What are Economic Damages?

In personal injury and wrongful death cases, damages are the amount of money awarded to the plaintiff due to negligent, reckless, or intentional action of the defendant. Generally, damages fall into two categories: economic and non-economic damages - also referred to as special and general damages. An award or settlement is designed to compensate an injured individual or a decedent's family for the total economic and non-economic damages they may incur.

Economic damages

Economic damages are related to specific money that may have been spent or lost due to an injury. These damages can be calculated with precision.

Types of economic damages include:

  • Past and future lost earnings and benefits
  • The replacement cost of household services
  • Medical or other projected future expenses
  • Expenses to repair or replace an automobile or other damaged item
  • Funeral and burial expenses

Non-economic damages

Non-economic damages are damages that are unrelated to specific financial losses. These damages can have a profound impact on the plaintiff. These damages cannot be calculated precisely.

Types of non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Humiliation
  • Emotional trauma
  • Reputational damage
  • Disfigurement