After an accident or injury, many people focus on the economic losses they incur. For example, victims of car accidents may have substantial medical expenses and lost wages.
It is normal to be worried about the financial damages caused by a personal injury. However, an injured person has more damages than just medical bills.
An injury can cause numerous non-economic damages. These damages are just as devastating as economic losses. In some ways, non-economic damages can have a more significant long-term impact on a person’s life.
What Are Non-Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Case?
Non-economic damages are often referred to as “pain and suffering” damages; they represent the physical and emotional consequences of an accident and injury. In personal injury cases, an injured party can receive compensation for these types of damages.
The emotional and mental trauma caused by an injury can be debilitating. Some individuals may not be able to perform activities of daily life because they experience severe anxiety, PTSD, or depression. In addition, injuries may cause chronic, severe pain that impairs a person’s ability to concentrate or perform physical tasks.
Accident victims deserve to be compensated for these damages. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering caused by accident injuries
- Loss of enjoyment of life and reduced quality of life
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Psychological and emotional disorders
- Embarrassment and suffering from scarring and disfigurement
- The impact of a permanent impairment or disability on a person’s life
Proving non-economic damages can be challenging. There is not a bill or invoice that shows the value of your pain and suffering.
Keeping a journal of how your injuries impacted your daily life, health care, and relationships with family members can help. The details in your journal may assist your attorney in preparing a compelling argument for maximum non-economic damages. Try to include photos of your injuries during your recovery and detailed information about tasks you cannot perform, pain levels, and your emotional state.
How Do You Calculate the Value of Non-Economic Damages?
There is not a legal standard for putting a price on a person’s pain and suffering. Kentucky does not have a statutory formula for calculating the value of non-economic damages. However, many insurance companies and courts use a multiplier or per diem to determine the value of damages awarded for pain and suffering.
The multiplier method is commonly used to calculate the value of pain and suffering damages. A number between 1.5 and five is multiplied by the total economic damages for the case. Economic damages include, but are not limited to:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Reduced earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket expenses
The multiplier chosen for the case is based on several factors. Generally, the more severe the injuries, the higher the multiplier. For example, a person who is paralyzed because of a spinal cord injury has a higher multiplier than a person who sustained a minor fracture.
Per Diem Method
The per diem method is used less often than the multiplier method. This method is better suited for cases that do not involve catastrophic injuries and have a short recovery period.
A daily amount (per diem) is assigned based on the severity of injuries and other factors. The per diem is multiplied by the person’s recovery period. The recovery period begins with the injury date and ends when the person is released from medical care upon achieving maximum medical recovery.
Maximum medical recovery is the point at which no further medical care will improve the person’s condition. If you sustain a permanent impairment because of an accident, the multiplier method may have a higher value for non-economic damages.
Loss of Consortium Claims in Kentucky
Loss of consortium claims may be brought for non-economic losses resulting from an injury to or wrongful death of a spouse. The non-injured spouse may recover damages because of a loss of love, affection, companionship, intimacy, and society.
A parent may claim loss of consortium for the loss of affection and companionship of a child in a wrongful death case. Likewise, children may claim loss of consortium for the death of a parent. However, emancipated children do not have this right.
Are Punitive Damages the Same as Non-Economic Damages?
No, punitive damages are a separate category of damages awarded in some personal injury lawsuits. Punitive damages do not compensate the injured party for losses. Instead, the damages are awarded to “punish” the at-fault party for acting with fraud, oppression, or malice toward the injured party.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Lexington Personal Injury Lawyers
If you were injured because of another party’s negligence or wrongdoing, you might be entitled to compensation for damages. Contact our law office to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys in Lexington, KY.