Types of Damages in Personal Injury Cases Economic vs. Non-Economic

When someone files a personal injury claim or lawsuit, they’re pursuing both economic and non-economic damages. Understanding the differences between the two types can help you better communicate with your legal team and ensure they’ve accounted for every loss you’ve suffered after an accident. This page will explain what each of the two main types of personal injury damages covers. It’ll also demystify how your legal team calculates the specific amount of damages they should pursue for you.

If you’ve been injured in Phoenix because of someone else’s wrongdoing, the team from Silkman Law Firm Injury & Accident Lawyer can help. Call us today for a free case review.

Understanding Personal Injury Law

Personal injury law allows Arizonans to seek legal recourse if a negligent person caused physical harm. It can apply to many different types of scenarios, such as:

  • Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
  • Slip-and-fall accidents on other people’s property
  • Dog bites
  • Defective drugs and products
  • Injuries resulting from assault or other violent crime
  • Boat accidents
  • Uber and Lyft accidents
  • Wrongful death

A person is negligent when they disregard their duty of care to you. If your legal team can prove that someone acted negligently and caused you harm, a court could award you different types of monetary damages to support your recovery.

Economic Damages in Personal Injury Cases

Economic damages in personal injury lawsuits compensate someone for the financial losses related to their injury, such as the following:

  • Doctor visits
  • Medical bills for surgeries and procedures
  • Medications
  • Diagnostics and lab work
  • Hospital stays and other medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Physical therapy, occupational rehab, and household services
  • Modifications to your home that make it more accessible for you
  • Repairs to, or replacement for, property that was damaged in the accident
  • Medical-related travel expenses
  • Miscellaneous out-of-pocket expenses related to your recovery
  • Lost earning capacity

The critical thing to remember is that economic losses will always have a fixed monetary value, so they’re calculated using actual bills, receipts, and records. 

Finally, it’s crucial to note that you can pursue compensation for both past and future economic losses. Your legal team must work with experts to foresee injury-related expenses you will likely incur after the personal injury process ends. You should not have to pay these expenses out of pocket.

Non-Economic Damages in Personal Injury Cases

Non-economic damages in personal injury claims compensate someone for the “intangible” losses related to their injury. They include:

  • Physical pain
  • Emotional distress and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of ability to enjoy your hobbies and pastimes
  • Loss of ability to enjoy companionship with your spouse (loss of consortium)
  • Disabilities and permanent impairments the accident caused
  • Disfigurement and scarring

These losses go to the core of your life and well-being, and just as they’re “priceless” to you, they have no fixed monetary value from a legal standpoint. An experienced personal injury attorney can determine their value for a personal injury case.

Some states place limits, or “damage caps,” on how much a successful personal injury plaintiff can receive in non-economic damages. Arizona is not one of these states, even for the most severe personal injury cases. You deserve a personal injury attorney who will pursue total compensation for these significant losses.

How Are Damages Calculated?

The compensation from each case is based on the specific facts of the case, so there is no standard formula to calculate how much you could receive in personal injury damages. Both your legal team and the court must rely on the circumstances of the case, including:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • The circumstances of the accident
  • The extent to which the defendant was negligent
  • The long-term impact of the accident on your life

Your personal injury lawyer will start by calculating your economic damages. They’ll obtain and add up bills, receipts, pay stubs, and other documents related to the accident. Precision is critical in this part of the process, so they’ll work with medical and financial experts to get an accurate past and future assessment of your tangible losses.

Once your legal team has a final amount for economic damages, they’ll calculate your non-economic damages. Most personal injury attorneys use either of two different methods:

  • Per-diem method – Your lawyer will estimate the daily cost of your recovery, then multiply it by how many days your recovery is expected to take.
  • Multiplier method – Your lawyer will multiply your economic losses by a factor from 1.5 to 5. The specific multiplier they use will depend on how severe your injuries are and the extent of the defendant’s negligence.

How Do I Find Out If I Have a Case?

The first step to determining whether you have a case is to consider Arizona’s statute of limitations. This law establishes a two-year period from the day of the accident in which you can file a personal injury lawsuit. If you try to file after the period runs out, the court will dismiss your case. You’ll also have much lower chances of securing an out-of-court settlement from the responsible person’s insurer if you miss the lawsuit filing deadline.

Ultimately, it’s best to consult a personal injury claim lawyer to assess your case’s viability. Your legal team will consider the specifics of what happened to determine whether your claims have merit under the law. If they decide that filing a lawsuit would be a good path forward for you, they can begin their research and build a case on your behalf.

Remember that preparing a solid lawsuit takes time, and the two-year statutory filing window will start on the day of the accident. The earlier your legal team can start, the better your chances of a fair and just outcome. 

Contact Our Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney to Learn More

If a negligent party injured you, the Silkman Law Firm Injury & Accident Lawyer team is ready to evaluate your case and explain the nuances of Arizona’s personal injury law. Where larger firms often view clients as numbers, we stay client-focused and offer personalized, dedicated, and top-class service mindful of your goals. Past clients have praised our aggressive approach during insurance negotiations and in the courtroom. 

Accidents never wait for a convenient time, so our team is always available to answer your call. Contact our Midtown Phoenix office today for a free, no-obligation consultation.