Understanding Economic, Non-Economic and Punitive Damages

When you are injured in an any type of accident, there is the possibility of recovering damages or, in other words, compensation for monies lost. If you were to believe the things you see on television, you would think that you stand the chance of winning millions in court because you were hurt in a car accident. While this may be a very rare truth, it is certainly not typical.

In the real world, people are awarded two types of damages: economic and non-economic. In rare cases, people are also awarded punitive damages. Here is the difference between the three.


These damages refer to those you receive for verifiable monetary losses. These include past medical expenses, future medical expenses, the loss of earnings, costs of repair or replacement to your property, loss of use of your property, loss of employment opportunities, and cost of domestic services.


Non-economic compensation is often confused with punitive damages. This is the compensation you are awarded for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.


One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding punitive damages is that they are for pain and suffering. This is not so. What punitive damages are awarded for is to penalize the losing party. These awards are meant to act as a deterrent. The judge who awards punitive damages believe that this punishment will prevent the losing party to act in the same way in the future.

For example, a person was texting and driving and rear-ended your car. You were injured and went to court. You won and the judge awards punitive damages. The intent is for the defendant to be punished in such a way that they do not text and drive again.

If you have questions as to which type of damages you may be entitled to, speak with your attorney. They can tell you what judges in your area typically award and advise you of your options. If you need a personal injury lawyer in Austin, please call our office. We will provide you with a free case evaluation and tell you how to best proceed. Call now.

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