What Are Types of Damages Arising From Personal Injury?
The damages that an injured party can collect in a California personal injury lawsuit are not confined to the medical costs and doctor’s bills that come from treatment of the injury. As anybody who has suffered accidental injuries knows, those injuries have an impact on the injured party’s life and on his or her family that goes far beyond extra medical expenses.
In our more than 25 years of representing injured accident victims in California, the Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at Ellis Injury Law have recovered more than $350 million in settlements for our clients. A substantial portion of that amount compensated our clients for damages other than direct medical costs and expenses.
Types of damages that arise in a personal injury lawsuit
The types of damages that arise in a California personal injury lawsuit will always depend on the specific facts of the accident. A knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer can help a client recover compensation for:
- all current and anticipated future medical costs and expenses for injury treatments
- damage and loss of property (e.g. when auto insurance does not reimburse the full replacement value of a totaled car, an attorney will include that excess value in damages calculations)
- expenses for physical, occupational, and psychotherapy that is needed to make an injured party whole
- salary and wage replacement when the injured party is unable to work and his or her injuries reduce overall earning power
- the pain and discomfort that reduce an injured party’s ability to enjoy life and the companionship of family and friends
- the value of incidental expenses, such as transportation to and from physicians’ offices
- salaries paid to household help that is required when an injured party cannot manage home activities due to injuries
The full extent of damages that an injured party incurs is often not apparent in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Negligent parties and the insurance companies that reimburse damages often encourage accident victims to settle their cases quickly, before all of these damages are known. As a result, accident victims that sign liability release forms and accept settlement checks without first consulting an attorney may be forfeiting substantial amounts of compensation.
Contributory negligence and personal injury lawsuits
Insurers will also seek to reduce an injured party’s compensation with arguments that the victim was partially responsible for his or her injuries. California law reduces an accident victim’s damages by the percentage that the victim is also deemed to be at fault. Thus, if the victim suffered $100,000 in damages but the insurance company claims that the victim was 25% responsible for the accident, the settlement offer will be reduced to $75,000.
Like the damages themselves, determining the victim’s contribution to an accident will be a function of the facts of each case. A skillful personal injury attorney will challenge arguments that a victim’s negligence should reduce any damages awards.
Personal injury lawsuits and punitive damages
Punitive damages will very rarely be part of an accident victim’s compensation. Before a court awards punitive damages, the victim will need to prove that the negligent party’s conduct that led to the accident was intentional, grossly careless, or willful and wanton. Very few personal injury lawsuits include facts that rise to this level.
Facts that prove damages in a personal injury lawsuit
Insurers have evolved to using information from massive databases of accidents to justify settlement offers. Those databases purport to show the damages that other accident victims received in similar scenarios. Just as all people are different, no two accident scenarios are alike. An experienced personal injury lawyer will use the facts in each specific case to show how the accident affected the victim’s unique lifestyle with information that is not reflected by generic accident data.
Ellis Injury Law will fight for the full amount of damages you deserve
The Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at Ellis Injury Law protect the rights of California accident victims to recover all types of damages that they are entitled to collect in personal injury lawsuits. In almost every accident and injury case, you will have an opportunity to receive a greater amount of damages than you might at first realize. Please see our website or call us directly for a complimentary consultation about your case.