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Camila: Hi Jason. My mom was in an accident that wasn’t her fault. We talked to this one lawyer, but it was kind of confusing. What is the difference in economic and non-economic damages? And what are punitive damages?

Jason:  Hi Camila. I’m sorry to hear your mom was in an accident. I hope that your mom is feeling better after her accident.  And you are right, the language surrounding personal injury cases can be confusing. So, let’s break it down…

Economic damages are losses that have a clear monetary value. For example, medical expenses. If your mom went to the ER, had to have x-rays, follow-up doctor visits, or any other medical expenses resulting from the accident, then these are economic damages.

Camila: That’s good to know. She’s doing better but she did have to go to the emergency room and right now she is still at home recovering.

Jason: Has she missed work?

Camila: Yes. She’s on her feet most of the time when she is at work. So, it would be really hard for her to go back right now.

Jason: Another type of economic damage is lost wages. Your mom may be able to seek compensation for this too.

Camila: Ok, I think I understand now. So, what are non-economic damages?

Jason:  Non-economic damages include things like emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and loss of consortium. So, for example, if your mom experienced depression or anxiety following the accident, she can seek non-economic damages for emotional stress. However, unlike economic damages, there is no set monetary value attached to it.

Camila: How do you decide how much money to pursue?

Jason: The dollar amount to pursue for non-economic damages is generally determined by you and your attorney. It really depends on the circumstances of the case. And if the case is not settled outside of court, a jury ultimately decides the value of the non-economic damages.

Camila: Okay, that makes sense. So, what are punitive damages?

Jason: Punitive damages are a little different than the other ones. These are intended to punish the defendant for poor or reckless conduct rather than to compensate the plaintiff for losses.

Camila: Can you give me some examples of this?

Jason: Some common types of cases where punitive damages are sought include accidents caused by road rage, street racing, and drunk driving.

Camila: Got it! Thank you, Jason. This really helps clear things up for me and my mom.

Jason: You’re welcome!

DeSouza Law firm is a leading personal injury firm representing accident victims throughout Texas.

If you’ve been injured by a car, truck, 18-wheeler, company vehicle, or in the oilfield, call DeSouza injury Lawyers today at 361-799-2222 or visit the firm online at

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