There are generally two types of damages a person can make a claim for in a personal injury lawsuit. They are ECONOMIC damages (loss of things that cost money) and NONECONOMIC damages ( intangible losses). In this blog we will address the NONECONOMIC damages.
NONECONOMIC damages can be further broken down to include pain and suffering, embarrassment and humiliation, loss of ability to enjoy life’s pleasures and disfigurement.
Pain and Suffering: An injured party is entitled under the law to be fairly compensated for all physical pain, mental anguish, discomfort, inconvenience, and distress that he or she has suffered from the date of the injury until the date of trial and also for those same injuries that the party is projected or expected to suffer in the future.
Embarrassment and humiliation: To the extent that party has experienced present and/or future embarrassment and humiliation they are entitled to a sum of money that fairly compensates them for that loss.
Loss of life’s pleasures: Likewise a party is to be fairly compensated for loss of life’s pleasures. That is the inability, both present and future, to enjoy life in the same ways that the individual enjoyed life prior to the accident. For example a grandparent who can longer pick up or play with their grandchildren like they did before the accident experiences this type of loss. Also an inability to continue to engage in a hobby that brought a party pleasure would be the type of damages awarded under this category.
Disfigurement: A party is entitled to be compensated for any disfigurement they may suffer as a result of an injury. For example, someone who suffers scarring from an accident or from a surgical procedure necessitated by an accident can recover this type of damage.
When a jury is asked to award these types of damages, because there is no mathematical method of making a calculation, a Judge will instruct the jurors to consider the following factors: 1) the age of the party, 2) the severity of the injuries, 3) whether the injuries are temporary or permanent, 4) the extent to which the party is unable to perform the activities that he or she used to perform before the injury, 5) the nature and extent of the treatment for the injuries, 6) the duration and extent of the pain and suffering, 6) the physical and mental condition off the party before the injuries suffered, and 7) in cases where there is disfigurement the nature and extent of the disfigurement. For example if the party has scarring the jury must consider the location and size of the scar.
In a personal injury action, a jury is asked to consider the above factors when deciding the amount of the NONECONOMIC damages to be awarded to a party. These are also the factors that an attorney considers when negotiating a settlement of a personal injury claim.