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What are Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Damages

What are Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Damages?

When a person’s physical injuries are the result of another person’s negligent and careless actions, it could be possible to sue for damages. Filing a personal injury suit gives victims a way to secure compensation to cover the costs of the physical bodily harm and personal property damages they suffered. But these suits can also include much more. 

While physical damages may be visible, there are other damages that a person can suffer from after an accident that can not be seen. These damages may not also be tangible and therefore harder to quantify.

Serious injuries and death can result from a variety of situations including:

  • Car accidents.
  • Motorcycle accidents.
  • Slip and fall accidents.
  • Aviation crashes.
  • Truck collisions.
  • Dog Bites.
  • Boating incidents.

These are just a sampling of situations that can lead to physical bodily harm. 

A victim of an injury accident may have much more than physical destruction. Victims can also be struggling with significant emotional distress. Because of this, the law recognizes what are called pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages. Both of these damages may be used in a personal injury claim. 

Every state has its own laws governing how the personal injury system works. For this reason, working with a local attorney in your state to determine what your options are for obtaining compensation is highly recommended. If you live in or near Jacksonville and you lost a loved one in an accident or you were injured yourself, call the Jacksonville wrongful death attorneys at Sheftall Law for legal guidance and support in filing your personal injury or wrongful death claim.

What is the Difference Between  Pecuniary Damages and Non-Pecuniary Damages?

What are Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary DamagesWhen you file a personal injury suit, your damages define what costs you want to recover from your claim. Included in your claim will be pecuniary, or economic damages, as well as non-pecuniary, or non-economic damages.

Damages that are considered pecuniary are those that you can easily calculate and are evident. Some examples of pecuniary costs include:

  • The cost of medical care and treatment.
  • The cost of fixing property damages like car repairs after a car accident.
  • Lost wages from time away from work. If you sustained bodily harm you may have been unable to go back to work while you recovered from those injuries.
  • Future lost income. This can happen when your injuries are so severe your ability to progress further in your career is no longer possible. When your future earnings you would have had the ability to collect are can not happen, you can file for these lost wages.
  • Lost professional career opportunities. Just like your ability to earn more over your career, you may have also had the potential to work in other capacities that after your accident also no longer exist.

Damages that are considered non-pecuniary are those that cover the emotional toll that resulted because of the injury incident. Some examples include:

  • Pain and suffering.
  • Emotional pain.
  • Decreased ability to enjoy life.
  • Depression and anxiety.
  • Loss of consortium.
  • Loss of mentorship.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.

Figuring out the extent of what non-pecuniary damages cost is a bit more difficult because these damages do not have receipts. So it isn’t as easy as it is with pecuniary damages to just collect all bills and receipts and total them up. Or look at pay stubs to determine wages lost.

How Can You Prove the Amount of Your Non-Pecuniary Damages?

It is not always an easy task putting a value on what a victim’s non-pecuniary damages are. However, a qualified and experienced attorney will be able to examine your case and all of the details and put a fair value on them.

There are some ways to show how severe your non-pecuniary damages are. You can utilize:

  • It is often advised to keep a journal after an accident and document how you are feeling and how the aftermath of the accident is impacting you. You should also write down what you did for the day including the medical appointments or therapies you may have had to engage in.
  • Your attorney may gather testimonies from your close friends and family.
  • Your attorney may get medical experts to weigh in on how difficult daily living is because of your injuries.
  • You may give your own testimony to how your damages have impacted your life.
  • If your injuries prevent you from being able to work or get future employment you this can be considered as a source of your agony.
  • Your medical records may show the suffering you are dealing with. 

How Much Can You Get from a Personal Injury Claim?

The total amount you get from your claim will depend on how severe it is. If you had catastrophic injuries or permanent physical harm, then you would likely have very high medical costs. Also, the negative implications to your life that you face would be more severe. These factors would be incorporated into how much your claim is worth.

If you were in a car accident for example, and you only sustained a broken arm and some damages to your car your claim would be much less than an accident where paralyzing injuries existed and the car was totaled. Every accident situation is different which is why there can be such a wide range of settlement amounts. When you work with one of the Jacksonville car accident attorneys at Sheftall Law, you can get a fair idea about how much your claim is worth.

In the state of Florida, like many states, there are damage caps. Meaning for certain damages there is only so much that a victim can obtain. Florida’s personal injury damages caps are:

  • No caps for pecuniary damages.
  • No caps for non-pecuniary damages.
  • Punitive damages are only rarely awarded. When punitive damages are awarded in Florida, they are 3x the compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever amount is more.

Call a Florida Personal Injury Attorney Today

The Jacksonville personal injury law firm of the Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates can answer your questions and help you with the personal injury claim process in Florida. To schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of the attorneys at Sheftall Law, please call (904) 638-7712.