Some effects of a motor vehicle accident are clear-cut. Because you were hit by a negligent driver, you needed medical attention for your injuries. Your vehicle needed significant repairs, or else it was totaled and you need to buy a new one. You had to quit or job or go on leave for months because your injuries made working physically impossible.
Things like lost wages and medical bills usually have a precise dollar figure attached. It is relatively easy for your personal injury attorney to calculate how much the negligent party owes you for these things, which are known as economic damages. Then there are the effects you and your family are experiencing that are equally real, but more difficult to translate into financial compensation. In California personal injury law, these are known as noneconomic damages.
What are noneconomic damages?
Examples of noneconomic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium, or a spouse’s reduced ability to enjoy the benefits of married life due to the accident
- Loss of companionship, for the family of a victim of wrongful death
The law recognizes these harms that often result from a destructive car or truck collision. However, they tend to be harder to prove because they are more subjective. It is more difficult to reach a fair dollar figure for your pain and suffering than for the cost of your surgery and physical therapy, for example.
Compensation for all effects of your injuries
Still, the driver who harmed you should not be excused from compensating you for your noneconomic damages. Personal injury law gives you the chance to seek legal recognition that a negligent individual or business has wronged you, and that those wrongs deserve some form of compensation.