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Attorney Nicholas G. Farha

Damages in a personal injury case

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2024 | Personal Injury

When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you are trying to recover compensation for everything you lost as a result of someone else’s negligence. The law refers to everything you have lost as your “damages.” To make sure you are compensated for everything you lost, you must itemize and calculate your damages.

Economic damages

Oklahoma law uses two main categories for damages: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages include losses that can be verified, such as your medical expenses and the wages you lost while you were unable to return to work.

It’s important to note that economic damages aren’t limited to the losses you suffered up until you filed your lawsuit. To recover the full compensation you deserve, you must also calculate how these economic damages will continue in the future. This is especially important in cases involving serious injury. If your injuries will require you go through medical and rehabilitative care for many years, you should be compensated for those costs. Similarly, if your injuries mean that you can’t do the kind of work you did before the accident, and that you will therefore earn less than you did before you were injured, you should be compensated for that future loss of income.

Noneconomic damages

A serious injury can affect almost every aspect of your life, and it isn’t easy to put a price tag on some of these changes. The category of noneconomic damages is meant to help the injured recover compensation for these losses, which can include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, disfigurement, mental anguish and more. If you aren’t compensated for these losses, you are not being compensated for everything you have lost as the result of someone else’s negligence.

However, Oklahoma law places some limits on the total amount of noneconomic damages available. In most cases, noneconomic damages are capped at $350,000. In most medical malpractice cases, the limit is $300,000. Under the state’s comparative negligence law, you cannot recover at all if you were more than 50% at fault for the accident in which you were injured.

There are some exceptions to the noneconomic damages limits. These are chiefly for cases in which the defendant’s behavior was especially egregious.