The damages claimed in a typical personal injury claim or lawsuit fall into two categories called economic damages and non-economic damages. It is important to know what your economic and non-economic damages are (or will be) before accepting a car accident settlement.
- Continue to read and learn more about what economic and non-economic damages exist while you are evaluating a car accident settlement.
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Car Accident Settlement | Damages
Economic Damages in a personal injury case may typically include:
- Medical Expenses;
To recover damages for past medical expenses it must be proven that the reasonable cost of reasonably necessary medical care was incurred by the injury victim. In most cases a medical bill with accompanying testimony will suffice.
To recover damages for future medical expenses it must proven that the reasonable cost of reasonably necessary medical care will reasonably certain be needed in the future. In most cases expert medical and economist testimony is needed here.
- Lost Earnings;
To recover damages for past lost earnings the injury victim must prove the amount of income (earnings, salary, wages) that they have lost to date because of being injured. Lost earnings are usually calculated for the amount of time the victim missed work because they were hospitalized or recovering from their injuries. In most cases a pay check with accompanying testimony will suffice.
To recover damages for future lost earnings the injury victim must prove the amount of income that they will be reasonably certain to lose in the future as a result of the injury. In most cases expert medical, vocation and economist testimony is needed here.
Note: If a jury decides to award economic damages for loss of earnings, future medical expenses, lost profits or other future economic expenses then the amount of those future damages
must be reduced to their present cash value.
- Lost Profits;
- Lost Earning Capacity; and
To recover damages for the loss of the ability to earn money as a result of the injury, the injury victim must prove the reasonable value of that loss to them. It is not necessary that the victim have a work history.
Example Scenario 1: Rodrigo, 34, was training to be a plumber right before he suffered a horrific back injury that required surgery and made him unable to continue working as a plumber. Rodrigo would have earned on a yearly average $100,000 as a plumber. He will now have to look for anther job that will pay him a lot less. All the income that Rodrigo will lose throughout his work life expectancy for not being able to earn his plumber’s salary would be claimed as lost earnings capacity [off-set with what he is able to earn].
- Loss of Ability to Provide Household Services.
To recover damages for the loss of the ability to provide household services, the injury victim must prove the reasonable value of the services they would have been reasonably certain to provide to their household if the injury had not occurred.
Non-Economic Damages in a personal injury case typically may include:
- Physical Pain;
- Mental Suffering;
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life;
- Physical Impairment;
- Humiliation; and
- Emotional Distress.
No fixed standard exists for deciding the amount of non-economic damages awarded to a personal injury victim. The amount of non-economic damages awarded is decided by using good judgment and common sense.
Car Accident Settlement | Future Pain, Suffering and Emotional Distress Damages
To recover for future pain and suffering the victims must prove that they are reasonably certain to suffer that harm in the future. Future pain and suffering damages are not reduced to present cash value.
Car Accident Settlement | Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are not permitted in general injury or wrongful death actions. A jury must not include in their award any damages to punish or make an example of the wrongful party. Such damages would be punitive damages, and they cannot be a part of a jury verdict. Read More
Ordaz Law, APC | Car Accident Settlement
Juan J. Ordaz Jr. provides candid, hardworking and personal legal representation to individuals seeking a personal injury lawyer in San Diego County. We help victims suffering from a variety of injuries, who have sustained their injuries through different types of injury producing events. We believe that it is a necessity to represent people who have sustained traumatic and debilitating injuries, and suffered ultimate losses.
Call (619) 550-3617 today so that we may schedule your free and discreet consultation with a premier San Diego car accident lawyer.
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Blog: Personal Injury
Blog: Car Accidents