The word “damages” is often used in legal proceedings to describe financial awards paid to people who have suffered injuries or losses. In most personal injury cases, a victim in a lawsuit is awarded compensatory damages, which are damages that are intended to compensate the victim for their losses. Compensatory damages are usually a combination of economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages and non-economic damages are different types of awards. Compensatory damages could involve more of one kind than the other depending on the specific aspects of a case.
Some states have passed a limit or cap for certain kinds of compensatory damages, with most caps focused on non-economic damages. However, Alabama does not currently have any such limitation. A cap on the non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases in Alabama was struck down as unconstitutional.
Alabama caps all damages in cases in which a county or municipality is a defendant. Alabama Code § 11-47-190 and Alabama Code § 11-93-2 both limit any damages against a municipality or a county to $100,000 for bodily injury or death to one person and $300,000 in the aggregate when more than two persons have claims or judgments.
If you are seeking compensation for injuries you suffered in a car accident in the greater Huntsville area, make sure that you seek out everything you are entitled to. An experienced attorney will be able to identify all of the economic damages and non-economic damages that you may be able to recover.
Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., has more than a century of combined legal experience and has been helping injury victims all over Alabama since 1966. You can have our lawyers review your case and discuss all of your legal options when you call us or complete an online contact form to schedule a free consultation with our team.
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What Are Economic Damages After a Car Accident?
Economic damages are expenses that a victim has incurred or will incur because of injuries they sustained in a car accident. Financial losses are typically documented, which means that they can be readily calculated and proven.
In most car wreck cases, the most common kind of economic damages (and often the most sizeable damage award) is medical bills. In addition to the costs of a victim’s initial treatment, medical expenses can also include rehabilitation costs, ongoing treatment, or medical devices. Some injuries require future or lifetime medical care, and lawyers will often retain an expert witness to present these damages to the jury.
Another common kind of economic damages is lost wages. Some accident victims are unable to return to work for great lengths of time after car crashes, and these absences often lead to people not receiving any income to pay their bills.
Certain other kinds of economic damages may also be applicable depending on the financial losses that the victim suffered. Property damage claims for the damage done to a victim’s vehicle is another common kind of economic damage award.
What Are Non-Economic Damages After a Car Accident?
Unlike the much more tangible nature of economic damages, non-economic damages are far more subjective. Non-economic damages involve very real harm that a person has suffered, but it is more difficult to express in dollars and cents.
Some of the most common kinds of non-economic damages generally include pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, and loss of consortium. Whereas economic damages are typically intended to help a victim pay for costs that will allow them to recover and be restored to their original condition, non-economic damages usually provide compensation for some of the types of harm that may not be entirely rectifiable.
Calculating Economic and Non-Economic Damages After a Car Accident
Economic damages are far easier to calculate than non-economic damages, and they are thus typically subject to far less resistance. Some defendants will consider any amount of non-economic damages being sought to be more than what is deserved.
The fact that most economic damages involve actual bills to victims usually makes it easy to add up all of the total expenses. When an injury requires time away from work, it may be more difficult to accurately gauge when the victim can return to work and begin earning an income again.
Certain non-economic damages can be calculated using some unique formulas that take multiple factors into account, such as the number of days a victim has experienced pain. Alabama has no set rule for how non-economic damages must be determined, so the decision is ultimately left to a jury.
Contact Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., for Help with Your Car Crash Claim
Insurance companies for negligent drivers often agree to settlements rather than having to take on the costs of going to trial. Whether in settlement negotiations or at trial, it is essential for a victim to make sure that they are pursuing all of the damages they are entitled to.
Do you need assistance pursuing damages for injuries you sustained in a car accident in Huntsville? Make sure that you get help from an attorney as soon as possible.
The lawyers of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., have a wealth of experience and accolades that demonstrate the success we have achieved for our clients. Harvey B. Morris was named Lawyer of the Year in the 2016 edition of Best Lawyers in America, Joe A. King, Jr. was named Best Attorney by Best Attorneys in America in 2016, and David J. Hodge has been listed twice as one of the top 50 lawyers in Alabama by Super Lawyers magazine.
Our firm represents clients on a contingency fee basis, so you will not have to worry about paying us anything unless and until you receive a financial award. Call us or contact us online to have our attorneys provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free consultation.