firm offer free consultations, we never collect lawyer fees unless we prevail for you!