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What Are Economic Damages & Non-Economic Damages?

Scott McCullough Dec. 21, 2021

The fallout from a car accident manifests in many different ways. Some are obvious, like when an individual suffers from injuries, requiring medical attention and ongoing treatment that an insurance company will have to cover. All states have laws protecting citizens from vehicle and property damage. Then, there are less obvious expenses that include emotional trauma and income loss. To receive compensation, a person can bring about a lawsuit in which they sue for economic and non-economic damages. It’s important to know the differences between these two types of costs.


Economic damages are those that the court can calculate by reviewing records or documents. For example, a person’s medical bills detail how much money each procedure and treatment costs. A judge will also take the individual’s wages and future earning capacity into account. Have an expert look at property and vehicle damage and create a report documenting proof of any out-of-pocket expenses incurred after an accident.


Non-economic damages include pain and suffering or emotional trauma stemming from the accident itself. In other words, these are cases where an accident causes lasting injuries that prevent a person from living their full life. For example, individuals who develop PTSD or anxiety after a crash can seek redress. Families that lose a loved one in a collision often seek compensation to cover the sudden loss of income.

These expenses are more challenging to prove in a lawsuit because there is no monetary amount tied to someone’s or pain and suffering, mental anguish, or loss of consortium. Unlike economic damages, these costs are subjective and analyzed differently to determine a monetary value that the victim should receive, as there are no records that can assess their value.


Emotional distress is particularly difficult to prove in a claim. There are a variety of aspects included in the category of emotional distress. The following are generally the most common:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Embarrassment

  • Fright

  • Grief

  • Humiliation

  • Mental anguish

  • Physical pain


A person who is suing for non-economic damages, particularly emotional distress, should hire a skilled attorney to help them to recover the restitution they deserve. The right lawyer has the experience and tenacity needed to ensure that their client gets an amount that is fair. A legal professional can make sure the person receives enough economic and non-economic damages compensation to cover all of their costs.

The Law Offices of McCullough & Leboff, PA has the resources and experience to represent these types of cases. Schedule a free consultation today by calling and let us discuss your claim with you and determine the best action to pursue.