A serious accident can impact your entire life and may leave you with symptoms from which you never completely recover. Money cannot put things completely right, but it is the most readily accessible mechanism in the legal world to help a person severely injured because of the reckless or deliberate acts of another party.
Compensation received by a plaintiff for monetary expenses related to a personal injury case is known as economic damages. However, non-economic damages in Burlington County injury cases can also be major considerations. These may incorporate a variety of different mental and emotional damages, all of which an experienced attorney could fight to win compensation for on behalf of an injured victim. Contact a skilled injury lawyer today.
Economic Damages vs. Non-Economic Damages
By design, economic damages are fairly easy to measure. They may include medical bills, loss of employment, loss of property, and loss of past and future earnings—essentially, any loss that can be objectively examined and quantified.
Non-economic damages are more subjective and usually deal with pain and suffering. They may include:
- Loss of mobility, sight, hearing, limb, etc.
- Permanent disability, such as paralysis
- Mental health troubles and emotional trauma
The spouse or partner of a plaintiff may also file for loss of consortium—more simply, “loss of comfort and companionship”—resulting from their loved one’s injury.
No Damage Caps in New Jersey
Many states place a cap on the number of damages for pain and suffering a plaintiff may receive, but that is not the case in the Garden State. The only cap on such damages in Burlington County relates to punitive damages, which are a separate matter meant to punish the defendant.
Awarding of punitive damages is relatively rare, but as per New Jersey Statute 2A:15-5.14, they are capped at five times the amount of compensatory damages or $350,000, whichever is more.
Considerations on Damages
While much depends on individual circumstances, a judge—or jury, depending on the circumstances—may take into consideration various additional factors as well when determining the amount of non-economic damages to grant the plaintiff. These include the long-term repercussions of the injury, the effect on the victim’s quality of life, and mental or emotional anguish.
Contributory or Comparative Negligence
Not all accidents are entirely the fault of the defendants. Like the rest of New Jersey, Burlington County follows a modified comparative fault system, which means a party can recover damages from an accident only if found to be less than 50 percent at fault themselves.
If the injured party in some way contributed to the accident, any damage award is reduced by their percentage of fault. If the party is responsible for more than 50 percent of the accident, they cannot recover any damages at all.
For example, say a person was badly injured after being hit by a car, but that person was crossing against the light when the accident occurred. A jury or judge may find the victim 40 percent at fault, which means they could recover up to 60 percent of available damages.
Burlington County Attorneys Can Fight for Non-Economic Damages
Nothing but time and patience can restore a severely injured person to full health. Quality rehabilitation and therapy can help them achieve the best quality of life possible, but often at a steep financial cost.
If you or a loved one suffered serious injury through no fault of your own, a Burlington County personal injury lawyer could fight hard to get you compensation for all the damage you have suffered already and may have to deal with moving forward. Schedule a consultation today, and see what non-economic damages in your Burlington County injury case may be available to you.