Damages are the only way a court can try to make an injured victim “whole” again. The court cannot undo the injuries or pain a person suffers. However, it can force the at-fault party to compensate the victim for their losses.
Economic damages represent the expenses and monetary losses you incur due to another person’s negligent actions. They are considered compensatory damages because they reimburse you for actual losses and compensate for future financial costs related to the personal injury.
Common examples of economic damages in Minnesota personal injury cases include:
Medical Bills and Expenses
You can receive reimbursements for all medical expenses related to your injury and recovery.
Examples of medical expenses include, but are not limited to:
- Diagnostic costs, including x-rays, CT scans, blood work, MRIs, and ultrasounds
- Ambulance and emergency room bills
- Surgeries and hospital bills
- Bills from doctors and other medical providers
- The cost of physical therapy and rehabilitation
You should keep copies of all receipts, bills, and invoices stemming from your medical care. The insurance company might try to undervalue your medical expenses by including the amount your health insurance company paid instead of the amount the doctor billed. Keeping copies of the actual bills can help your attorney include the total medical charges in a settlement demand.
Loss of Income and Benefits
Many people injured in an accident or other incident miss time from work because of their injuries. If you cannot work because of a personal injury, you can receive compensation for loss of income.
Loss of income claims can include, but are not limited to:
- Wages and salaries
- Overtime pay
- Bonuses and commissions
- Self-employment income
- Retirement contributions, sick time, vacation pay, and other employment benefits
Additionally, you could receive compensation for future lost wages and diminished earning capacity if a permanent impairment prevents you from working or earning the same income as before your accident. Your attorney might hire financial experts to assist in estimating the value of future loss of income.
These expenses typically do not fall under medical care or loss of income. Instead, they are expenses and costs you pay out of your pocket. You would not have incurred these costs had it not been for your injury.
Examples of out-of-pocket expenses include, but are not limited to:
- The cost of long-term nursing care
- Paying someone to assist with personal care and household chores
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Medical supplies and equipment, including bandages, walkers, crutches, hospital beds, wheelchairs, prosthetics, etc.
- Travel to and from medical appointments
- Renovations to your home or vehicle because of a permanent disability
You must have evidence of these expenses to include them in your economic damages. Therefore, always insist on written bills, invoices, and receipts.
The party who caused your accident or injury is usually responsible for damages to your property, such as car repairs after a car accident. Typically, insurance providers settle property damage claims early in the case.
Before signing a release or other document regarding property damages, ask your attorney to review the document. You want to ensure you are not releasing the at-fault party or its insurance provider of liability for other damages.
How Much Are Economic Damages Worth in a Minnesota Personal Injury Claim?
It is much easier to calculate the value of economic damages than non-economic damages. The value of your economic damages is the total cost for each expense or item.
However, if you anticipate future damages, you might need a medical specialist and financial expert to provide expert testimony regarding future financial losses. For example, a medical specialist can explain how your injury prevents you from performing essential tasks. An economist can estimate the cost of future losses based on numerous factors.
Some states cap the amount of damages a person can receive in a personal injury or accident case. However, there is no cap on economic damages in Minnesota.
Beware that allegations of comparative fault could reduce the compensation you receive for your damages. Under Minnesota’s modified comparative fault statute, your financial award can be reduced by your percentage of fault for causing an accident. If your percentage of fault is 51% or more, you are barred from receiving any money for your claim.
Insurance companies often use allegations of comparative fault to undervalue injury claims. An insurance adjuster might try to twist your comments to imply blame. Therefore, it is best to talk with a Minneapolis personal injury lawyer before discussing your case with the insurance company.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Claim for Economic Damages in Minnesota?
The deadline to file a lawsuit for most personal injury claims in Minnesota is complex. You won’t have forever to file your claim. Therefore, speak to an injury attorney as soon as possible to avoid losing your right to pursue a legal claim against the person who caused your injury.
Contact a Minneapolis Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Pursuing Your Economic Damages
Contact or call our law firm Hall Law Personal Injury Attorneys to request a free consultation with an experienced Minneapolis personal injury attorney at (800) 292-1979. We fight to hold negligent parties financially liable for the economic and non-economic damages they cause.