What Are Economic Damages in a New York Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Whether you were hurt in a car accident, slip-and-fall, or another type of personal injury, plaintiffs are entitled to seek economic damages– or, in other words, financial compensation for their calculable losses. Economic damages are measurable, verifiable, tangible losses– which typically includes all related medical expenses and lost wages.

Why are Economic Damages Awarded?

Individuals owe a legal duty of care to others. Motorists must obey the rules of the road and exercise caution when driving. Businesses must keep their premises reasonably safe and free from known hazards. Medical professionals must operate using the widely accepted medical standards of care. When these duties are violated through negligence or willful misconduct, a personal injury plaintiff has a right to seek monetary compensation for economic damages.

Economic Damages are Specific and Tangible

The awarding of economic damages in civil proceedings aims to restore the financial losses that you incurred through little to no fault of your own. Examples include:

  • Medical expenses — such as ambulance rides, hospital stays, doctor copays, diagnostic imaging, medication, rehabilitation and therapy, mental health counseling, surgical treatment, assistive devices, and home modifications to accommodate a disability.
  • Lost earnings – from the inability to work while recovering from injury, reduced future earning capacity, lost business opportunities, and payment to cover the ongoing expense of long-term disability.
  • Property repair or replacement – for instance, vehicle repairs or replacement following a collision.
  • Household services – if a primary member of the household was injured, doing day-to-day duties like cooking, cleaning, and laundry impossible, the cost of assistance may sometimes be reimbursed, as long as these services were not in the household budget before the injury.

The amount of loss can be calculated by adding up personal receipts, hospital invoices, pharmacy records, wage stubs, and auto repair shop quotes. These damages are easily quantified, and their value is fairly standard.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Pursue Economic Damages?

The Empire State has no maximum limit on these damages and allows the collection of past, present, and future expenses in most cases. New York is one of 15 states that do not place a cap on economic damages, even in cases of medical malpractice. Therefore, you are entitled to as much compensation related to the accident as you can prove you are owed. This is why it’s crucial to choose a knowledgeable and resourceful New York City Personal Injury Lawyer at Douglas and London to represent your interests in court.

Economic Damages Can Be Variable

Speculation about future expenses is where economic damages can be highly variable. What is a lost career worth? How much might you have to pay for a traumatic brain injury in your old age? Expert witnesses are often called upon to help determine the full extent of damage, which can include a lifetime of loss.

To prove the need for future compensation, courts may request:

  • Testimony from a treating physician
  • Unbiased testing to prove impairment of working capacity
  • Expert opinion on your age, health, life expectancy, skills, past earning capacity, and training

Non-economic Damages

In addition to seeking economic damages, New Yorkers may also sue for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of enjoyment in life, scarring, or loss of a limb. These damages do not necessarily impact your finances but impact your life considerably. They are less tangible but strive to make you as “whole” as possible after your injury.

There is no exact formula used by every courtroom to determine them. Still, often they are estimated on a per-day amount based on the total number of days you’re likely to spend in recovery, or calculated based on the amount of economic damages multiplied by 1-5, depending on the severity of your injuries.  

Contact us today for a free consultation

When you have sustained a serious injury, you will need money to repair your health and restore your quality of life. You will need a legal advocate you can count on for support. Contacting a Personal Injury Lawyer at Douglas and London doesn’t cost any money upfront. We work on a contingency basis, meaning you only pay the industry standard legal fee if we secure compensation on your behalf. Call for a free consultation.  

Additional Resources:

  1. Legal Match. https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/economic-vs-non-economic-damages.html
  2. Justia.com. https://www.justia.com/injury/negligence-theory/economic-damages/#:~:text=Economic%20damages%20may%20include%20past,expenses%2C%20and%20lost%20earning%20capacity.