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How to Calculate Damages in a California Personal Injury Case

September 29, 2023 in Personal Injury Litigation

Suffering a personal injury can have a devastating impact on your future. In addition to the stress and inconvenience, being injured can result in financial hardship. Fortunately, the civil justice system allows for you to be compensated when you have been harmed by another’s negligence. This article will discuss how damages are calculated in a personal injury case.

Personal Injury Victims are Entitled to Compensation for  Economic Losses as Well as Pain and Suffering

Those who have suffered a personal injury may be compensated for past and future economic losses. This includes past and future lost wages, medical expenses, and other costs incurred as a result of the injury. The determination of past losses is typically straightforward as it is simply a matter of totaling missed time from work, medical bills, and other expenses necessitated by the accident. Determining future losses can quickly become complicated. This is due to the fact that there will often be disputes as to whether and when one can return to work. There will also likely be disagreement over the extent to which future care is needed and the cost of such care. The establishment of future losses will typically involve the use of expert witnesses.

Injury victims are also entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering. This includes physical pain endured as a result of the accident itself. It also includes pain stemming from ongoing medical procedures, ongoing soreness and discomfort, etc. Also included in this calculation is an amount for the stress, aggravation, and lost time that the accident has caused the Plaintiff to endure. While the determination of economic losses is more of a straightforward mathematical calculation, the amount to be awarded for pain and suffering is more subjective. Once determined, the award for pain and suffering will be added to the award for economic losses.

Damages in a Personal Injury Case are Reduced by the Plaintiff’s Share of any Fault

If a California injury victim is partially responsible for the accident, then their award will be reduced by their share of the fault. The determination of how much fault the Plaintiff should bear is made by the jury. This means, for example, if a car accident victim suffers $100,000 in total damages and the jury finds that they were 50% responsible for the accident, then they will be awarded $50,000 ($100,000 – 50%). California is a “pure comparative fault” state, which means that a victim may recover compensation as long as the defendant(s) bear any responsibility for the accident.

Contact Our San Luis Obispo Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured by another’s negligence, it is important that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Our firm is dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals and we will make your case a priority. Contact us online or by telephone at 805-546-8797 to speak with a San Luis Obispo personal injury attorney.

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