If you are injured in an accident due to another party’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation for the losses you sustained because of the accident. That compensation is referred to as compensatory damages.
Typically in personal injury cases, you can receive economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are easy to calculate and include things like medical costs and lost wages related to the accident. Non-economic damages are harder to put into dollar amounts. They include things like pain and suffering and other losses that are physical, emotional, or psychological in nature.
Punitive damages can be awarded in some cases where the negligent party’s behavior is determined to be especially egregious. They are used to deter other parties from acting in the same way as the party found liable. In Nevada, a party has to be awarded compensatory damages before they can receive punitive damages.
Economic Damages Include a Range of Expenses
Being in an accident can turn your life and your family’s life upside down in an instant. One day you are living life normally, and the next suddenly you have more bills to pay than you can imagine.
Here are some of the common expenses included under the economic damage umbrella:
- All medical bills related to the accident—doctor’s visits, tests, therapy, rehabilitation, prescription and over-the-counter medicine, equipment (like crutches), and transportation costs to get to treatment among many others.
- Mental health expenses count as well—it’s not only your body that bears the brunt of an accident, it can affect you psychologically and emotionally as well.
- All income you lost out on and will lose in the future because of your injuries are included—wages, tips, bonuses all need to be included in the calculation of economic damages.
- Property damages—if your car was totaled or some other property was damaged, you can recover the cost to repair or replace it.
- Household services—costs of doing things around the house that you can no longer do, like cleaning, mowing the lawn, taking care of children, among other tasks.
Be sure to keep all receipts and invoices for your records. They will be an enormous help when calculating what you are owed.
How To Calculate Future Economic Damages?
Once you’ve accounted for the direct and more immediate expenses from the accident you need to get a handle on what your expenses from the accident will be down the road.
Maybe you were injured to the point you can never return to your job and missed out on a promotion. Maybe you had to change to a lower-paying job because of the accident. Maybe you will need physical therapy for the rest of your life.
The expenses of all of these scenarios and others like them count as economic damages. There are experts who can help you assess these damages and come up with an accurate number to claim compensation for.
Does Nevada Law Limit Economic Damages?
There is no law that limits the amount of compensation someone can cover for economic damages in personal injury cases. So there is no cap on expenses like car repair, medical bills, lost wages and the like as long as they are fair and reasonable in the eyes of the jury or judge.
However, when a government employee’s negligence in the course of doing their job causes an injury, you cannot recover more than $100,000 in damages. This is the case even when your damages are far greater than $100,000. Punitive damages aren’t allowed against government employees either.
Other limits under Nevada law relate to non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. These types of damages, like pain and suffering among others, are limited to $350,000.
Nevada law also limits the amount of punitive damages. Punitive damages are not compensatory damages. They are considered as a form of punishment to the defendant. Punitive damages are limited to:
- $300,000 if compensatory damages are less than $100,000,
- or three times the total of compensatory damages if they are above $100,000.
Again, punitive damages aren’t intended to compensate the injured party for their losses, they are meant to send a message to the negligent party and to deter others from acting in the same manner.
Contact a Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Assessing Economic Damages
After an accident, you could be reeling from an injury, dealing with damage to your car, and figuring out how to pay the endless bills if you are too hurt to work.
An experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney will help you sort through the many details and assist you in seeking all the compensation you are due. Contact us today at (702) 570-9000.