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What is the difference between economic and non-economic damages?

When you are involved in retrieving damages for a personal injury lawsuit in South Carolina, there are two categories under which you can claim damage: economic and non-economic. In short, economic damages are tangible and non-economic damages are intangible.

Loss of a form of income or an added cost may be considered economic. Something that does not hinder your wallet but does hinder your lifestyle may be considered non-economic damage. This post will discuss what South Carolina covers for each in a personal injury case.

Economic damages

In South Carolina, economic damages, or pecuniary damages, include:

  1. Medical expenses and medical care
  2. Rehabilitation services
  3. Education costs
  4. Custodial care
  5. Loss of earnings and income
  6. Burial costs
  7. Loss of property
  8. Costs to repair or replace property
  9. Loss of spousal services
  10. Loss of employment or loss of business
  11. Loss of retirement income

Non-economic damages

South Carolina law defines these types of damages as “non-pecuniary damages,” which can include any combination of the following:

  1. Pain and suffering
  2. Inconvenience
  3. Physical impairment
  4. Disfigurement
  5. Mental anguish and emotional distress
  6. Loss of society or companionship
  7. Loss of consortium
  8. Fear of loss/illness/injury
  9. Humiliation or injury to reputation

Can you obtain both?

Yes, a South Carolina court can award you both economic and noneconomic damages, but there are limitations. is a cap to how much monetary payment you can receive as well as how long you have to file a claim.

In general, you have three years to file a personal injury claim to recover damages. As for the monetary cap, malpractice suits offer up to $350,000 of non-economic damages per individual.

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Doughty Law Firm, LLC
6650 Rivers Ave
North Charleston, SC 29406

Phone: 843-501-9342
Fax: 843-576-5401
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