Determining Damages in a California Car Accident Case

What damages could I receive if I am injured in a car accident in California?

Serious car accidents can result in a wide array of injuries.  If you have been injured in a car accident, chances are you have incurred medical expenses and lost wages after not being able to return to work.  Depending on the cause of the accident, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses stemming from the crash, known as damages in the legal field.  Our Los Angeles car accident attorneys at J&Y offer an overview of damages in California car accident cases.  

Compensatory Damages

Car accident related damages can be divided into two broad categories:  compensatory damages and punitive damages.  Compensatory damages are intended to compensate the injured accident victim for the harm he or she suffered in the accident.  Awards of compensatory damages are designed to make the accident victim whole for the expenses incurred in the crash.  Categories of compensatory damages include:

  1. Medical expenses:  Medical costs could include emergency transportation costs, hospital bills, prescription costs, and more.  Plaintiffs can also sue for future medical expenses.
  2. Lost wages:  Plaintiffs who miss work as a result of the accident can receive compensation for their lost wages.  Serious injuries may also lead to future lost wages or diminished earning capacity.
  3. Pain and suffering:  California plaintiffs may be able to seek compensation for the pain and suffering they have endured in the crash.  A car accident lawyer will help you to calculate your pain and suffering related damages.
  4. Loss of consortium:  Your spouse may be able to pursue compensation for his or her losses inflicted due to his or her spouse’s injuries.  Loss of consortium is a derivative action from the main lawsuit in California.

Punitive Damages

California law limits the award of punitive damages.  In California, punitive damages are limited to cases in which the car accident victim was harmed by egregious or reckless conduct.  Punitive damages are not intended to compensate the victim for their losses; rather, the aim of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer and deter like misconduct.  Potential car accident cases that could lead to an award of punitive damages include drunk driving accidents.  Contact a car accident attorney for prompt assistance with seeking the damages you deserve after a California car accident.