In a courtroom, you’ll hear many legal terms. You might hear some in a lawyer’s office as well. Perhaps you know what some of them mean, but others might confuse you.
In this article, we’ll discuss a particular legal term, non-economic damages. You might encounter this term a lot in civil cases. If you bring a civil action, you may get more money if you suffer some non-economic damages.
If you bring a lawsuit against a person or an entity, such as a corporation, you allege that they harmed you. Maybe you sue a doctor who did improper surgery or gave you the wrong drugs.
Perhaps you sue a company that made a product which had a faulty component that hurt you. Maybe you slipped and fell in a store, and you’re suing that store because they didn’t put out any signs.
In these situations, you will have economic damages, such as the money you’ll lose while you’re recovering, and you can’t work. You will also have some non-economic damages. You can count any damages you sustained or suffered that you can’t easily quantify with a dollar amount.
Non-economic damages suffered by you should be compensated, just like economic ones. That is why you must hire a good lawyer when you are suing a person or entity that you allege harmed you.
The attorney you hire should know all about non-economic damages, and they should know how much money you can get for them. The lawyer will probably use precedents set during similar civil cases.
They will look at how much money juries gave plaintiffs who won similar cases, and they will go after an equivalent amount for you. Make sure you find an attorney with plenty of experience.
If you think about it, you can probably come up with some non-economic damage examples. You know that with monetary damages, you might talk about doctor’s bills, the money you lost while you can’t work, etc. What about non-economic damages you can factor in when requesting a specific dollar amount during a civil trial?
Pain and suffering usually come into play. Pain and suffering mean the hurt you felt when this person or entity harmed you. Pain should equal money in civil cases. You would not feel that pain, presumably, if this person or entity did not harm you through some action or inaction.
Your lawyer might mention loss of life enjoyment as well. Maybe you fell in a store on a wet floor and broke your leg. While you recover, you can’t walk around the neighborhood in the spring and enjoy the weather like you usually could.
You can’t play catch with your kids in the backyard. You can’t play in your bowling league or play soccer in the park with your friends.
You might say that you suffered some emotional distress. Perhaps you don’t feel whole anymore since you’re lying in bed, recovering. You may not have the same confidence that you once did.
You might have noticeable scarring or a disfigurement. Maybe if you’re suing a company for their defective product, some component came loose and struck you in the face. Now, you have some unsightly scars that you must carry with you unless you can get plastic surgery.
Maybe you have a permanent disability or impairment. Perhaps you will never fully recover. All of those would fall into the non-economic damages category.
Once you understand this concept, you’ll probably agree that you should get some money if you have both economic damages and non-economic ones.
We mentioned precedent. That comes into play with these cases, but the law also has a multiplier method in place that can help juries determine what amount you should get, assuming they agree that the defendant harmed you.
They will use a figure from 1.5 to 5. They multiply this figure when they’ve calculated your economic damages. Once they figure out that number, they will multiply and determine your non-economic damage amount. Then, they will add the two numbers together.
If you allege that a person or entity harmed you, and you can bring a legal action against them, then you should do so. The court system exists so you can hold someone responsible. This way, you will get the money you need, and eventually, you can reclaim your life.