What is a Pecuniary Loss in a Personal Injury Claim?

There are many reasons why people feel the need to file a personal injury claim. Maybe you have been permanently disabled, or perhaps you haven’t been able to work since your injury. Perhaps you or your family member faces significant medical or rehabilitation expenses as a result of an injury.

If you win your case, the amount of money you are entitled to receive for compensation depends on a number of factors. You may be entitled to receive compensation for pecuniary and non-pecuniary losses, the total amount of which is determined by the judge or jury on your case.

What’s a pecuniary loss?

Simply put, pecuniary losses are losses that you can measure in money, usually by producing a receipt or a bill to show that you have paid an expense or will incur an expense or financial loss in the future.

Typical pecuniary losses that are determined in a personal injury claim often include:

  • Lost wages because of time missed from work;
  • Medical bills that aren’t covered by insurance;
  • Future lost wages because of a long term or permanent disability;
  • Costs associated with damage to a car or property; and
  • Any other damages that can be measured or calculated monetarily.

Pecuniary damages are easier to predict than non-pecuniary damages because they are measurable. (Keep in mind, just because we say “easier” doesn’t mean it is easy). When you file a personal injury claim, you will need to provide documentation necessary to prove your pecuniary losses.

Non-Pecuniary Losses can be Difficult to Measure

Non-pecuniary damages in a personal injury claim are those losses that cannot be measured precisely in money. These losses typically include intangibles like pain and suffering, or loss of enjoyment. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a “pain-o-meter” that can precisely measure what someone’s pain and suffering is worth. So measuring a non-pecuniary loss like pain and suffering requires the judge or jury to exercise their discretion.

Future employability may be considered as a non-pecuniary loss if your injuries limit you from being able to work or force you to consider alternate employment. In general, the more severe your injury is and the more functional limitations you have as a result, the higher the award you should get for non-pecuniary losses.

If you have suffered an injury or loss that you believe was caused by the fault of another, it’s important to sit down with a qualified personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. An experienced lawyer will be able to identify possible areas where you have suffered losses that may entitle you to receive non-pecuniary damages and will be able to tell you what type of evidence you will need to be able to prove your losses.

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