What are Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Damages?

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Any loss due to accidents is compensatory. If you face an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you always have the right to seek reimbursement for your losses or damages. The compensation money depends on the severity of the injuries or losses.

However, while property damages or bodily injuries ( such as broken bones) can easily measure, mental trauma or psychological fears, e.g., traumatic brain injury (TBI), are hard to detect. This is where the damage types are divided into two categories: Pecuniary and non-pecuniary.

However, these legal concepts can be difficult to understand, but complying will help you to achieve what you are entitled to.

Let’s know about them in detail below.

What is Compensatory Damage?

Compensatory damages are those incurred directly from an injury received by a claimant who files a civil suit.

In this context, “injury” may not always refer to actual harm but can be property damages, job loss, financial loss due to inability to work, or other losses. They are all closely related to the incident.

Compensatory damages differ from punitive damages and nominal damages. It includes both pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.

The damages include:

  • Expenses for health care
  • Loss of wages and benefits
  • Damage of properties
  • Pain and sufferings

An injured individual may also seek compensation for:

  • Loss of future wages and benefits
  • Cost of future medical treatment
  • Reduction of earning potential
  • Decrease in quality of life, and
  • Permanent disability and deformity

Some of these damages are pecuniary, and some are non-pecuniary. Let’s see how these both differ.

What is Pecuniary Damage?

The exact definition of pecuniary is “relating to money.” When we talk about pecuniary damages or losses in a personal injury lawsuit, we’re talking about the ones that can be measured in money. “Economic damages” is another word used to indicate pecuniary losses.

Pecuniary damages are measurable compensatory damages. They have monetary value and are included in the majority of civil actions.

Here are some examples of pecuniary damages:

  1. Healthcare expenses include ambulance expenditures, medical fees, doctor visits, pharmaceutical charges, and so on.
  2. Lost earnings typically comprise income loss because the victim cannot work due to the event.
  3. Future healthcare costs that could be an issue if an accident requires long-term care.
  4. Injury and damage, which could mean harm to any properties owned by the claimant.

In brief, any expenses directly related to the accident and easily measurable are pecuniary damages.

What is Non-Pecuniary Damage?

Non-pecuniary losses are not directly connected to economic damages. They are frequently called general, intangible or non-economic damages.

Non-monetary losses are often more arbitrary and vulnerable to perception than pecuniary damages.

Some of the non-pecuniary damages granted in personal injury lawsuits include the following:

  1. The claimant’s pain and suffering as a logical result of what happened.
  2. The event led to emotional turmoil, such as anxiety or depression.
  3. The standard of living deteriorates due to the injuries.
  4. Relationship impairment occurs when the claimant’s relationships with friends, family, and others are negatively affected by the injury.
  5. Mental damage if the occurrence has a detrimental impact on the person’s cognitive abilities.
  6. Any physical disability that may harm the victim’s physical abilities in the future.
  7. Future earnings losses if the injuries restrict future workability.

Almost all personal injury claims in Canada involve monetary damages. Many involve non-monetary harms as well.

How to Evaluate the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim

If you have suffered an accident or loss due to another party’s negligence or wrongdoing, consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

You will then be asked about the occurrence and your injuries, and your lawyer ought to be capable of giving you an idea of the pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages you may claim.

Hence, it’s critical to understand what kind of proof you’ll need to offer to substantiate your losses so you can help your lawyer build your case.

Compensation for Pecuniary damages

During your lawsuit, your lawyer will present bills, paycheck stubs, tax forms, receipts, and any other physical documentation of the number of your monetary losses.

So, during your case, maintain a note of all of these items and provide them to your lawyer so that you can receive the maximum amount you deserve for your injury.

Compensation for NON-Pecuniary damages

Because these damages lack invoices or receipts, they must be verified in other ways. The court typically analyzes these using the following criteria:

  • Victim’s age
  • Injury Type
  • Injury extent
  • Length suffered
  • Any illness or death

Bottom line

Knowing the distinction between pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages may help you determine the compensation you are entitled to for your injury.

Pecuniary losses are simple to show, and if you supply your lawyer with proof of your injury’s material costs, you may ensure you receive the entire worth of your damages. On the other hand, non-pecuniary losses are more difficult to show.

Explain to your lawyer everything that has occurred as a consequence of your injury, and they will understand how to get you compensation for these losses.


What is pecuniary compensation?

Pecuniary damages are merely monetary compensation, and they are measurable in monetary terms and are included in most civil law—for example, car damages, medical bills, hospital bills, property damages, etc.

What is meant by non-pecuniary?

Non-pecuniary damages are compensatory losses that are not easily quantifiable in monetary terms. They are more difficult to quantify since they are more subjective and do not have clear costs. For example, traumatic brain injury (TBI)

What is the difference between pecuniary and non-pecuniary?

Pecuniary damages are easily quantifiable economic losses such as lost income, future lost income, medical expenditures, etc. Non-pecuniary damages are resources that have been harmed by the defendant but have no monetary value. These encompass mental misery as well as physical pain and suffering.

Are non-pecuniary damages compensatory?

Yes, non-pecuniary damages are compensatory damages but are not easily quantifiable in monetary terms. They are more difficult to quantify since they are more subjective and do not have apparent costs. You may need medical certificates and expert help, such as a personal injury lawyer, to measure the compensation.

Are special damages pecuniary damages?

Special damages are simpler to understand than general damages because they pertain to monetary compensation for quantifiable losses incurred due to a defendant's negligent behaviour. They represent the actual financial losses sustained and the expenses incurred and thus are pecuniary damages.



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