Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Claim | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

VA Car accident lawyersNumerous news outlets across the country reported on the recent multi-vehicle crashes that shut down North Carolina’s I-40. According to law enforcement reports, there were more than 130 vehicles involved in the resulting massive pile-up of vehicles, with more than two dozen people transported to area hospitals with injuries.

The accidents spread from exits 143 to 153 in the Alamance County section of the highway, in both the east and westbound lanes. N.C. Highway Patrol said the first accident – which involved 25 vehicles – was caused by drivers failing to slow down in the heavy rain and fog which had moved into the area. As emergency responders tended to victims in the first accident, drivers traveling in the opposite direction slowed down to look at the scene, resulting in vehicles crashing into them. Troopers reported a total of nine accidents.

Many of those two dozen victims who were injured will most likely file personal injury claims. Under North Carolina law, an accident victim is entitled to seek both economic and non-economic damages for their injuries.  


Economic damages cover items such as lost wages and medical expenses, while non-economic damages address pain and suffering by the victim, as well as any emotional distress they may have suffered from the injuries.

In order to collect economic damages, it is important for a victim to keep organized records of any costs they have had, as well as any financial losses, because of their injuries. Records should be kept on the following expenses:

  • Fees for ambulance transport;
  • Emergency room visits;
  • Hospital stays;
  • All diagnostic testing, such as X-rays and MRIs;
  • Both prescription and non-prescription medication;
  • Physical, occupational, and mental therapy fees; and
  • Costs of transportation for medical services.

In order to collect for lost wages, an accident victim should keep records of all time lost from work. The victim should also obtain a letter from their employer which verifies that lost time, as well as verification of the victim’s salary or hourly wage. A letter from their physician is also necessary to verify the injuries the victim sustained kept him or her from working, as well as a description of medical treatment received and limitations the injuries may have caused or will cause in the future. Depending on the extent of the injuries, a victim may also be able to file a claim for future lost wages.

If you have received injuries as a result of an auto accident caused by another party, contact an experienced North Carolina personal injury attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have to collect for economic damages you have suffered.