Economic damages are a type of compensation awarded in personal injury cases. People injured in an accident – for example, a car accident or a slip and fall accident – can get compensation from the party responsible for the accident. 

This compensation, also known as damages, is intended to reimburse the injured party for their losses because of the accident. The injured party files a personal injury claim against the responsible party to get these damages. 

In Colorado, there are three categories of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Of these three categories, economic damages are the easiest to calculate. Economic damages are tangible losses that can be verified and calculated. 

To help you understand your rights after an accident, here’s a look at the different types of economic damages you could be entitled to. Contact a Boulder personal injury lawyer to learn more or to get personalized advice regarding economic damages. 

What Are Economic Damages in Colorado? 

Economic damages are simply repayment for financial losses. 

Some of the most common economic damages in personal injury cases in Colorado are: 

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost earnings
  • Property Damage
  • Out-of-pocket expenses 
  • Funeral & burial expenses

The purpose of economic damages is to compensate an injured party for their financial losses and expenses caused by an accident. 

Past Medical Expenses 

Medical bills and costs can be substantial after an accident, so this is an important category of economic damages. You should document all medical expenses to make sure that you get adequate compensation. 

Calculating past medical expenses is relatively straightforward. 

Past medical expenses include: 

  • Hospital bills
  • Doctors visits
  • Surgery costs
  • Therapy and rehab bills – for example, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, or cognitive therapy 
  • Medical equipment 
  • Medication costs
  • At-home nursing care 
  • Long-term care

When collecting medical bills and calculating damages, remember that your expenses should be “necessary and reasonable.” Additionally, you often won’t be able to recover damages from more alternative treatments – for example, homeopathy, acupuncture, or chiropractic services. 

Insurance companies will work hard to avoid as many expenses as possible. A personal injury lawyer understands this strategy and can help you get the compensation you deserve. They’ll help you gather evidence to support your claim and ensure that insurance companies give you a fair settlement. 

Future Medical Expenses

Calculating future medical expenses is more complicated. Experienced personal injury lawyers know how to work with medical professionals to estimate future medical expenses. 

If you’ve been disabled in an accident and will not make a full recovery, you could have substantial ongoing medical expenses. You need to accurately estimate these expenses to ensure you get the compensation you need. You will not have another opportunity to recover these expenses, so it’s important to estimate future medical expenses as accurately as possible. 

Ideally, you’ll wait to make a personal injury claim until you’ve fully recovered from your accident. Doctors call this Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). When a patient reaches MMI, they have made the most improvement doctors think they will make. 

If the statute of limitations or your circumstances force you to file a claim before receiving MMI, you’ll have to estimate future medical expenses. Your team will use medical diagnoses and expert testimony to estimate future medical expenses. 

Lost Earnings 

Lost earnings compensate you for your loss of income after an accident. 

This category of damages covers: 

  • Missed work 
  • Diminished earning capacity 
  • Loss of business opportunity 
  • Forced early retirement

If you’re unable to work as much as you used to or unable to work at all, this is a crucial category of damages. You need to accurately estimate lost earnings to ensure you get the compensation you need to support yourself and your family. 

Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Out-of-pocket damages are a way to compensate accident victims for expenses that don’t fall in another category. It’s a catchall category of damages to ensure you’re reimbursed for all expenses incurred after an accident. 

Examples of out-of-pocket expenses are: 

  • Transportation expenses – for example, rental car or public transportation
  • Household services – for example, cleaning or household chore expenses 
  • Childcare expenses – for example, daycare 

You should keep receipts and records of all expenses related to your accident. 

Funeral & Burial Expenses

If there is a fatality in the accident, this individual’s family can file a wrongful death claim. In these situations, the family is entitled to compensation for funeral and burial expenses. 

Calculating & Proving Economic Damages in Colorado

To recover economic damages, you need evidence of the damages you incurred. 

You can provide evidence of economic damages through: 

  • Receipts
  • Bills
  • Medical records
  • Medical reports
  • Expert testimony 
  • Employment records
  • Pay stubs 
  • Invoices

For past damages, you can use this evidence to calculate the amount of your economic damages. For future expenses, your team will use expert testimony, economic analysis, and medical professionals to estimate your damages. Estimating future expenses can be complicated. A good personal injury lawyer will help you navigate this process and ensure that you are fairly compensated. 

Consult a Boulder Personal Injury Lawyer 

If you’ve been in an accident, contact a Boulder Personal Injury Lawyer at (303) 665-2929 to discuss your case. Your lawyer will help you understand your rights and what damages you’re entitled to. A personal injury lawyer at Tenge Law Firm, LLC can also help you collect evidence supporting your claim and calculate future damages.