A previous blog article, titled, "Collecting Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Claim," addressed what types of economic damages a victim can collect when they are injured in an auto accident. When a person receives compensation for economic damages, they are being reimbursed for the financial losses they suffered because of their injuries – such as medical expenses and loss wages. Non-economic damages compensate the victim for things like pain and suffering and other effects the injuries are having on the victim’s life.
In addition to the pain a victim may feel, they may also be dealing with emotional or mental health issues caused by the accident and/or sustained injuries. It is not uncommon for an accident victim to suffer from long-term depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
In order to file a claim for non-economic damages, a victim must have information about their injuries well documented, just as they need to for economic damages. These records should include:
- Any and all medical bills and related expenses;
- Any medical reports;
- Any receipts from both prescription and non-prescription medications;
- Information which will validate lost time from employment; and
- A dairy or log keeping track of all incidents of pain, medical appointments, and activity loss.
Unlike economic damages, which have a definitive dollar amount, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering can be harder to quantify. It is within the providence of the jury to determine what dollar amount is appropriate considering the “nature and extent of the injuries and the suffering occasioned by them and the duration [of the suffering].” Dunlap v. Lee, 257 N.C. 447, 452 (1962)
If you have been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to recover for both economic and non-economic injuries. The first step is to contact a qualified North Carolina personal injury attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have.