There are many types of damages or personal injuries that you may be entitled to receive compensation for after being in an accident, with the term most commonly used for these being “compensatory damages.” Any compensation for this type of damage is usually awarded to compensate the affected party (legally known as the plaintiff) for the expenses and losses incurred by an incident. Traditionally, compensatory damages can be divided into two categories: economic damages (medical bills, therapy and treatment costs, property repair and replacement, etc.) and non-economic damages (which can include pain and suffering, emotional stress, and loss of enjoyment of life). These damages can be classified in turn into:
- Medical Expenses: All plaintiffs in California are entitled to recover a reasonable value of all medical expenses incurred by the accident, including possible sequelae resulting from injuries.
- Lost Earnings: Similarly, you will be entitled to recover any amount you would have received for work you lost due to your injuries. This includes salaries, commissions, bonuses, and all other income and fringe benefits you have lost or are likely to lose.
- Pain and Suffering – Typically the most “valuable” element of a personal injury claim, the concept of “pain and suffering” encompasses all forms of emotional trauma caused by an injury. Legally, every plaintiff is entitled to receive compensation for any mental sequelae resulting from the incident, including fear, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, mortification, humiliation, indignity, embarrassment, or apprehension.
- Personal Property Damage: As a plaintiff, you have the right to receive compensation for any material loss caused by the negligence or wrongful conduct of a third party. This extends not just to vehicles but to all property legally under your name.
When preparing a lawsuit, it is important that you do so within the two-year statute of limitations managed by the state. Additionally, you should remember that while there are no set limits to how much you can get for compensatory damages in California, there are certain cases (such as medical malpractice) where you can only get a maximum of $250,000 in non-economic damages. To fully understand your rights and the type of compensation you may apply for, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys.