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What are the Different Types of Damages Available in a Personal Injury Case?

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October 5, 2022 Personal Injury

When a person sustains an injury caused by the negligent actions of another individual, company, or entity, there are steps they can take to recover compensation. There is no set amount of compensation available to personal injury victims in Colorado, but individuals should strive to recover both economic and non-economic damages, and possibly even punitive damages, depending on the situation.

Economic Damages (Special Damages)

Economic damages for a personal injury claim in Colorado revolve around the types of expenses you would typically think of after an injury occurs. These are the economic losses that are fairly visible and relatively easy to calculate. When working with a client, we will gather bills, invoices, pay stubs, and receipts that come in after the injury occurs in order to adequately calculate the following types of economic damages:

  • Emergency medical bills (ambulance, ER, etc.)
  • Ongoing doctor follow-up visits
  • Rehabilitation or physical therapy
  • Medical devices or prescription medications
  • Lost income for a victim who is unable to work
  • Every day out-of-pocket expenses
  • Property damage expenses

Non-Economic Damages (General Damages)

Non-economic damages are not as easy to calculate as the economic damages mentioned above. When a person sustains an injury, they are likely to endure various types of losses that are not necessarily visible, as well as those that will not have bills or receipts that can be calculated. However, these non-economic damages are just as important to get right, and these damages include a personal injury victim’s:

  • Physical payment suffering damages
  • Emotional and psychological pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life damages
  • Loss of consortium or companionship for a spouse or family members

Adequately calculating non-economic damages will be harder because of the lack of concrete bills or receipts. However, an attorney may use a multiplier method where they will add up all of the economic damages in the case and then multiply that by a set number, typically a number ranging from 1.5 to 5.

For example, suppose a person sustains $50,000 worth of economic damages, and the attorney decides to use a multiplier of “three.” In this particular situation, the attorney would ask for $150,000 in non-economic damages. An alternative method is using a per diem method to assign a dollar value to every day the person is expected to experience pain and suffering.

Punitive Damages (Exemplary Damages)

Punitive damages are certainly not guaranteed in every case, and they are relatively rare. However, these types of damages are reserved for situations where the conduct of the at-fault party was found to be outrageous or egregious. The point of punitive damages is to both punish the wrongdoer and send a signal to others to hopefully deter them from the same types of conduct.

Working With an Attorney

These claims can be incredibly challenging, and it is crucial to adequately calculate compensation in order to be made whole. We encourage all personal injury victims in Colorado to work with an attorney who can enlist assistance from economic or medical experts to calculate damages appropriately.