The costs of an injury can make it challenging to heal and recover. An injury victim may be facing property damage, medical bills, and lost wages. Courts award economic damages to compensate a victim for these tangible harms. Non-economic damages compensate for intangible harms.
At The Law Office of Lino H. Ochoa, we want our clients to feel empowered and supported. Providing resources on various topics relating to personal injury cases is one way that we can empower our clients. This resource will explain the concept of economic damages in more depth.
What Are Economic Damages?
Economic damages are a type of damages awarded in personal injury cases. While non-economic damages address intangible losses, like emotional distress, economic damages address measurable financial losses. These damages reimburse the injured party for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and any other costs linked to the injury.
Both economic and non-economic damages are compensatory damages. This means that they compensate the plaintiff’s harm, rather than punish the defendant’s actions. Punitive damages, which are based on the defendant’s actions, are awarded less often.
The Significance of Economic Damages
Economic damages are the backbone of a strong personal injury claim. Economic damages are awarded to reimburse plaintiffs for the costs that they incurred due to the other party’s behavior. Awarding these damages promotes justice for the injured parties, so that they do not have to bear the costs of others’ behavior.
Economic damages ensure that the injured party is financially compensated for these losses. If the injury prevents the victim from working, economic damages can provide compensation for lost wages and pay for ongoing treatment for the injury. These damages can help the plaintiff maintain financial stability during the recovery process.
Examples of Economic Damages
Economic damages are calculated based on various factors. Any measurable cost the accident or injury caused can be compensated as part of a claim for economic damages. The plaintiff can claim the following kinds of expenses as economic damages:
- Medical Bills: The primary factor influencing economic damages is the cost of medical treatment. This encompasses hospital bills, surgeries, rehabilitation, prescription medications, and any other necessary medical care.
- Lost Wages: Economic damages compensate for any wages lost due to the injury. This includes time taken off work for medical appointments, recovery, and the inability to perform job-related tasks. A plaintiff may be able to obtain lost wages even if they are self-employed.
- Property Damage: One’s personal or commercial property may be damaged in the course of the accident. A plaintiff can claim the costs of any property damage arising from the accident. In cases involving vehicle accidents, economic damages often encompass the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property, such as a car.
- Future Expenses: Serious injuries may result in ongoing medical treatment, future surgeries, therapy, and long-term care. Economic damages are calculated to cover these anticipated expenses. Where economic damages compensate for future costs, they do so based on a projection of expected costs.
- Loss of Earning Capacity: An injury can reduce the types of work available to a plaintiff and thus cause a loss of earning capacity. This loss is different from lost wages. These damages are calculated based on a plaintiff’s age, field, and future earning potential, among other factors.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: Since an injury can impact the types of work one can do, an injury victim may need to go through vocational rehabilitation to transition to another kind of work. Plaintiffs can claim any costs associated with these programs as part of their non-economic damages.
- Making Prior Injuries Worse: An injury can have ripple effects on other parts of the body. The newer injury can cause existing injuries to worsen.
- Expert Testimony: In some cases, experts may provide testimony about the necessity and cost of future medical care. Their input can influence the calculation of economic damages.
It is important to note that economic damages are based on actual expenses and financial losses incurred due to the injury. Plaintiffs should keep receipts and documentation.
Contact Personal Injury Law Firm of The Law Office of Lino H. Ochoa in McAllen, TX
Economic damages are a crucial component of personal injury cases. These damages ensure that the injured party is fairly compensated for their tangible losses.
If you are bringing a claim, consult with an experienced McAllen personal injury attorney who can help you build a case for compensation. Most personal injury lawyers will meet with you to discuss your case free of charge.