Economic and Noneconomic damages in Car Accidents
In an accident case there are two types of damages, economic and noneconomic. Economic damages include medical bills, lost wages, diminution of value or property damage. Economic damages are defined by statute in Oregon in ORS 31.700(2)(a).
Noneconomic damages are more subjective. Noneconomic damages consist of pain, mental suffering, emotional distress, humiliation etc. Noneconomic damages are also defined by statue in Oregon in ORS 31.710(2)(b).
In a personal injury case, the plaintiff (the injured person) proves her damages by both testimonial and documentary evidence. For instance, in a car accident case, the plaintiff will testify as to how the accident affected her life. She might also call to the stand others her husband or a girlfriend to testify how the accident negatively affected her. She may want to put on testimony from her employer and her doctor as well.
Documentary evidence typically offered in a personal injury case includes police reports, medical reports, medical bills and payroll records (if making a lost wage claim).
It is much easier to prove economic and noneconomic damages in car accidents cases in arbitration than at trial. At trial, the rules of evidence strictly apply and live testimony from a doctor is necessary to prove medical bills were reasonable and necessarily occurred. Likewise, at trial a plaintiff may have to call to the stand someone who keeps records for her company to prove what she earned and how much time she missed from work.
Proving economic and noneconomic damages in car accidents is an important part of your attorney’s job. Your attorney will know both how to obtain evidence of economic and noneconomic damages in car accidents and how to properly present that evidence. Your attorney will also know how to counter any defenses in your case to insure you are properly compensated.