Some people file lawsuits based on principle. Others believe in finding justice. Still, the over-arching reason most plaintiffs pursue the person responsible for their injury comes down to one simple concept: money. Plaintiffs filing a lawsuit in California are afforded a number of options when requesting damages and we are here to explain each available option to you as you prepare your case. Some cases involving basic negligence will also involve a basic damages calculation of adding up the actual expenses of the incident. Other cases, like those involving intentional or malicious behavior, could involve an order for punitive damages. The most severe accident cases, like those leaving the plaintiff permanently disabled, may result in an order for general damages like pain and suffering or loss of consortium. The following article explores the damages possibilities under California law and the factual scenarios within which most will fit.
The most common and familiar type of compensation in a personal injury action is known as actual damages. This figure is calculated by adding up the actual, out-of-pocket costs of the accident. Plaintiffs should include medical expenses, property damage and missed days of work. Actual damages are supported by evidence like invoices and other financial statements providing specific details of each charge.
General damages are those that are not easily quantifiable or calculable. You may be familiar with terms like pain and suffering or mental anguish as these both refer to the types of injuries compensable by general damages. When you present your case to a jury, it may assign a dollar amount to compensate you for the way your life has changed since the accident. If you have experienced anxiety, depression, disability or other serious consequences due to the defendant’s actions, you may be eligible for general damages.
Punitive damages are not available in every type of personal injury case and are generally reserved for those cases where the defendant acted to intentionally or maliciously hurt you as his specific victim. These damages are not appropriate for pure accidents. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant and deter others from committing similar conduct. These damages are awarded above and beyond any actual or general damages.
In the most severe personal injury cases, the victim actually dies as a result of the defendant’s negligence. Under general principles, once a person has died, so goes any cause of action or legal claim he could have made during his lifetime. The law makes an exception for personal injuries resulting in death and allows for surviving immediate family members to collect damages for medical and funeral expenses as well as pain and suffering or mental anguish.
Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys Today
If you recently suffered through an injury caused by another person or are enduring the loss of a loved one, the personal injury attorneys of Nelson Barry can assist you in preparing your claim and pursuing damages to compensate for your loss. To make an appointment, call (800) 587-2555.