Non Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are a fundamental part of most personal injury claims. They compensate you for the intangible harm that your injury has inflicted upon you. Yes, you will get a bill for medical expenses arising from a truck accident, and the defendant’s insurance company can probably pay it. 

However, you won’t get a bill for pain and suffering, though–but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. Non-economic damages can compensate you for this kind of harm and can amount to well over half the value of a typical personal injury claim.

Pain and Suffering

“Pain and suffering” refers to physical pain and discomfort. 

Pain and suffering may include the following: 

There are many other forms of physical pain and suffering that accident victims endure. Pain and suffering are a major component of most catastrophic injury claims. However, they do not apply to wrongful death cases where the victim is killed instantly.

Emotional Distress/Mental Anguish

Emotional distress damages compensate you for fear, shock, anxiety, and depression. It includes harm that you would see a psychologist for. For example, a child might develop a lifelong fear of dogs after being bitten by a neighbor’s dog. This can drastically impact an accident victim’s daily life. 


There are many ways that the human body can suffer disfigurement. Imagine you suffered burns that resulted in extensive facial scarring. Compensating you for your medical bills simply wouldn’t be enough to restore you. Neither would additional compensation, but “disfigurement” damages provide a monetary remedy for the harm you suffered. 


Inconvenience compensates you for significant disruption of your daily routines or lifestyle as a consequence of your injury. Imagine that you can no longer bathe or dress yourself without assistance. Damages for inconvenience are intended to help make you whole again in the aftermath of an accident. 

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

After sustaining injuries in an accident, you may be unable to live life as you once did. Damages of ”loss of enjoyment of life” compensate you for the loss of your ability to participate in hobbies, sports, exercise, household chores, and social interactions.

Physical Impairment

There are many types of physical impairments for which you can seek compensation. These impairments prevent you from performing basic bodily functions that you once could. Imagine that your injuries confine you to a wheelchair for life or for a significant length of time. You may be entitled to compensation if you are physically impaired after a personal injury accident. 

Loss of Consortium

“Loss of consortium” is a claim that belongs to your spouse or registered domestic partner to the extent that your injury affects them. California jury instructions describe it as “[t]he loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support, losing the enjoyment of sexual relations, or the ability to have children.” 

Calculating the Value of Non-Economic Damages

Proving non-economic damages can be tricky because of their ambiguous nature. How much is the pain of a broken leg worth, for example? This problem is especially acute during settlement negotiations when the parties can only guess how a court would resolve the claim. However, litigants commonly use two popular methods to calculate pain and suffering and (sometimes) other non-economic damages–the per diem method and the multiplier method.

The Per Diem Method

Under the per diem (“per day”) method, you simply assign a daily value to your suffering and multiply it by the number of days you suffered. For example, $200/day X 50 days = $10,000. This approach, of course, leaves the parties haggling over a daily value to assign the victim’s suffering.

The Multiplier Method

Under the multiplier method, the parties choose a multiplier between 1.5 and 5 and multiply it by the amount of economic damages. (2.5 X $7,000 in economic damages = $17,500, for example). This approach simply leaves the parties arguing over the value of the multiplier.

Insurance Company Software

Insurance companies use various software (Colossus is a popular brand) to calculate non-economic damages, particularly pain and suffering. These programs tend to greatly underestimate the true value of a personal injury claim, especially non-economic damages.


In mediation, a trained third-party mediator attempts to facilitate an agreement between the parties. Although mediators cannot force the parties to settle, they are often successful in achieving settlements. 

Seek Justice Starting Today with a Hermosa Beach Personal Injury Lawyer

A California personal injury lawyer can help you negotiate non-economic damages at the settlement table or argue them in court. The most common outcome of a personal injury claim is settlement. Ironically, however, the best way to achieve a settlement is often to prepare to win at trial. 

Defendants fear lawyers with successful trial experience and they don’t want to face them in court–so they settle. Our Hermosa Beach personal injury attorneys at The Simon Law Group can help. Contact us today at (424) 722-3209.