Suppose you were hurt in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or other type of accident for which another party’s negligence was responsible. In that case, you may have the right to receive compensation for the damages you suffered, including economic and non-economic damages. These makeup compensatory damages and can help return you to the position you were in before the accident.
An Oklahoma City personal injury attorney, will help you understand non-economic damages in your case and how to value them is crucial for recovering the compensation you deserve.
Types of Damages In Oklahoma Personal Injury Cases
The three most common types of damages awarded in Oklahoma personal injury cases include:
Non-economic damages cannot be easily quantified, but they still represent losses accident victims suffer and deserve to be compensated for. The most common form of non-economic damages is pain and suffering.
Unlike non-economic damages, economic damages can be easily quantified. These damages represent direct economic losses, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Costs to repair damaged personal property
- Out-of-pocket expenses
These damages compensate victims for the actual economic losses they have already experienced and anticipated future losses.
Oklahoma law allows courts to award punitive damages in some cases, including those involving claims against insurance companies. Punitive damages serve as punishment against the defendant and try to deter similar conduct in the future.
Definition of Non-Economic Damages In Oklahoma
Oklahoma law defines non-economic damages as “non-pecuniary harm” that arises from a bodily injury that is the subject of a civil action.
Specific examples of non-economic damages under the law include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of society, care, attention, protection, consortium, companionship, assistance, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, education, and training
- Any other intangible loss
Like with economic damages, future anticipated losses can be awarded for non-economic damages.
Ways Non-Economic Damages Are Calculated
Because non-economic damages cannot be proven through a receipt or other objective piece of evidence, there are several different ways non-economic damages can be calculated, including the following:
The multiplier method applies a variable, usually between 1 and 5 and multiplies it by the amount of economic damages. For example, if the victim suffered $10,000 and a multiplier of 3 is used, the non-economic damages would be valued at $30,000. Higher multipliers are usually used when more serious injuries or case-specific factors suggest the case is worth more.
Per Diem Method
The per diem method applies a number for each day the victim sustained non-economic losses due to the accident. For example, if the number is $100 and the victim experienced pain and suffering for 100 days, the victim’s non-economic damages would be valued at $10,000.
Jury instructions usually tell juries to use their own common sense and life experiences to determine how much compensation would be appropriate if they suffered similar injuries.
Evidence to Prove Non-Economic Damages
Proving non-economic damages can be challenging, but there may be some ways to establish them, including through the following types of evidence:
If you were injured in an accident, it can be helpful to keep a daily pain journal in which you describe information such as:
- Your injuries
- Treatment details
- How you are responding to treatment
- A daily grade of your pain from 1 to 10
- How your injuries affect your daily life
Your lawyer can give you tips about keeping your pain journal.
An expert witness may provide testimony about how injuries of the type you suffered may impact your life in the years to come.
Testimony from Friends and Family
Friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and others who interact with you on a daily basis can testify about how injuries affect you. This can prove valuable testimony because the witness can testify about their activities before and after the accident.
Am I Entitled to Non-Economic Damages?
To win your case and prove you deserve compensation for your non-economic damages, you will need to prove the following legal elements:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care.
- The defendant breached their duty of care by doing something or not doing something in particular.
- The defendant’s breach of the duty of care caused the accident.
- You suffered damages as a result of the accident.
Your lawyer can help gather evidence to help you establish each element of your case.
How an Oklahoma Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help With Non-Economic Damages Claims
If you suffer from injuries you sustained in an accident, you can turn to a lawyer to help with your claim. A personal injury lawyer can investigate your case, gather evidence, and identify the various non-economic damages you suffered and their worth. Our Oklahoma personal injury lawyer can also negotiate for fair compensation on your behalf.
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.
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