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What Types of Damages Are Awarded in a Personal Injury Case?

Sep 21, 2022 | Personal Injury

An accident caused by someone else’s negligence can take a devastating emotional, physical, and financial toll on your life. By filing a personal injury action, you may be entitled to recover compensation for a wide range of monetary losses — and your pain and suffering. In addition, you may also be able to recover punitive damages in the event the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious.

Economic Damages

Economic damages cover the financial impact your accident had on you. The pecuniary losses you may have suffered can include lost wages, medical expenses, and out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with your medical treatment. It can also cover diminished future earning capacity as a result of your injuries and property damage. Evidence to prove these losses can include medical bills, pay stubs, receipts, and other documentation.  

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are commonly referred to as “pain and suffering.” In contrast with economic damages, these are losses that do not have a direct financial impact on you. These losses can be much more difficult to quantify. However, they place a value on the following:

  • Your physical pain and mental anguish
  • Disfigurement
  • The humiliation you suffered in connection with your injuries
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • Injury to your reputation
  • Loss of consortium
  • Diminishment of quality of life

Non-economic damages can also compensate you for the losses you suffered in connection with activities you are no longer able to do. Importantly, there is no cap on the amount of non-economic damages you can be awarded in New York.

These types of damages can be established through witness testimony from those who have seen first-hand how your injuries affect you, and with expert testimony from medical professionals. Your own testimony can also be extremely helpful in demonstrating your non-economic losses — you should keep a journal and document how your injury has impacted your day-to-day life.  

There is no specific formula for calculating non-economic damages. Rather, there are two ways that non-economic damages can be calculated in New York. The multiplier method considers the amount of economic damages and multiplies them by a number ranging between 1.5 and 5, based on the severity and duration of the injuries. The per diem method assigns a value to each day the injuries affected your life. Then, the daily value is multiplied by the number of days.  

Punitive Damages   

Punitive damages are typically awarded to punish a defendant, rather than compensate the victim. They are not available in every personal injury case — they are awarded at the court’s discretion in cases where a defendant’s behavior was particularly harmful. They are also sometimes referred to “exemplary damages” because they are meant to set an example. Usually, when these types of damages are awarded, the amount is significant.

Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney

The compensation you obtain can largely depend on the knowledge and experience of your legal representation. The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown LLP is a personal injury law firm dedicated to fighting for the rights of accident victims to ensure they obtain the maximum compensation they deserve for their injuries. Located in Manhattan, our firm has been successfully handling personal injury cases throughout New York City since 1937 — and regularly obtain verdicts and settlements in the millions. Call to schedule a free consultation at (212) 425-1999 today.




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