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What Are Non-Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

If you have been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to receive compensation for both your economic and non-economic losses. Economic loss refers to expenses related to your injury that cost you money such as medical bills, lost wages as well as out of pocket expenses for your property damage and medications. But what about compensation for the emotional trauma that you are going through? That type of injury is considered a non-economic loss because, while it is causing you emotional pain, it is not costing you money. The good news is that you are entitled to recover for that type of injury as well.

Emotional trauma can often be the most devasting ramification of an accident. Depression and anxiety can literally ruin your life if not addressed properly. While most people seek treatment for their physical injuries, many often ignore their emotional damage. If you are experiencing depression, sadness or anxiety following an accident, the best thing you can do for yourself and any potential case you may have is to seek immediate professional attention.

Types of Emotional Injury

A non-economic emotional injury can be described in a variety of ways. It is commonly referred to as “pain and suffering.” But that term is a very general description of the types of losses a person may suffer following an accident that may be considered an emotional injury. There are more specific ways to categorize pain and suffering. For example, a person may be categorized as experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, depressive disorder or anxiety disorder. These types of diagnoses tend to be more helpful in treating the problem as well as aid in determining the amount of compensation that you are entitled to following an accident.

Proving Non-Economic Losses

The main issue with proving non-economic emotional losses is that they are not readily apparent to an outside observer, such as a juror. Unlike a broken arm or a herniated disc, an emotional injury is not detectible with a diagnostic test such as an X-ray or MRI. So, often the only way to prove it is through the injured party’s description. This can be very difficult for a person to do, especially at a trial. Not to mention, if you don’t receive treatment for it, how will you get better? The best thing you can do if you are experiencing emotional trauma following an accident is to seek professional help. This will help you get a diagnosis, treatment and ultimately enable you to make a full recovery. Also, your doctor will be able to testify on your behalf at trial acting as an expert witness with respect to your emotional injuries. Further, your medical or no-fault insurance will usually cover this type of treatment.

Finally, it is very difficult to get compensation for a person that is suffering with emotional issues following an accident without the help of an expert. So, it becomes essential that you see a medical professional if you are seeking compensation for emotional injuries not only for your mental well-being, but for your personal injury case.

About the Author

Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.

His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.