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Understanding Non-Economic Damages


If you’ve been injured by the actions of a negligent person, corporation, or government entity, you may be able to file a claim and pursue both economic and non-economic damages. Before you take legal action, it’s important to work with a reliable and knowledgeable attorney who can help you understand the difference between these two terms. Economic damages refer to verifiable monetary losses, such as lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, and loss of earning potential. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are much more subjective and difficult to quantify.

Non-economic damages in South Carolina include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Inconvenience
  • Emotional and mental distress
  • Loss of companionship
  • Injury of reputation
  • Physical limitations
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of society
  • Humiliation
  • Fear of loss, injury, or illness

How Much Is My Pain & Suffering Worth?

To determine non-economic damages based on pain and suffering, the court needs to analyze how your injury has impacted your overall physical, emotional, and mental well-being. The judge also needs to consider the circumstances that led to your injury, the degree of negligence involved, your age, and how the injury impacts your ability to hold gainful employment. These intangible losses aren’t as clear-cut as economic losses, which can be proven with receipts and bill statements.

Because it’s so difficult to put a price on these losses, South Carolina law places a cap on the amount of damages a plaintiff can be awarded. This cap varies based on the type of claim being filed and the number of plaintiffs involved in the case. For example, a medical malpractice lawsuit can only yield $350,000 in non-economic damages per defendant, and the overall total can’t exceed $1.05 million. Likewise, any lawsuit made against a government entity only awards $300,000 for intangible losses like pain and suffering.

The Statute of Limitations

Per the statute of limitations, plaintiffs only have 3 years to file their personal injury and medical malpractice claims. It’s important to note that a claim is not valid if a plaintiff is more than 50% at-fault for an incident or accident.

Schedule a Consultation to Explore Your Legal Options

If you’re interested in pursuing economic and non-economic damages, contact the Charleston personal injury lawyers at Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC. During your consultation, we can review the details of your case, consult with medical experts, and develop a litigation strategy that reflects your financial and legal goals.

Contact Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLCat (843) 968-0886 to schedule a consultation.

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