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What Are the Differences Between Economic and Non-Economic Damages?

How are non-economic damages calculated?

Being injured in an accident can leave you physically, emotionally, and financially suffering.  Whether your injuries stem from a car accident, truck accident, slip and fall, or any other accident caused by the negligence of another, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your losses.  There are two main types of damages, economic and non-economic, which our Marietta, Georgia car accident attorneys explore below.


Economic damages are defined as the actual dollar amount that an accident victim has lost as a result of the accident. Economic damages are easily documented and calculated based on bills and records. These losses can include present loss as well as projected future or ongoing damages. The main types of economic damages suffered by accident victims include:

  1. Medical bills: Medical bills will typically start to mount shortly after an accident. They may include ambulance costs, emergency room bills, surgical costs, doctor’s office visits, physical therapy, and medication. Medical costs may be ongoing, and these projected expenses can be recovered in your personal injury case.
  2. Lost wages: Accident victims are likely to miss time from work as a result of their injuries. Serious injuries can lead to weeks, months, or even years off work. At times, an injured accident victim may be permanently unable to return to work. Both current and projected lost wages are recoverable in a personal injury case.
  3. Property damage: Along with the losses stemming from your physical injuries, you may be able to pursue damages suffered by your car or other property in the accident. These can be quantified through repair or replacement estimates.


In contrast to economic damages, non-economic damages are those that do not have an inherent or easily quantified dollar amount. These can be hard to calculate, as they involve more projection than economic damages. Common non-economic damages include:

  1. Pain and suffering:  Pain and suffering involves the physical pain suffered after an accident.  Pain and suffering can be tremendous after a serious accident, but pain and suffering can be hard to calculate
  2. Emotional pain and suffering:  An accident can inflict much emotional pain and mental turmoil.  Emotional damages caused by an accident could include anxiety, depression, insomnia, and the like.  
  3. Loss of consortium:  Your family will also often suffer due to your injuries in an accident.  Loss of consortium involves the injuries suffered by your loved ones and could include strains on the relationship caused by the injury.

Calculating non-economic damages is complex and will involve consideration for the severity of the injury, its permanency, impact on the victim’s life, and more. Anyone injured in an accident should contact a personal injury lawyer to find out more about which ones they may be able to recover.

Posted in: Personal Injury