If you were hurt in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident, no one has the power to go back in time and prevent you from being injured. Instead, the legal system allows accident victims to recover compensation for the damages they suffer. This is usually completed by filing a claim with the defendant’s insurance company.
There are different types of damages you may be able to recover in a personal injury case, including economic damages. An Oklahoma City personal injury lawyer can help you understand the role of economic damages in your case and how to value them.
Types of Damages In Oklahoma Personal Injury Cases
To differentiate economic damages from other types of damages, it is important to understand the different damages that could be awarded. There are generally three types of damages that are awarded in Oklahoma personal injury cases:
Economic damages compensate victims for the actual economic losses they experienced because of the accident and those they are likely to incur in the future.
Non-economic damages include those losses that are not as easy to quantify, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life
Non-economic and economic damages combined make up compensatory damages, which are intended to compensate the victim, as the name applies.
Oklahoma law allows courts to sometimes award punitive damages in some circumstances, including in claims against insurance companies. These damages are not intended to compensate the victim. Instead, they are meant to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct in the future.
Definition of Economic Damages In Oklahoma
Oklahoma law defines economic damages as “any type of pecuniary harm” that is the “result of a bodily injury that is the subject of a civil action.” Economic damages are important in a personal injury case because they form the basis of a claim for compensation. Accident victims have a right to pursue compensation for the full extent of the damages they suffered.
There are different types of economic damages that can be awarded in a personal injury case.
Accident victims can recover compensation for the medical care and treatment they received because of the accident.
Medical expenses could include compensation for:
- Emergency treatment and care
- Rehabilitation services
- Ongoing medical treatment and services
- Testing and diagnostic services
- Medical devices
The court or insurance adjuster can also authorize payment for medical expenses the victim will likely incur.
You can recover compensation for the amount of your lost wages.
Compensation fo lost income includes:
- Overtime pay
- Employment benefits
- Fringe benefits
- Other compensation
Some personal injuries are so severe that the victim is unable to return to the same job or any work at all. This form of compensation can also pay for the victim’s lost earning capacity.
Another form of compensation for accident victims is costs to repair or replace their damaged property. For example, if you were involved in a car accident, you could seek compensation to pay for your vehicle repairs. If the vehicle is totaled, you will seek compensation for the replacement value of your vehicle.
Oklahoma law also allows you to seek compensation for “any other losses” as a result of a bodily injury that is subject to a civil action. Keep receipts and detailed records of any extra costs you incurred as a result of the accident.
Establishing the Value of Economic Damages
As the plaintiff in a personal injury case, you have the burden of showing you were injured and what your injuries are worth. You may be able to prove the value of your economic damages with evidence such as:
Economic damages are typically easier to establish because they are tied directly to financial losses.
You might have receipts for things you had to pay for because of your injuries, such as:
- Medical services
- Over-the-counter supplies
- Car rentals
- Rideshare services
- Cooking and housekeeping services
Give your lawyer your receipts so they can help build your demand package.
If you have not paid for some of the damages, you may still be able to recover compensation for them by showing what you will incur. You can do this by providing estimates to repair your damaged vehicle.
Wage Loss Statements
Your paystubs, benefits statements, or a letter from your employer may help indicate your lost wages. You can provide business records and tax returns to prove your losses if you are self-employed.
Expert Witness Testimony or Reports
In some cases, you may need an expert to evaluate your claim and provide testimony or a report to indicate your long-term expenses. For example, if you suffered a catastrophic injury that left you permanently disabled, an economic expert might evaluate your age, health, and earning capacity. This allows the expert to estimate the value of losses to your long-term earning potential.
Contact the Oklahoma City Personal Injury Law Firm of Laird Hammons Laird Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Laird Hammons Laird Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation today. Our law office is located in Oklahoma City.
We proudly serve Oklahoma County, OK and its surrounding areas: