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Difference Between Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages

In Pennsylvania, an injured accident victim can file a personal injury claim in pursuit of damages, or financial compensation, for losses connected to another person’s negligent or wrongful acts. Two categories of compensatory damages are available: economic and non-economic. Learn more about how much your particular case might be worth by contacting Dallas W. Hartman P.C., Attorneys at Law for a free consultation.

What Are Economic Damages?

Economic damages are the financial or monetary losses suffered by the plaintiff, or filing party, due to an accident. They are also referred to as specific, tangible or pecuniary damages. An accident victim may be able to recover compensation for many different economic damages.

Common examples include:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Rehabilitation and therapy
  • Medications and prescriptions
  • Disability or impairment
  • Medical or assistive devices
  • Home or vehicle modifications 
  • Property damage repairs or replacement
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future capacity to earn due to a disability
  • Legal costs and attorney fees
  • Wrongful death damages, such as funeral and burial costs
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses, such as transportation

Economic damages are often concrete in nature since the victim will have bills, employment records and other documentation establishing a clear value. However, financial experts and accountants may be needed to accurately estimate future economic damages, such as foreseeable necessary medical care.

What Are Non-Economic Damages?

Non-economic damages, or pain and suffering, refer to the non-monetary losses caused by an accident or injury. They are also known as general, intangible or non-pecuniary damages. A victim can be compensated for a variety of losses suffered that do not have a financial cost.

Examples include:

  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Physical pain
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Psychological trauma
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Grief or mental distress from the loss of a loved one

Non-economic damages are often subjective. They do not come with a specific dollar value; instead, they are calculated based on how much the accident and injury appear to have impacted the victim’s life. 

How Are Non-Economic Damages Calculated?

Non-economic damages are often calculated using the Multiplier Method or Per Diem Method, although a jury does not have to use an equation unless desired. The first method multiplies the victim’s total amount of economic damages by a numeric value deemed appropriate for the severity of the injuries (0.5 to 5), while the second multiplies a daily value (often equivalent to a day’s wages) by the number of days the injury is expected to last.

What Is the Average Value of a Personal Injury Claim?

It would be inaccurate to estimate the potential value of your case based on a perceived “average settlement amount.” Every case is too unique for a one-size-fits-all settlement value. Settlement amounts are based on factors specific to each case, such as injury severity, the number of liable parties and the victim’s comparative negligence. 

A Pittsburgh personal injury attorney at Dallas W. Hartman P.C., Attorneys at Law can carefully review your case to help determine its potential value. We can calculate economic damages using the bills and costs you have suffered, while we can estimate non-economic damages based on the gravity of your injuries and how long it will take you to recover, if at all. Contact us today at (800) 777-4081 to request a free case review.

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