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What are non-economic damages?

This blog has from time to time referred to non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

Following a car accident, the victim can claim different forms of compensation from the negligent driver. For one, she can ask for her special or economic damages. These types of damages include reimbursement for medical bills and related expenses, as well as lost wages.

Basically, special damages, also called economic damages, are out-of-pocket losses that, without getting compensation, the victim would otherwise have to pay or cover in some other way.

On the other hand, general damages, also called non-economic damages, are not connected to specific costs that the victim would otherwise have to pay. This does not however, mean, that these damages are not real. In fact, the point of non-economic damages is to recognize that victims of accidents often get hurt in ways that can't be fully quantified by medical bills and paychecks.

In addition to pain and suffering, other examples of non-economic damages include disfigurement, emotional distress, anguish and the like. It is important for a person to speak with a New Mexico personal injury attorney in order to know whether and to what extent non-economic damages may be available in his case.

Because they cannot be readily tied to bills and expenses, juries and judges have a lot of leeway to award non-economic damages as they deem appropriate to the case. For instance, a court in New Mexico recently upheld a $165 million verdict against a major shipping company. Most of the verdict was for non-economic damages.

Those Albuquerque residents who have been hurt in a car accident should be mindful that they are not limited to asking a negligent driver for reimbursement for their bills and wages.

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