Personal injury damages fall into two categories:
Compensatory damages – Damages that are intended to compensate the injured plaintiff for measurable losses suffered due to an accident or injury. Compensatory damages are further broken down into economic damages, those that have intrinsic monetary value like medical bills and lost wages, and non-economic damages, those that have no clear monetary value but can be quantified in an effort to make the plaintiff whole (i.e. pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional distress).
Punitive damages – Extra damages that are meant to punish a defendant for especially egregious or careless behavior while also serving as a deterrent to society at large.
The vast majority of personal injury claims will deal solely with compensatory damages as the plaintiff attempts to recover what they have lost. Some of these damages are easy to put a dollar amount on, such as medical bills and lost wages, but other “non-economic” damages are much more difficult to quantify.
A skilled attorney will be able to demonstrate the extent of any non-economic losses and demonstrate the value of those losses to a jury.