When you sue the negligent or reckless driver who caused the car crash in which you sustained injuries, you can expect to recover two types of damages: economic and noneconomic.
Economic damages are those financial losses that your injuries caused or will cause you in the future. Noneconomic damages are the subjective losses you suffer now or in the future.
FindLaw explains that your present and future medical and rehabilitation expenses make up the majority of your economic damages. They include such things as the following:
- Ambulance expenses
- Hospital and surgical expenses
- Prescription drug expenses
- Physical and occupational therapy expenses
- Medical devices, including crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, etc.
- In-home care and assistive services
Your economic damages also include repair or replacement of your vehicle, your current loss of wages and your projected decreased future earning capacity due to your injuries.
Noneconomic damages may be subjective, but they are no less real or valid. They include such things as the following that your injuries cause you now and in the future:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of your overall enjoyment of life
In rare cases, the court will award you punitive damages above and beyond your economic and noneconomic damages. While these two compensate you for the losses caused by your injuries, punitive damages punish the defendant for egregious conduct in causing the accident. For instance, if the defendant was drunk or traveling at an excessive rate of speed at the time of the accident, the jury may well feel that such recklessness and disregard for human life warrants the award of punitive damages.