What Are Hedonic Damages?

woman depressed
Madeleine Jones
February 2, 2021

An injury can have an impact on every facet of a person’s life. It can have a physical, emotional, and economic impact. The Nevada courts recognize the damage a personal injury can cause.  The courts give injury victims the chance to recover damages from a careless, reckless, negligent, or unlawful party. One of these recoverable losses falls under the category of hedonic damages. Here’s what you need to know about these types of damages after a personal injury accident.

woman depressed

What Are Hedonic Damages?

Hedonic damages cover the loss of enjoyment of life. They are hard to quantify as economic losses, but they do qualify as emotional damage. Pain and suffering, and hedonic damages all are part of the same category.

Any emotional damage, no matter what type can be challenging to prove in court. One of our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers can help you claim and prove your hedonic damages. This type of case is usually based on the fact that the victim’s quality of life is worth more than the compensations obtained for the lost possessions. The importance of hedonic damages refers to intangible and subjective life values.

Example of Hedonic Damage

Let’s say you were severely injured in a car accident and it results in full-body paralysis. You are now quadriplegic because of the negligence of the defendant. Under Nevada law, you would be entitled to damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of future earning capacities but also for the lost enjoyment of life given your paralyzing condition.

After the accident, for example, maybe your happy marriage falters due to your quadriplegia and it ends in a divorce. You might also have been a very active and sporty person before the accident. Your current state may be preventing you from any sports.

What Do Hedonic Damages Cover?

Hedonic damage is an economic term. However, when an accident victim loses the enjoyment of life it plays a big part in court. The word “hedonic” relates to pleasant sensations. Losing life’s pleasures because of a personal injury can enclose a variety of things, from the inability to play your favorite sport to not being able to do any traveling. Any loss of value, quality, or enjoyment of life because of an injury may be compensable through a legal claim.

Backers of hedonic damages take the stance that compensation for emotional and physical suffering is just not enough to cover all of the victim’s intangible damages. They advocate that the victim deserves monetary awards as well for the loss of life’s enjoyment.

At the typical courtroom, won’t hear the term hedonic damages unlesss an economist brings it up. If the plaintiff can prove the hedonic damages, the courts, however, have no choice but to listen.

How to Prove Hedonic Damages

Hedonic damages don’t have precise economic values, they are intangible losses. These include economic damages like medical bills or lost wages. These damages compensate for unique losses felt by the victim. This is why it can be difficult to calculate.

In many instances, victims will receive less money than what they request in hedonic damages. The reason behind this being the injured party wasn’t able to prove the extent of the damages. For loss of enjoyment of life, there are no medical records or police reports that can serve as evidence. Instead, the victim must be able to support their claim with evidence like:

  • What they can’t longer do because of their injuries
  • Any experience missed because they were on treatment or recovering
  • Loss of emotional or mental happiness because of their injuries
  • The opinion of an expert on the loss of enjoyment of life
  • Willingness-to-pay model (WTP)
  • Value of statistical life (VSL)

WTP and VSL are two of the possible approaches used to calculate hedonic damages. A lawyer may use one of these approaches to quantify your losses and negotiate the right amount. For the courts, it is difficult to quantify hedonic damages accurately. There is no correct formula to calculate intangible damages. There are rules of reasonableness a courtroom can choose to follow and general guidelines.

Hedonic Damages Compensation in Las Vegas

If you have been the victim of recklessness, negligence, or intentional acts of a third party, then Nevada law gives you the right to sue and recover damages, including hedonic damages. Loss of enjoyment of life damages can be difficult to prove and the defendant is likely to dispute the number of damages you’re claiming. 

This is why you need to work with a qualified attorney who has the experience to handle personal injury cases involving loss of enjoyment of life damages. At Cogburn Law, our lawyers have represented injured victims for years, helping them through the litigation process. Call (702) 748-7777 for a free initial consultation. You don’t pay until we win!

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