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What Are Hedonic Damages?

Filed under Personal Injury

At Paul Padda Law, PLLC we believe in educating our clients to help them achieve maximum satisfaction during the personal injury claim and litigation process. For this reason, we often publish commentary addressing interesting aspects of personal injury (tort) law on our blog. This blog post addresses the concept of “hedonic” damages.

While most people understand that physical harm and lost earnings can constitute compensable damages in a personal injury lawsuit, did you know that the loss of enjoyment of life can also be constitute a theory for recovery of monetary damages? “Hedoonic” damages is an economic term of art that deals with the intangible value of life, as distinct from human capital value or lost earnings value. The term was invented by economist Stan V. Smith who first presented it during his testimony in the case of Sherrod v. Brown, 827 F.2d 195 (7th Cir. 1987). Since then, the hedonic damages theory for recovery has been presented in thousands of personal injury cases across the country.

Where a hedonic damages theory is presented, a plaintiff will have an economics expert testify as to the dollar value that can be attributed to the loss of enjoyment of life. In Nevada, as in numerous other jurisdictions, such testimony is appropriate and accepted. Indeed, in Banks v. Sunrise Hospital, 102 P.3d 52 (2004), the Nevada Supreme Court permitted expert testimony regarding the dollar value attributable to the diminished enjoyment of life experienced by a plainitff in a persistent vegetative state. Since that decision, hedonic damages are routinely sought by plaintiffs in non-fatal personal injury cases in Nevada.

At Paul Padda Law, PLLC we strive to achieve maximum compensation for our clients. For this reason, we analyze every aspect of a case and pursue all appropriate legal theories to help our clients achieve the recovery they deserve. Where appropriate, we will pursue a hedonic damages claim on behalf of our clients. For a consultation regarding a potential case you might have, contact our office at (702) 366-1888.


photo of Paul Padda

Paul Padda, a former federal prosecutor, is the founder of Paul Padda Law: a law firm based in Las Vegas Nevada representing plaintiffs throughout the nation in personal injury and other civil cases. With over 15 years experience litigating in federal and state court, Paul has a proven track record of success, including obtaining one of the largest jury verdicts in Nevada history. A first generation American, Paul is dedicated and committed to helping his clients navigate the legal system and take on large and powerful interests. A lawyer who truly cares, Paul provides individualized and compassionate attention to each and every one of his clients.

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