Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

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Personal Injury Claims: What Are "Non-Economic" Damages and how to I prove them?

Posted Wednesday, November 9, 2011 by Chris Thayer

One component of damages that a claimant in a personal injury action is entitled to are what is known as “non-economic” damages. These are very broadly defined as subjective, nonmonetary losses, including but not limited to pain and suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, disability or disfigurement, emotional distress, loss of “society and companionship”, loss of “consortium” (if married), and other similar injury.

There is no fixed mathematical formula for calculating the amount of award that is reasonable to compensate an injured person for his or her “non-economic” damages. The factors that are generally to be considered are: the nature and extent of injuries, the amount of pain and suffering, and the duration of any disability (and the expected duration of such disability). The majority of these elements are typically established by medical experts and as documented in your medical records.

Keep in mind that, although there is no set formula for determining what constitutes a fair or reasonable award for pain and suffering, many insurance companies nonetheless will attempt to do just that. There are a number of insurance companies that utilize proprietary computerized software to come up with what they think is a “fair” award. Most often these calculations dramatically undervalue a claimant’s actual experience, and in order to ensure that you are fully and fairly compensated, you will need to consider consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney to help protect your rights.

As noted in previous blog posts, one thing you can to do help ensure that your claim gets fairly evaluated is to ensure that you provide a clear, detailed (and honest) description of all of your symptoms to your medical providers. Make sure to the best of your ability that your pain complaints and any limitations on your daily activities are clearly documented by your provider. This will not only help with directing your care, it will help the insurance adjuster properly evaluate your personal injury claim.

Keep in mind that documentation (and for some items pictures or video) are essential. Maintain a journal that details how the accident and your injuries are affecting you on a day to day basis. Take pictures of bruises or other visible injuries or scarring. There are other tips that an experienced personal injury attorney can provide, which cannot be shared on such a public forum. If you have questions, I would encourage you to call me for a free initial consultation or evaluation.