What Are Non-Economic Damages in a Settlement?
Immediately after being injured in an accident, you will be confronted with making important decisions. These decisions will affect the settlement value of your case. For example, waiting too long to seek medical treatment and not consulting with an attorney early on may be detrimental to obtaining a favorable outcome.
After the accident and during the settlement process, you will hear the word “damages” thrown around. In short, “damages” refer to the injuries and losses you suffered due to the accident. Victims with severe injuries are generally awarded greater damages, and vice versa.
Two types of damages can be sought in settlements – economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages reflect the out-of-pocket expenses you took on as a result of the accident. Examples include hospital bills and lost wages. Economic damages are easy to calculate because they are quantifiable. You can set a numerical value to them. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are harder to calculate because they are subjective and will vary on a case-by-case basis. Non-economic damages reflect the emotional and mental pain and suffering that were brought by your injuries. Don’t go through the daunting task of figuring out these damages yourself; let your attorney do the legwork in framing your settlement demand.
If you have been recently involved in an accident and are severely injured, talk to one of our attorneys at Terry Bryant to learn more about your legal options. Don’t wait. To schedule your free consultation, call the Terry Bryant law firm at 713-973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000.
Following these steps will improve your chances of receiving the fair compensation you deserve
To ensure that you receive the fair compensation you deserve, there are several steps you should take to protect your rights. The longer you wait to act, the more ammunition you may be giving to the insurance company to use against you.
Seek Immediate Medical Treatment. Immediately after the accident, you should seek out medical attention. Why?
- Obtaining medical treatment early on will safeguard your health and overall well-being.
- Obtaining an initial medical diagnosis can help identify injuries that may have gone unnoticed. During the moments after an accident, you may not be feeling pain or maybe under the mindset that the pain you’re feeling is minor and that it will go away in several hours. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your injuries will clear up without medical assistance. What seemed like a non-serious injury may turn out to be severe. Let a doctor’s medical opinion determine the severity of your injuries and prescribe continuing treatment if needed.
- Obtaining medical treatment early on will help you protect your personal injury claim by allowing a medical expert to start documenting your injuries and symptoms – these medical records serve as evidence to prove your damages.
When injured victims are transported by ambulance to the emergency department and seek medical treatment right away, insurance companies will have difficulty asserting that their injuries were not severe or not related to the accident. Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of. You should protect your potential personal injury claim(s) by seeking immediate medical attention!
Gather information and Document the Evidence. Immediately following an accident, you will want to obtain, gather, and document as much information you can. If you’re injured at work, you will want to obtain the following:
- Photographs of the area where you were injured.
- Photographs of equipment or conditions that caused your accident.
- A list of individuals who witnessed your incident, and their contact information.
If you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident, you will want to obtain the following:
- The name of the other driver, and their contact and insurance information.
- Photographs of the scene of the accident.
- Photographs of the damage to the vehicles involved.
- The name and contact information of any witnesses.
- Police report number.
Obtain counsel. After you’ve obtained the proper medical attention and have been diagnosed with a serious injury, contact the Terry Bryant law firm by calling 713-973-8888. We will conduct a due diligence investigation into the accident and start building your case. We will fight for the justice you deserve.
The economic damages portion of your settlement.
Your settlement will comprise economic damages, which are the monetary losses you incurred from the accident. Your medical bills will make up a significant portion of your economic damages. If your injury has prevented you from working, you would be able to pursue compensation for your lost wages. Copies of your recent checks, pay stubs, or direct deposit amounts that show how much you were earning before you were injured will assist in calculating your lost wages.
The non-economic damages portion of your settlement.
Non-economic damages are meant to compensate for the pain and suffering endured as a result of the accident. Placing a value on non-economic damages is not as easy as it is with economic damages. There is no document that you can turn to like a medical bill or a paycheck to evaluate the non-economic damages. Further, each case sets forth unique and diverse circumstances that the value of non-economic damages in one case will not be the same as it is in another.
The following factors can be used to evaluate a victim’s non-economic damages:
- Pain and suffering – the emotional suffering experienced by the injured victim as a result of the accident.
- Mental Anguish – the negative effects on the injured victim’s mental state after the accident.
- Physical Impairment – impairments that will prevent the injured victim from being able to participate in physical recreational activities.
- Disfigurement – cosmetic changes made to the injured victim’s appearance.
- Loss of Consortium – loss of affection and companionship that resulted from the passing of a loved one due to the incident.
How do I prove my non-economic damages?
Your testimony as the injured victim will hold some weight as evidence of your non-economic damages because you will be aware of what you’ve been going through emotionally and mentally since the accident. Your doctor’s testimony and his or her medical reports can also be used as evidence to describe your injuries and the treatment you’ve sought. For example, in a case where you’ve suffered disfigurement or have been physical impaired, your doctor’s testimony and the medical records may document how your quality of life has been diminished.
Other experts, such as a psychologist or a psychiatrist, may assist in evaluating and treating post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) and mental anguish resulting from the accident. Their records will help to substantiate these psychological conditions and prove that they were the result of experiencing trauma from the accident.
Although non-economic damages are subjective, your attorney’s experience and assessment, along with the evidence, will help frame your settlement demand. If a settlement is not reached and your case proceeds to trial, the judge or the jury will be the ones to decide the damages you receive.
Don’t delay. Call Terry Bryant now.
Just as the timing between the accident and the first time you go to a medical provider to get medical attention is crucial, promptly hiring an attorney to represent you following your accident can be very helpful to a successful outcome. The personal injury attorneys at the Terry Bryant law firm can help ensure that your rights are protected. We will work hard to obtain the compensation you are owed. Don’t delay and call our Houston law firm at 713-973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
We look forward to helping you.