If you were hurt in an accident caused by the negligence, carelessness, or recklessness of another, you may have suffered physical injuries, emotional distress, and financial losses. In such cases, you might be eligible to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to recover your damages. Significantly, three types of damages may be available in a personal injury action, depending on the facts of your case — these include economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Whether you were hurt in a trip and fall, car crash, construction accident, or any other type of accident, an award of economic damages is meant to compensate for your financial losses. Economic damages can be quantified and include a variety of pecuniary losses, such as:
- Medical care and treatment costs — This can include the expenses related to surgery, doctor’s bills, ambulances, hospital stays, diagnostic testing, physical rehabilitation, occupational therapy, durable medical equipment, and home care expenses.
- Future medical treatment — Economic damages can include the costs of future medical treatment that will be necessary to treat the accident-related injury.
- Loss of income — An accident-related injury can cause you to miss time from work, resulting in loss of income. This category of damages can include wages, salaries, benefits, commissions, and bonuses.
- Future lost earnings — In addition to lost income, you may be entitled to compensation for future lost earnings. For instance, if you are no longer able to perform the duties of your current position or cannot be gainfully employed, you might be eligible to receive compensation for the loss of your earning capacity.
- Out-of-pocket costs — Out-of-pocket expenses refer to any accident-related expenses you covered with your own funds. These costs can include prescriptions, transportation to medical appointments, modifications to your home or car due to your injuries, medical services that were not covered, and others.
Documenting your economic damages to prove your losses in a personal injury action is crucial. Medical bills, pay stubs, and receipts can all be useful to demonstrate your financial losses. However, future medical costs and lost wages might require expert testimony to establish.
Non-economic damages are those that are much more difficult to quantify. These types of losses are not financial in nature. Rather, this category of damages seeks to compensate for the pain and suffering experienced as a result of your accident-related injuries. Non-economic damages can include compensation for things like:
- Physical pain
- Mental trauma and emotional anguish
- Psychological injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Non-economic losses are meant to address the impact of an injury on your day-to-day life and livelihood. These types of damages often comprise the most substantial portion of a personal injury award — especially in cases where the injuries are catastrophic. Non-economic damages are often proven through testimony — including by that of experts, family, and friends.
While compensatory damages are meant to provide relief to a victim, punitive damages serve to punish the defendant and deter others from engaging in similar conduct. Punitive damages may be awarded in limited cases in New York where it can be shown that the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious.
These types of damages are often awarded in cases involving drunk driving, intentional assault, premises liability cases, wrongful death, and other cases where the defendant’s actions were willful, wanton, and morally reprehensible. Although there is no cap on punitive damages, they must be a reasonable amount.
Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence, a diligent personal injury attorney can help ensure you receive the maximum compensation you’re entitled to. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has represented accident victims for over three decades and provides skillful advocacy to secure the best possible outcome in each unique case. Contact us today for a consultation.