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What Are Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

Colburn Law

After an accident, you may want to take legal action against the person responsible for your injury. Through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim, you have the right to recover compensation for the losses you suffered due to the at-fault party’s actions. Under Washington law, you can recover two types of damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages, or your tangible, financial losses, will likely make up the majority of your potential settlement. 

Common Types of Economic Damages

Economic damages refers to the financial losses you sustained in your accident. These losses may involve the medical expenses you incurred to treat your injuries, specialized rehabilitation or physical therapy, and the total cost of your future medical care. 

Other types of economic damages may include the following.

  • Mobility equipment
  • Disability modifications to your home or vehicle
  • Property repairs and replacements
  • Lost wages during your recovery period
  • Loss of future earnings if you are unable to work due to your injuries

Washington does not impose any limits on the amount of economic damages you can recover in a personal injury lawsuit. When filing an insurance claim, however, your total award will be limited by the at-fault party’s policy limits. A Bellevue personal injury attorney can evaluate your legal options and determine which option is right for you.

How to Estimate Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Case

To prove your right to economic damages, you will need to show that the at-fault party in your case is responsible for your injuries and supply enough evidence showing that you incurred financial losses. You will also need to provide financial documentation so that your lawyer can estimate your potential award and help you avoid an insufficient settlement. 

After your accident, collect the following documents and bring them to your attorney as soon as possible.

  • Invoices
  • Receipts
  • Paystubs
  • Medical records and bills
  • Correspondence with your employer
  • Photographs and videos

Economic versus Non-Economic Damages

While economic damages involve tangible losses, non-economic damages refer to the physical and emotional pain and suffering you endured due to the accident. Unlike other states, Washington does not limit the amount of non-economic losses you can claim. These losses may include chronic pain, emotional distress, depression, disability, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Because these damages cannot be quantified using receipts or invoices, your attorney may need to use specialized formulas to calculate the extent of your damages. Different insurance companies assess non-economic damages using different formulas, so it is important to speak to your lawyer to receive an accurate estimate.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Case

If you plan on filing a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim in Washington state, you need a qualified Seattle personal injury attorney on your side. Navigating the claims process can be a challenge without legal representation, especially when it comes to calculating your estimated award. Your lawyer will be able to examine each aspect of your case, evaluate your optimal path to maximum compensation, and assess whether any settlement offers you receive are sufficient to meet your needs.

As soon as possible following your accident, seek medical attention for your injuries and save all documentation you receive. After you receive treatment, contact a Washington personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. Your attorney will then help you take your first steps toward securing the compensation you deserve.