What Are Non-Economic Damages?

Non-economic damages, also known as pain and suffering damages, are those damages that cannot be quantified, as they refer to more abstract losses. Non-economic damages include the loss of enjoyment of life, all types of mental anguish and emotional distress, and loss of consortium. Considering the fact that mathematical calculations cannot accurately evaluate these losses, it is strongly recommended to seek legal help, because a good lawyer can help you obtain a fair compensation.

Non-economic damages refer to compensation for subjective, non-monetary losses, which cannot be quantified in a dollar amount. They are less concrete than economic damages and will be submitted to a jury's evaluation. Examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering. Serious injuries may impede people to perform activities that healthy people take for granted, such as playing with their children or doing housework. 
  • Mental anguish or emotional distress. For example, shock, humiliation or embarrassment.
  • Inconvenience. For example, it could include standing in line at the rental car company or the body shop, making telephone calls, hiring a babysitter or having to pay for shelter and food because you are stranded out of town.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life. Due to the injury, the plaintiff can no longer enjoy the activities she was previously able to enjoy. For example, she may no longer be able to dance or play sports, and this alteration of lifestyle can make it harder to enjoy her life.
  • Loss of consortium for spouses.  For example, in a wrongful death case, the family may sue because it 's hard to live without the support and guidance of a spouse.

Non-economic damages are sometimes capped under state law. Florida imposes a damage cap for non-economic damages only in medical malpractice lawsuits. The cap for medical malpractice lawsuits targeting doctors and other health care professionals is $500,000. For those not considered practitioners, the cap is $750,000. This means, that if you are a victim of medical malpractice in Miami, you can recover compensation for non-economic damages. In car accident cases, non-economic damages are not capped, but there is a threshold for recovering pain and suffering damages: a doctor has to say that you have a permanent injury.

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