Hedonic damages are a measure of damages recognized by New Mexico personal injury law. They are meant to provide compensation for the pleasure of being alive. Following a deadly collision between the driver of a motorcycle and the driver of a car, a New Mexico federal magistrate judge decided to admit qualitative expert testimony on hedonic damages and exclude expert testimony quantifying hedonic damages.
The case arose after a person riding his motorcycle collided with a person driving a car, who turned in front of the motorcycle. The collision, which took place in Grants, New Mexico, resulted in the death of the driver of the motorcycle and the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit. The plaintiffs were the personal representative of the wrongful death estate of the deceased motorcyclist and relatives of the deceased. The defendants were the personal representative of the estate of the driver of the car that collided with the motorcyclist and an automobile insurance company.
The plaintiffs wished to introduce at trial testimony from an economist concerning the value of economic losses resulting from the death of the motorcyclist, including lost earning capacity and loss of household services. The plaintiffs also sought to introduce at trial the economist’s testimony as to hedonic damages. The defendants sought to exclude any expert testimony regarding hedonic damages.