Thousands of personal injuries occur throughout the state each year in a variety of ways. Motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, and many other possible causes can lead to severe injuries, economic losses, or even fatalities. When one party’s negligence or illegal misconduct causes harm to another party, this can form the basis for a personal injury claim. The objective of this civil suit is for the plaintiff to hold the at-fault party accountable for the harm they have done and to collect compensation for the victim’s losses.
Filing a personal injury claim will require evidence showing who caused the injury and the extent of the effects of the injury. Regardless of how your personal injury occurred, it is vital to know your rights in terms of how to recover your losses and what sort of recovery you might expect if you win your case. State law allows the plaintiff in a personal injury case to seek a wide range of damages, including compensatory damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages if a defendant injured the plaintiff through some illegal act.
Defining Compensatory Damages in Personal Injury Cases
The most straightforward damages available to a plaintiff in a personal injury suit are compensatory damages, which apply to the direct financial losses the plaintiff suffered because of the defendant’s actions. In most personal injury cases filed, plaintiff compensatory damages are likely to include:
- Property damage. If the defendant who caused your personal injury damaged or destroyed any of your personal property, such as your home, vehicle, or other personal belongings, you have the right to seek repair or replacement costs as compensatory damages in your civil suit.
- Medical expenses. Most personal injury claims pertain to physical injuries. If the defendant in your case physically injured you, they are responsible for the cost of all medical care you require to recover. This includes immediate healthcare expenses like your hospital bills, prescription costs, and ambulance fees, but you also have the right to hold them accountable for future treatments you will need to fully recover. Your attorney can consult your medical care team to ensure that you receive appropriate compensation for all long-term medical expenses you face in the aftermath of your injury.
- Lost income. When a defendant’s actions have left you unable to work and earn income, they are liable for the wages you are unable to earn because of their actions. This includes the value of any vacation time or paid time off you have accrued and were forced to use in the aftermath of your injury.
- Lost future earning power. If you suffered a serious injury resulting in permanent disability, you could be unable to return to work in the future. If this applies to your personal injury case, you have the right to hold the defendant accountable for the future income you are no longer able to earn.
Accurately calculating the extent of the compensatory damages that you could claim in a personal injury case can be very challenging, and the right attorney is a tremendous asset, no matter what your claim entails. After experiencing any personal injury, it’s vital to reach out to legal counsel you can trust if you want to have the greatest chance of success with your impending claim.
Q: How Much Is a Personal Injury Claim Worth?
A: California law not only allows the plaintiff in a personal injury case to seek full repayment of all economic losses they sustained from a defendant’s actions but also pain and suffering compensation. Your attorney can help calculate the total compensatory damages you could expect from a successful claim and assist you in determining a suitable amount of pain and suffering compensation to seek from the defendant. The total value of any personal injury claim hinges on the severity of the victim’s losses.
Q: What Are the Most Commonly Claimed Compensatory Damages in Personal Injury Cases?
A: Compensatory damages include all financial losses sustained by the plaintiff, and these commonly include property damage, medical expenses, and lost income. It’s important for the plaintiff to remember that they can not only claim compensation for immediate losses but also future damages directly resulting from the defendant’s actions. For example, you can claim compensation for lost wages and your lost future earnings if the defendant has permanently impaired your ability to work and earn income.
Q: Is There a Cap on Pain and Suffering Damages in Personal Injury Cases?
A: California law only limits pain and suffering compensation in medical malpractice cases. As long as your personal injury suit does not fall into the purview of medical malpractice, you have the right to claim as much as you deem appropriate to reflect the severity of your losses. You can seek an amount based on the overall severity of your experience and the long-term issues you will face because of it, or pain and suffering compensation may be based on the length of time it takes for you to reach maximum medical improvement from your injuries.
Q: Will I Win More Compensation if I Hire an Attorney?
A: Even if your personal injury claim seems very straightforward, do not make the mistake of assuming that you can reach a positive outcome on your own or that you will be able to fully maximize your recovery without an attorney’s help. Hiring legal representation that you can trust not only improves your chances of winning your case, but your attorney can also help uncover avenues of compensation you would have been likely to overlook on your own.
Q: How Long Does It Take to Settle a Personal Injury Claim?
A: As long as a defendant is willing to accept liability for the harm they’ve done, settlement negotiation offers a much swifter resolution to your personal injury claim than you could expect in litigation. The length of time that settlement requires typically hinges on the scope of the damages the plaintiff is seeking and the willingness of the two parties to compromise. It’s possible to resolve a relatively straightforward claim in a matter of weeks, whereas litigation may take several months.
Easton & Easton has a team of attorneys with years of experience handling a wide variety of personal injury claims on behalf of clients. We know you are likely to have many pressing questions and complex concerns about your impending personal injury case, and our team can provide the guidance and support you need in this difficult time. Contact us today and schedule your consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney you can trust with your case.