How To Calculate Compensatory Damages After An Injury Due To Negligence
When you get injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensatory damages, which refer to the sum of money the negligent party must pay an injured party to compensate them for causing their injury and losses.
It is essential to consult with a Manchester personal injury attorney to determine the value of your claim in your particular situation.
What Are Compensatory Damages?
Under New Hampshire law, compensatory damages are available to victims of someone else’s negligent conduct or omission. However, it is vital to understand how compensatory damages are calculated to ensure that you are fairly compensated for your damages and losses.
Previously, we discussed the different types of damages available in personal injury cases. Compensatory damages can be broken down into two types:
- Economic; and
- Economic damages
These damages encompass any direct and indirect expenses by an injured person while receiving medical treatment, undergoing surgery, and recovering from their injuries caused by the defendant’s negligence. Economic damages are easily quantifiable through pay stubs, receipts, invoices, paychecks, and other forms of documentation.
Common examples of economic damages are:
- Medical bills
- The cost of repairing a motor vehicle
- Loss of income
- Diminished earning capacity
- The cost of lifecare services
- Non-economic damages
As their name implies, non-economic damages are any subjective, non-monetary losses the injured party incurred as a result of the defendant’s negligence. Unlike economic damages, these damages are somewhat difficult to put a specific dollar amount on. Common examples of non-economic damages are:
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
New Hampshire courts used to put a cap on non-economic damages in personal injury cases until a Supreme Court found the damages cap unconstitutional.
How Are Compensatory Damages Calculated in New Hampshire?
Compensatory damages are calculated by adding up all of your economic and non-economic damages and losses. However, when calculating a proper settlement amount, courts consider a variety of factors, including the injured party’s negligence.
New Hampshire courts use the “apportionment of damages” standard when determining compensatory damages in personal injury cases that involve multiple claimants and/or defendants. The standard is codified in New Hampshire Rev. Stat. § 507:7-e.
Courts determine what compensation should be awarded against each negligent party in accordance with their degree of fault.
Additionally, the court will determine whether the injured party was also negligent and contributed to their injury when calculating the appropriate award of compensatory damages. Under New Hampshire Rev. Stat. § 507:7-d (modified comparative negligence rule), injured parties are entitled to compensation unless their own fault was greater than the defendant’s degree of fault.
In addition to compensatory damages, if the facts of the defendant’s wrongdoing are particularly heinous, you may be able to recover “enhanced compensatory damages” although this is very rare.
Schedule a case review with our attorneys at the Law Office of Manning Zimmerman & Oliveira PLLC to help you calculate compensatory damages in your particular case. Call 603-624-7200 to receive a consultation.