The careless actions of another person can change your life or the life of a loved one in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, the punitive legal system rarely offers a path to justice for people who have been injured by others in an accident. Therefore, the best way to get a fair outcome is to seek damages from the negligent party through an insurance claim or a civil action in court.
Support your physical and financial recovery now by getting legal assistance from a California personal injury lawyer. With the help of a seasoned San Luis Obispo personal injury attorney, you can increase the chances of claiming the maximum possible compensation for all of your damages.
From car accidents to slip-and-falls, the Ernst Law Group will have your back. We have been fighting for victims of negligence for 40 years. Give us a call at (805) 541-0300 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and we can go over the details of your accident.
Economic Damages in a California Personal Injury Case
An accident that leads to a hospital stay, ambulance ride, treatment, therapy, or even just the occasional follow-up visit is money out of your (or your insurer’s) pocket. If the accident was caused by another party’s negligence, those costs should be their responsibility. Medical expenses are one of the most common damages in personal injury cases.
When an accident leads to an injury that keeps you away from work, the wages you lose from missing work can be recovered as damages. Even if you use your company’s sick leave or vacation days after an accident, you can still pursue compensation for those days.
Further, if an accident leaves you unable to continue working at full capacity, lost future wages can also be considered damages. Even if you’re not totally unable to continue working, a decrease in performance can be considered financial damage, and thus can be pursued in an injury case.
Out of Pocket Expenses
Any incidental costs that you incur as a direct result of your injury or treatment can be eligible for recovery. This includes money you spend on over-the-counter medicines and medical devices recommended by your doctor.
It can also include minor expenses, like parking deck fees at the clinic you go to for treatment. Keep track of all your spending in the aftermath of a personal injury, and work with an experienced attorney to determine which expenses are eligible to claim.
If your injury case involves damage to your personal property, the cost of that damage can be added to the total amount you’re seeking in recovery. This is most typical in car accident cases but could come into play in accidents at home or work as well.
Non-Economic Damages in a California Personal Injury Case
Many damages can be gauged with a very specific price tag based on black-and-white factors like medical bills, property values, and your recorded pay rate and earning capacity. These types of damages are referred to as, “special damages,” because they relate to specific expenses.
Non-economic damages – called “general damages” – are any damages that don’t have an obvious price tag attached to them. A California personal injury lawyer will be able to help you determine what kinds of non-economic damages you may be entitled to seek after your accident.
Pain and Suffering
Bad accidents can leave victims in pain for the rest of their lives, requiring regular therapy, pain medication, or a complete change in lifestyle. Pain can lead to remarkable decreases in a person’s ability to enjoy life. Insurance companies are often likely to settle outside of the courtroom when an accident is bad enough, since juries commonly award large amounts for pain and suffering after a serious injury.
Mental anguish is not uncommon after bad accidents. Panic disorders, anxiety, insomnia, and many other mental health struggles can arise from the trauma of a bad accident. Usually, to pursue these damages, psychiatric evaluations or records must prove that a disorder or ailment arose directly from the accident. Specific diagnoses can boost the potential recovery amount for emotional distress.
Disfigurement or Loss of Bodily Functionality
This category applies to economic damages as well, but emotional distress or suffering from the loss of a limb or organ, or significant alterations to appearance can also impact you after your accident injury. Compensation for suffering related to these complications can be added to the final damage total.
Loss of Consortium
A family member of the victim of an accident may be able to pursue damages against a negligent party for damaging their relationship with the injured. In California, this includes the “loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support” or the “the loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations [or the ability to have children].”
How are damages calculated in personal injury cases?
When it comes to personal injury cases, the court will determine what amounts are appropriate based on certain factors.
The first thing they will consider is what your actual losses are due to the defendant’s actions or negligence. The courts know that if you have suffered substantial injuries then it’s only right that you have substantial damages to help cover those costs.
The next factor that will be considered is how much your injuries should have cost to treat. This may mean that you need to hire a medical expert to testify regarding the costs of treating your injuries. If this isn’t an option for you, then the courts may rely on numbers calculated by other professionals in the field.
This can be a complicated process, and that’s why it is so crucial to work with an attorney. They can help you get the damages you deserve while ensuring that your case is handled properly throughout the entire legal process.
Recovery Thresholds in California Personal Injury Cases
Some states place caps on the amount one can recover in personal injury cases. California does not place any caps on compensatory damages for personal injury cases, except in the case of medical malpractice.
Car accidents, work accidents, slip-and-falls, and any other accidents due to negligence don’t have a cap. There is no technical limit to the non-economic damages that can be pursued.
Fight for Your Right to a Full Recovery with a San Luis Obispo Personal Injury Lawyer
Getting help from an experienced legal team is the best way to seek the maximum amount possible for your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
At Ernst Law Group, we’ve been helping California victims of negligence pursue the compensation they deserve for 40 years. We will work vigorously to resolve your case in a way that satisfies your financial needs. Give us a call at (805) 541-0300 today to get started on your personal injury case and get you back to your normal life as soon as possible.