This is a valid question that’s often on the minds of victims dealing with personal injury. An accident and injury can often be a life-changing event that places a person’s life in turmoil overnight. In Nebraska, the goal of damages is to put the injured person in the same position as he or she would have been had there been no injury. While nothing can put the injured party back to exactly where they were prior to the injury, special and general damages can certainly help.
There are two types of damages available—economic and non-economic. The amount of damages is solely up to the fact finder (Judge or Jury) and the Judge or Jury may consider the types of damages elaborated on below:
Economic Damages (or Special Damages)
- The reasonable value of medical (hospital, nursing, and similar) care and supplies reasonably needed by and actually provided to the victim(and reasonably certain to be needed and provided in the future);
- The (wages, salary, profits, reasonable value of the working time, business) the plaintiff has lost because of his/her (inability, diminished ability) to work;
- The reasonable value of the (earning capacity, business or employment opportunities) the plaintiff is reasonably certain to lose in the future;
- Reasonable Funeral costs;
- The reasonable value of the plaintiff’s loss of the use of his/her property;
- The reasonable value of the cost of repair or replacement of personal property;
- The reasonable cost of obtaining substitute domestic services.
Non-Economic Damages (or General Damages)
- The reasonable monetary value of the physical pain and mental suffering (and emotional distress) the plaintiff has experienced (and is reasonably certain to experience in the future);
- The reasonable monetary value of the inconvenience the plaintiff has experienced (and is reasonably certain to experience in the future);
- The reasonable monetary value of loss of society and companionship suffered by the plaintiff and reasonably certain to be suffered in the future;
- The reasonable monetary value of any injury to plaintiff’s reputation;
- The reasonable monetary value of any humiliation the plaintiff has experienced (and is reasonably certain to experience in the future);
- The plaintiff’s (husband’s, wife’s) loss of consortium. Consortium means those things to which a person is entitled by reason of the marriage relationship. Includes affection, love, companionship, comfort, assistance, moral support, and the enjoyment of (sexual, conjugal) relations.
In the determination of economic and non-economic damages, the fact finder must consider the nature and extent of the injury, including whether the injury is temporary or permanent, and whether any resulting disability is partial or total.
See Nebraska Jury instructions on damages; NJI2d Civ. 4.00; General instruction on Damages in a Tort Action – Economic and Noneconomic Damages.