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Can I Receive Compensation for Depression Caused by an Injury?

Posted in Blog on April 29, 2016

woman depressed from injury

After you get hurt in an accident, it is very common to experience significant stress and anxiety in relation to your condition. For example, if a professional athlete sustains a traumatic brain injury (TBI) on the field and can no longer play sports, she or he might slip into what feels like a state of depression. Or perhaps you hurt your neck in a car crash and simply cannot do your job, which involves heavy lifting. Being unable to work—and dealing with lost wages on top of it—can be an extremely frustrating experience.

At Zaner Harden Law, we understand how difficult it can be to sustain a serious personal injury that prevents you from working and ultimately results in the additional emotional or psychological harms. If you do begin experiencing emotional or psychological symptoms as a result of your injury and your inability to work, can you recover damages? In short, it is possible to recover damages for depression caused by a serious injury, and these damages typically are defined as “emotional distress” damages. To better understand how your own case might fit in, we should discuss this type of damages in more detail.

Non-Economic Damages in Colorado Personal Injury Cases

Damages for emotional distress or emotional stress—or the depression and anxiety that results from an injury—are a form of non-economic damages. Under Colorado law, there is a cap on non-economic damages in personal injury cases. This means that a jury can only award up to a certain amount for emotional stress. However, plaintiffs certainly can be compensated for the stress, anxiety, and other psychological impacts of an injury. What are non-economic damages? To understand this type of damage award, it is important to understand certain distinctions in compensatory damages.

Compensatory damages are intended to compensate a person who has been injured. Compensatory damages typically are divided into two separate categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. While the definitions of these terms might not be readily apparent, they are actually relatively easy to understand:

  • Economic damages: these are damages that are connected to a specific loss. In other words, they compensate a victim for objective losses that are connected to a precise dollar figure. We usually think of economic damages as those including hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages, for example. Each of these losses has a specific dollar figure connected to it—your doctor’s bills will show a specific amount, and it is easy enough to figure out precisely how much money you would have earned at your job if you had not suffered an injury.
  • Non-economic damages: these are damages that, unlike economic damages, do not have a specific, objective dollar figure. Instead, these damages are intended to compensate injury victims for losses that are more subjective, or are up for debate. A common example of non-economic damages includes “pain and suffering.” As you might imagine, it can be very difficult to agree upon a specific dollar amount that could compensate an injury victim for the pain she has experienced.

Let Us Help You Recover Compensation for Depression Caused by an Injury

If you have questions about the kinds of damages for which you may be eligible, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer. An advocate at Zaner Harden Law can answer your questions today. Contact us for more information.

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