Skip to Content
Paulsen Law Group Paulsen Law Group
Free Consultations!

Personal Injury: What Are Economic & Non-Economic Damages?


Economic and non-economic damages refer to the types of compensation one can recover in a personal injury lawsuit. Suffering an injury due to someone else's negligence can be a devastating experience, both physically and emotionally. In addition to the pain and suffering, victims of personal injury often face financial burdens resulting from medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.

When pursuing compensation through a personal injury claim, it's crucial to understand the types of damages available, including economic and non-economic damages. We’ll explain these in more detail below.

What Are Economic Damages?

Economic damages are tangible losses that can be easily quantified in monetary terms. These damages aim to compensate the injured party for the financial losses they incurred as a direct result of the injury.

Common examples of economic damages include:

  • Medical expenses: This includes costs related to hospitalization, surgery, medication, rehabilitation, therapy, and any other medical treatments required to address the injuries sustained in the accident.
  • Lost wages: If the injury prevents the victim from working temporarily or permanently, they may be entitled to compensation for lost income. This can include wages, bonuses, commissions, and other forms of income that would have been earned if not for the injury.
  • Property damage: If personal property, such as a vehicle or personal belongings, is damaged or destroyed in the accident, the cost of repair or replacement may be considered economic damages.
  • Future expenses: In cases where the injury results in long-term or permanent disability, victims may be entitled to compensation for future medical expenses, ongoing treatment, and care costs.

Dealing with the financial impact of an injury can be significant, and there can be a lot of hidden or unknown costs associated with it. For this reason, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you ascertain the extent of your total loss and determine an amount in economic damages to pursue.

What Are Non-Economic Damages?

Non-economic damages are more subjective in their nature. Consequently, this can make them more difficult to quantify than economic damages. Ultimately, the goal in awarding these damages is to compensate the injured party for intangible losses that impact their quality of life and well-being.

Common examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering: This encompasses the physical pain, discomfort, and emotional distress experienced as a result of the injury. It also includes the loss of enjoyment of life and the mental anguish endured by the victim.
  • Emotional distress: In addition to physical pain, personal injuries can lead to emotional trauma, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychological injuries.
  • Loss of consortium: If the injury affects the victim's relationship with their spouse or family members, resulting in the loss of companionship, support, or intimacy, the injured party may be entitled to compensation for loss of consortium.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: When injuries prevent the victim from participating in activities and hobbies they once enjoyed, they may be entitled to compensation for the diminished quality of life and the inability to engage in meaningful activities.

Not all personal injury cases result in awards for non-economic damages, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fight for them. Because non-economic damages aren’t always obvious, it takes an experienced personal injury lawyer to identify these losses and present convincing arguments that favor compensation for them.

Determining Damages in Personal Injury Cases

Calculating economic damages in a personal injury case involves reviewing medical bills, pay stubs, and other financial records to determine the extent of the victim's losses. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are more subjective and may vary depending on the severity of the injury, the impact on the victim's life, and other factors.

In many personal injury cases, both economic and non-economic damages are awarded to compensate the victim for their losses comprehensively. However, the process of determining damages can be complex, requiring the expertise of experienced personal injury attorneys and expert witnesses to assess the full extent of the victim's injuries and losses.

When Should I Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else's negligence, immediately contact a personal injury lawyer. It's essential to understand your rights and explore your legal options, so consulting with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help you make informed decisions and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Paulsen Law Group Can Help

Don't hesitate to reach out for legal guidance and advocacy during this challenging time. Paulsen Law Group can provide the legal support you need to investigate your claim and pursue your legal options. With our assistance, you can feel more confident about what the future holds after your injury.

Contact us today to request a consultation with our dedicated attorney.