When it comes to civil liability the remedy is almost always money. Unlike criminal law, in a civil case you can’t put the defendant in jail. So, when a civil litigant is injured, money (with few exceptions) is what he or she seeks from the defendant.
Money damages can be recovered in both tort cases (e.g. fraud, breach of contract) and personal injury cases (negligence). In this post, we are looking only at economic loss as it relates to personal injury cases.
The purpose of money damages in a personal injury case is to make the defendant compensate the plaintiff for the injury or damages he or she has suffered. In other words, to put the plaintiff in as good a position (not better) as he would have been if the accident or injury had never occurred.
A plaintiff in a personal injury case can recover two types of money damages: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages refer to non-monetary losses. They encompass things like, injury to reputation, mental distress, fear, humiliation, loss of sleep, loss of consortium etc. In the context of a personal injury action, “pain and suffering” often refers to these non-economic damages.
Economic damages, on the other hand, refer to monetary losses. Things like lost wages, medical bills, and property damage come within this category.
Recovery for Economic Loss in a Personal Injury Action.
Unlike non-economic or pain and suffering damages, recovery for economic loss related to an accident or injury is generally easier to prove and easier to obtain. Very often a person’s economic losses can be calculated from documents, like medical bills, repair bills. Some economic damages you could recover in a personal injury case are:
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
- Car repairs
- Money to pay for household services you can no longer perform
- Lost future wages (future income).
Certain economic damages, like lost earning capacity (wages you might have earned) can get a little complicated to establish. Some things the court will look at are: the plaintiff’s age, health, life expectancy, occupation, talents, skill, experience, and training. Past earnings are a factor in determining lost earning capacity, but the claim itself focuses on what might have been earned “but for” the accident. Remember, an experienced attorney can explain all your options to you and can help you receive all compensation you are entitled to.
Hire Personal Injury Counsel.
Economic loss is an important part of every personal injury case. We are here to help. We offer free consultations and we have offices throughout Oregon and in Washington. Contact us and set up your free consultation today!