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Damages You May be Entitled to after an Accident

Posted on in Personal Injury

California accident lawyer, California injury attorneyWhen you are in an accident that is not your fault, California law provides that you be compensated for several types of injuries. This holds true whether your claim is based on a car accident, a slip and fall, a dog bite, or a defective product.

What Does the “Value of Your Case” Mean?

Most of the time accident victims do not know the value of their case. When lawyers talk about the “value of your case,” they are referring to how much a judge or jury would award you if your case went to trial.

Of course, many cases settle and do not go to trial. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to set a value for your case and will base settlement negotiations on this case valuation.

Types of Damages

Every case is different, but when an attorney calculates your case’s value, he or she will try to assign a numerical value to each of the following types of damages:

Special damages

Special damages are those that are out-of-pocket and can be documented. They include:

  • Medical expenses. This amount will include past and future medical costs;
  • Property damage;
  • Loss of earnings; and
  • Loss of future earning capacity. This amount is typically calculated by an expert economist at trial.

General damages

General damages address intangible losses and include:

  • Pain and suffering;
  • Mental anguish; and
  • Loss of consortium.

Typically, the amount of general damages will be related to the amount of special damages you can prove with documentation. A higher amount of proven special damages usually leads to a higher amount of general damages.

Depending on your case, your spouse may also be entitled to damages. Also, judicial interest may apply to certain damage awards.

Punitive Damages

People often ask, “What about punitive damages?” Punitive damages are meant to punish the tortfeasor (or person at fault in your accident). Punitive damages are not meant to compensate accident victims for their damages. Punitive damages are very rare and sometimes prohibited by law.

California Civil Code section 3294 requires that an award of punitive damages be proven by clear and convincing evidence that the tortfeasor has been “guilty of malice, oppression or fraud."

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

If you were involved in an accident that was not your fault, you likely have several types of injuries that should be compensated. A skilled personal injury attorney will be able to value your case based on the law and professional experience. Contact the San Jose personal injury attorneys at Jachimowicz Law Group, Attorneys at Law, Inc. by calling 408-246-5500 for a free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=civ&group=03001-04000&file=3281-3283

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=civ&group=03001-04000&file=3294-3296

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