On this blog, we often discuss how a personal injury claim can compensate an injured person for their damages. In this post, we will dive into a little more detail about what "damages" means in this context, and how Colorado law differentiates between types of damages.
Essentially, "damages" refers to the costs suffered by the victim. The underlying idea behind holding a defendant liable for the plaintiff's injuries is to compensate for the costs the injured person has suffered as a result of the accident. These costs can be classified as economic damages or noneconomic damages.
For example, as a result of an accident in which he was injured, Adrian has $50,000 in medical bills. As a result of his injuries, Adrian couldn't work for 6 months, and lost $50,000 in income. Adding these together, these losses come up to $100,000 in damages. However, Adrian should not stop there. An injury can affect almost every aspect of a person's life, and limit a person's ability to earn a good living in the future. A good personal injury attorney can help Adrian calculate the extent of his economic damages.
Noneconomic damages can be harder to calculate. Under Colorado law, noneconomic damages include pain and suffering, inconvenience, impairment of quality of life, emotional stress and physical impairment or disfigurement. These may sound like loosely defined effects, but anyone who has ever suffered a serious injury knows they represent very real losses.
Often, people who are injured get a settlement offer from an insurance company early in the process. And often, these offers don't take into account the full amount of damages the injured person deserves to be compensated for. It's important to talk to a personal injury attorney about calculating damages.