What Are Economic Damages and Noneconomic Damages?
When a person is injured in an accident caused by another party or parties, the law says the at-fault party is responsible for any financial costs associated with those injuries. The goal of a car accident or personal injury claim is to “make the victim whole again” and part of that process is reimbursement of financial losses the victim suffered. It can also account for future medical expenses such as additional surgeries.
A seasoned car accident lawyer Memphis, TN families rely on may be able to obtain both economic and noneconomic damages for a victim, depending on the circumstances of the accident. The difference between the two is that economic damages are those items which have an actual dollar value such as medical bills and lost income. Noneconomic damages are awarded to the victim for things like pain he or she has endured from their injuries, or emotional distress. In some situations, your Memphis car accident lawyer may also be able to get you punitive damages.
What Are Economic Damages?
As a car accident lawyer Memphis, TN clients recommend can explain, there are many types of losses for which a victim may be able to collect economic damages. It is important for victims and their families to keep receipts and document any financial expense that is a result of the accident. Reimbursement of economic damages can include any or all of the following:
- All diagnostic testing, including X-rays and MRIs;
- Prescription as well as over-the-counter medication;
- Costs of transportation to and from facilities for medical services;
- Emergency room visits;
- Fees for ambulance transportation;
- Hospital stays;
- Physical, occupational, and mental health therapy fees;
- Any medical devices or equipment needed, such as crutches and wheelchairs.
- Any remodeling required to your home in order to accommodate limitations your injury may be causing, such as wheelchair ramp;
· Wages not earned due to missed time from work;
· Reimbursement for work benefits used towards missed time, including personal days, vacation days, and sick days.
· Loss of future income because of permanent injury that prohibits you from being able to do the job you had prior to the accident.
What Are Noneconomic Damages?
Noneconomic damages are intended to compensate the victim for the negative impact their injuries have made on their life. Since there are no actual financial costs associated with noneconomic damages, these damages are awarded based on the extent of the victim’s injuries. In addition to the documentation and receipts collected for economic damages, victims should also keep track of their medical appointments, when their injuries prevent them from performing an activity or task, and incidents of pain. Your car accident lawyer Memphis, TN locals call can use all of this documentation as evidence in order to obtain noneconomic damages for you.
There are several ways noneconomic damages may be calculated. One of the most common ways is to rate the severity of your injuries on a scale of one to five. Then that number is multiplied by the total amount of economic damages you receive.
Although not commonly part of a personal injury claim, there are cases where punitive damages may be awarded. The courts may award punitive damages as a way to “punish” the defendant when their reckless or negligent behavior that the accident is so egregious it warrants punishment. Punitive damages are also meant to send a message to “society” that this type of dangerous behavior is unacceptable. A car accident lawyer Memphis, TN victims recommend can determine if the circumstances of your case may qualify for punitive damages.
One example of when punitive damages may be awarded is in drunk driving accidents. When a person gets behind the wheel of a vehicle when they are under the influence of alcohol – or some other substance – then they are clearly breaking the law. If a driver causes an accident because they were drinking, then juries often determine that driver should be punished for their reckless and illegal actions.
A car accident lawyer Memphis, TN drivers depend on also knows that if the at-fault driver has any criminal charges pending because of the accident – such as a DUI charge – the criminal case is completely separate from any civil case the victim can file. Many victims they think they have to wait for the conclusion of the criminal case before they can bring forth their personal injury claim. However, not only is this not necessary, it can actually hurt their case in the event the statute of limitations runs out before the criminal case has been adjudicated.
A car accident lawyer Memphis, TN trusts knows that under Tennessee law, a victim only has one year to file a personal injury claim against the person responsible for the accident. If that statute expires, victims lose their opportunity to sue. This is also true in wrongful death claims. Families of victims killed in car crashes only have one year to file a lawsuit. Our car accident lawyer in Memphis, TN can determine when the clock began ticking in your case and when the statute expires.