Personal Injury Non-economic Damages

Personal Injury Non-economic Damages

Personal Injury Non-economic Damages

Personal Injury Non-economic damages. When considering personal injury non-economic damages, an important component relates to the pain and suffering a person faces. While most of us have heard the term before, it is essential to understand this crucial element of an injury case. Let’s take a look at pain and suffering, and learn what it is and how it is calculated. We can also examine the many ways individuals are affected by pain and suffering.

What Is Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Non-economic Damages?       

To begin, pain and suffering is a non-economic loss, different from easily calculated aspects of a personal injury case such as wage loss and medical expenses. Rather, pain and suffering is involved with the intangible elements an individual suffers, including emotional, physical and psychological trauma associated with an accident. Since people react differently to an accident, pain and suffering differs considerably from one person to another.

Physical Pain and Personal Injury Non-economic Damages

First off, one person’s perception of pain may be much higher or lower than another individual. So, the degree to which the pain is endured differs widely. In addition, the extent to which the pain limits the person’s life needs to be considered. Let’s say one individual is a basketball player, and an accident injured his or her knees badly. That person’s ability to play professionally might be severely limited, and when calculating the effect of pain, this needs to be considered.

Depression Following an Accident

Looking at the aftereffects of an accident, it is clear that the limitations it places on an individual are capable of producing depression. Let’s say that an individual is suddenly unable to do the physical acts or no longer has the mental acuity they had before an accident. This places them in a much different world than the one they were used to and may limit both their professional or social interactions or cause PTSD. Logically, this would have a detrimental effect on the way they perceive the world and their overall happiness level. Depression can be limiting in itself, and usually, the individual is placed on medication, which can have considerable side effects.

Life Span

Life expectancy can be shortened when someone suffers horrific injuries in an accident. As with the other personal injury non-economic damages associated with the accident, this depends greatly on the type and severity of the injury. For instance, someone who suffers from spinal cord injury may be paralyzed and require mechanical assistance to keep them alive. Problems associated with respiration can lead to infections that are sometimes complex and deadly. The loss of being able to plan for the future can take an enormous toll on the individual’s personal relationships.


After an accident, many people develop severe anxiety. This anxiety, which is rooted in the accident, can lead to a person refusing to drive, or in some severe cases, leaving the house for fear the accident will happen again. This emotional and psychological response may require professional intervention.


In some cases, people are embarrassed by the results of an accident. They can focus on their own limitations after the incident or even the fact that they were hurt in this way. Humiliation often develops into anger, sleeplessness and energy loss. In many cases, this effect lasts longer than the physical impairments themselves.

Lack of Spousal Interaction

An accident can have a profound effect on the personal relationship a couple shares through loss of consortium. It may involve physical problems or a sudden change in the personality of the person who was hurt. This takes away one of the person’s most important anchors and can involve years of therapy to correct.

Pain and Suffering in the Future

When considering pain and suffering, an attorney must focus not on just the present but also on the future. Settling a claim or receiving a verdict that does not include future or chronic pain and suffering does not address an important part of their ongoing struggle after an accident. It is important to be able to calculate both present and future pain and suffering.

How Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Non-economic Damages Are Figured

There aren’t any actual guidelines to calculate pain and suffering damages. However, there are methods that an attorney uses to reach a figure that is considered fair compensation. One way is to combine all the losses from wages and medical expenses and multiply it by a number between one and five. The number used will depend on how severe the injuries are. For example, a $10,000 hospital bill, which includes physician visits, prescriptions, and other out-of-pocket expenses may be multiplied by five for someone who suffered severe pain. This would equal $50,000 added on for pain and suffering.

Some attorneys use a daily figure to calculate pain and suffering in personal injury non-economic damages. This is based on assigning a daily amount until the maximum that can be recovered has been reached. The insurance company, however, may use a different form of calculating the damages from pain and suffering. This is one of the reasons it is important to have an experienced lawyer by your side.

Roseville Personal Injury Lawyers

I’m Ed Smith, a Roseville personal injury lawyer. Compensation for an injury caused by another’s negligent actions is much more than recovering medical expenses and lost time from work. The non-economic damages caused by an accident are also recoverable. If you or a family member has been injured because of negligence, I would like to offer you free and friendly advice. I can be reached at (916) 921-6400 in the area around Roseville and also provide a toll-free line at (800) 404-5400 for your convenience.

As a Million Dollar Advocates California member, I join with other trial lawyers who have won a settlement or verdict in excess of one million dollars for a client.

I’ve helped numerous residents of Roseville and the wider Northern California area obtain the compensation they deserve in all types of car accidents, dog bites and pedestrian accidents among others.

You can find out what others have said about my law firm, and look over some of our prior cases at the following pages:

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