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Non-economic damages in lawsuits for catastrophic injuries

On Behalf of | Sep 3, 2021 | Personal Injury

In Louisiana personal injury cases, plaintiffs can pursue compensatory damages for their economic and non-economic losses. While most people are aware that they might recover compensation for their economic losses, including medical expenses, wage losses, property damage, and other pecuniary losses, they might not be aware that they might also be entitled to pursue compensation for their non-economic losses, which include pain and suffering damages.

What are pain and suffering damages?

Pain and suffering damages are a type of damages in personal injury claims that are meant to compensate negligence victims for their non-economic losses. Also known as general damages, these are damages that are for intangible losses that can be difficult to value. Some examples of non-economic damages that might be recoverable in a negligence lawsuit include the following:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional/mental anguish
  • Disability
  • Reduced ability to enjoy life
  • Disfigurement/scarring
  • Loss of consortium for spouses
  • Loss of guidance
  • Other non-economic losses

How are non-economic losses valued?

While economic damages are fairly straightforward and easy to calculate, it is more difficult to calculate the value of non-economic losses because of their intangible nature. Insurance companies and attorneys might follow one of several methods. For example, an attorney might calculate the victim’s past and future medical expenses for their catastrophic injuries and then multiply them by a factor ranging from one to five, depending on the severity of the injuries and the victim’s likelihood of recovery, to estimate the value of the non-economic damages.

Accidents caused by negligence can result in significant losses beyond the pecuniary losses victims suffer. By providing a way for people to pursue compensation for their pain and suffering damages, Louisiana’s civil tort laws attempt to make victims whole following their accidents when they are caused by the negligent or wrongful actions of others.