Not every effect that serious injuries from a car accident can have on your life is the same. Some consequences, like being out of work for months or having to undergo extensive physical therapy, are obvious. Others may be very clear to you but more difficult to explain or put a price tag on.
But those intangible harms you are experiencing are no less real or unjust. And South Carolina’s personal injury tort laws allow you to seek compensation for these types of damages, which are known as noneconomic damages.
Typical noneconomic damages
Pain and suffering is one of the most common types of noneconomic damages. Unlike the bills for your medical care and auto repairs, there is no set dollar figure to point to and say, “This is what the negligent driver’s insurance company owes me.” There is a legal art to determining the amount of noneconomic damages a plaintiff is owed. Other noneconomic damages the victim of a car crash can potentially seek include:
- Physical impairment
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium (loss of affection and/or sexual relations)
- Loss of companionship
Depending on the nature and severity of the plaintiff’s injuries, these noneconomic harms can affect them the rest of their lives. In cases of wrongful death, the family’s loss of companionship and consortium of the deceased are permanent.
One limit on recovery for certain cases
Keep in mind that South Carolina limits noneconomic damages (and economic damages) to cases where the plaintiff is no more than 50 percent negligently responsible for their injuries. This is known as modified comparative negligence. If the judge or jury finds that the plaintiff was more than 50 percent responsible for the collision, they cannot recover damages from the defendant.
Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you pursue compensation for all the damages you have suffered.