How Damages are Calculated in a Salinas, CA Personal Injury Case

by Martin Vanik Gasparian on Feb. 18, 2021

Accident & Injury Car Accident 

Summary: If you’ve been injured as a result of the carelessness and negligence of somebody else, California law allows you to seek compensation for your injuries damages. Those damages are classified as both economic and non-economic.

If you’ve been injured as a result of the carelessness and negligence of somebody else, California law allows you to seek compensation for your injuries damages. Those damages are classified as both economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages

Economic damages shouldn’t be difficult to calculate. Add up the medical, therapy, rehabilitation bills and miscellaneous out-of-pocket expenses and lost earnings that you allege to be directly and proximately caused by your accident, and you’ll arrive at a sum representing your economic damages.

Non-Economic Damages

These damages contemplate injuries that are far more difficult to put a value on. Non-economic damages might consist of pain and suffering, emotional distress, diminished enjoyment of life or even the loss of society, companionship and guidance of a spouse or other family member, especially in the event of an injury such as an amputation or a wrongful death. The general rule is that other than medical malpractice cases when the limit of non-economic damages is limited to $250,000, there are no limits on non-economic damages in other types of personal injury cases. Drunk drivers and uninsured motorists are barred from seeking any non-economic damages at all under certain circumstances.

Is there a Formula for Setting the Value of Non-Economic Damages?

There is no formula for setting compensation for non-economic damages. The California Civil Jury Instructions clearly state that no fixed standard is in existence for making a decision on the amount of a plaintiff’s non-economic injuries. Some lawyers might say that an unwritten rule or formula exists. That would require the parties to add all non-economic damages and multiply that sum by somewhere between one and five, and that number would be the amount of non-economic damages. There are a minority of cases when non-economic damages have been awarded that are far more than five times the amount of the economic damages.

Proving Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages can’t be shown in an x-ray, CT scan or MRI images. They’re purely subjective. A skilled personal injury attorney can ask a jury to make certain inferences from the evidence in the case though. That evidence might consist of the testimony of one or more doctors, medical records, radiological images showing the exact nature and extent of a fracture or dislocation, photos of property damage after a motor vehicle crash, photos of the plaintiff’s injuries immediately after the crash, evidence showing how long the plaintiff was off of work while recovering, testimony of family members, co-employees and close friends and the plaintiff himself or herself.

Contact a Salinas CA Personal Injury Lawyer

Serious injuries that are caused by the carelessness and negligence of somebody else deserve serious compensation. In some cases, the best resolution for the plaintiff is a settlement, while in other cases, it might be a trial. Consult with our Salinas Personal Injury office as soon as you can after accident. After we hear about what happened, we’ll be in a position to advise you on how we think you should proceed.

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