The losses a person may suffer in a crash are referred to as damages. Aside from actual physical injuries, damages can take many forms. However, they generally fall into one of two categories: (1) economic damages and (2) non-economic damages.
Economic Damages. Economic damages refer to objective monetary losses. They include issues such as incurred medical expenses, lost earnings, burial costs, loss of use of property, property replacement or repair costs, employment loss, and employment and/or business opportunity loss. RCW 4.56.250. These are often losses that a person can demonstrate with a bill, receipt, payroll record, or business record. When a victim has suffered any of these losses due to a crash, the law entitles the victim to recover financial compensation to replace the losses.
Non-Economic Damages. Non-economic damages refer to the subjective, non-monetary losses a person suffers. Among other types of losses, these include pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, disability, disfigurement, emotional distress, loss of companionship, damage to marital relationships, and damage to parent-child relationships. RCW 4.56.250. Unfortunately, the law is not able to relieve a victim of these emotional impacts. As a result, it instead attempts to provide the victim justice by entitling the victim to recover financial compensation.