Non-Economic Damages

A personal injury accident can result in a wide range of consequences. You might be left with mounting medical bills on top of other expenses, and these costs might become prohibitively expensive if you’ve had to miss work due to your injuries. You might also be dealing with significant pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other similar types of ailments. 

You can pursue compensation for each of these categories as well as many others. There are two broad types of damages you can recover from a personal injury claim: economic damages and non-economic damages (also referred to as pain and suffering damages). This article will discuss each type of damages but will focus on the latter.

Types of Damages in Louisiana Personal Injury Cases

Types of Damages in Louisiana Personal Injury Cases

There are two types of compensatory damages you can receive as part of a personal injury claim in Louisiana: economic damages and non-economic damages. There is a third type of damages, called punitive damages, but they are only awarded in especially rare cases in Louisiana – such as when an egregiously drunk driver seriously injures another person.

Economic damages, as the name suggests, focus on the financial consequences of your personal injury accident (such as a car or truck accident). Examples of economic damages include:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Decreased earning capacity
  • Rehabilitation
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Repair costs

For most of these categories, you can collect compensation for expenses that have already been incurred as well as those that you will incur in the future. Economic damages are relatively easy to calculate. As the personal injury victim, you’ll need to supply evidence in support of your damages claim. You might provide things such as your medical receipts, pay stubs, and invoices to arrive at an adequate figure.

When it comes to non-economic damages, however, things can be more complex.

Examples of Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages represent the other, not as easy to quantify consequences of your personal injury accident. Some examples of non-economic damages include, but are not limited to:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of consortium
  • PTSD
  • Emotional distress
  • Scarring 
  • Depression
  • Disfigurement 

This is not a complete list of the types of non-economic damages you can receive, but they are some of the most common. Most of the non-financial consequences of your injuries can be represented in your non-economic damages claim, so long as you can support them with evidence and so long as they are sufficiently tied to the accident itself.

It can be more difficult to provide evidence of non-economic damages. You might, for example, support your claim with analysis and testimony from an expert. Alternatively, you may provide testimony from people close to you that can describe the suffering that the accident has caused you. In some cases, certain medical records may also serve as evidence for non-economic damages.

How Are Non-Economic Damages Calculated?

Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify than economic damages, as there is no concrete way to assign a dollar value to something like anxiety or scarring. Importantly, your non-economic damages claim might very well make up the majority of your overall damages claim – so it behooves you to calculate the amount as best as possible.

Two procedures are commonly used to calculate non-economic damages: these are referred to as the per diem method and the multiplier method.

Per diem is a Latin term that means “per day.” With this method, you will determine a dollar figure that fairly represents the non-economic damage categories mentioned above. You will then multiply this amount by the number of days you have experienced those consequences. It is critical not to underestimate this daily value; the other party to your case certainly will try to dispute the amount.

The multiplier method is more common than the per diem method. With the multiplier method, you will multiply your economic damages claim by a number between 1.5 and 5, depending on the seriousness of your non-economic damages. As with the per diem method, it is crucial to argue for as high a multiplier as possible – you can be assured the other side will try for the lowest possible number.

Many people are unaware that they can pursue compensation for their pain and suffering after an accident. The truth is that in most cases, the victim has incurred more non-economic damages than economic damages. 

In either event, claiming non-economic damages can undoubtedly increase the value of your claim – assuming they are articulated correctly and are supported by evidence. There are generally no damage caps for personal injury cases in Louisiana unless your case involves medical malpractice or suing a governmental entity, meaning you may end up receiving a significant amount.

If you hire a Lafayette personal injury attorney, you’ll have a legal professional to help with every aspect of your claim, including your non-economic damages. Your lawyer can hire experts to analyze your case and calculate a fair amount, if necessary, and they can also argue for a personal injury settlement that fully represents all of your losses. 

Most personal injury lawyers in the area offer a free consultation to review your case, so it won’t hurt your pocket to reach out for legal help.

Schedule a free consultation with our personal injury attorneys at Kenny Habetz Injury Law to discuss the details of your case at (337) 399-9000.