In some cases, damages are more ambiguous, such as emotional pain and trauma, but that doesn’t make it any less deserving of compensation.
In tort law, non-economic damages are described as an amount of compensation that a victim may be able to receive for unquantifiable suffering.
When someone is injured in a truck accident, they can seek compensation for physical damage. This is quantifiable since there is an exact amount for the required medical treatment. Not all injuries, however, can be quantified in this manner. In some cases, the damages suffered by the victim may be unquantifiable—such as emotional injuries and psychological trauma. These types of injuries are not easy to define. Worse, because courts cannot figure out a safe way to define how much money they are worth, many states have put a cap on the amount of non-economic damages that can be sought.
One example of non-economic damages that can be sought is "pain and suffering," which is a legal team used to describe the emotional turmoil, stress, and anxiety resulting from an injury. Courts may attempt to gain tangible evidence of emotional pain and suffering. For this reason, it may be necessary to prove that the emotional turmoil is causing physical pain such as aches, depression, or other illnesses. It, however, is important to note that the amount of pain and suffering that an individual can seek will likely depend on the amount of economic damages being sought.
Another type of non-economic damage that attorneys may seek is "loss of enjoyment of life," which is also referred to as "hedonic damages." The term became popular in 1987 in the case Stan vs. Smith. In the event of a non-fatal injury, the victim may be able to seek damages against the negligent party for the sole reason that they will never be able to enjoy their life as they once could. For example, this could include someone injured in a truck accident and became paralyzed; as a paraplegic or quadriplegic, the victim would likely never be able to walk, operate a vehicle, or even work anymore.
Although highly controversial, many states have put caps on the amount of non-economic damages that can be sought. For example, Missouri has placed a $350,000 cap on the amount of non-economic damages that an individual can recover in any given case. This is considered a type of tort reform in order to protect the defendant's from unnecessary lawsuits. There have been some cases in which states have made decisions that overrule the non-economic damages cap. In some serious cases, it may be possible to be awarded non-economic damages that exceed the cap defined by the state.
If you were involved in an accident and are suffering serious emotional, psychological, or hedonic trauma as a result then you should speak with an attorney immediately. At Arnold & Itkin, do not take "no" for an answer, which means we are not afraid to challenge the obstacles so you get the recovery that you deserve. Call us for a free evaluation of your case.
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