How Much Compensation Am I Entitled To?
Compensatory damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for his or her losses after a personal injury case. In general, a plaintiff must prove he or she was harmed or injured in order to be entitled to damages. If an individual did not sustain any injuries, there will typically be no need for any damages.
Broadly speaking, compensatory damages can be divided in either of the two following categories:
- Economic: this includes tangible losses such as property damage.
- Non-Economic: this includes intangible losses, such as emotional distress.
There are also punitive damages, which are separate from compensatory damages. Punitive damages may be awarded on top of the normal compensatory damages an aggrieved individual may be entitled to and are intended to punish a wrongdoer for their negligent or malicious behavior.
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out of pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.
A few examples of economic losses include:
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out of pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:
- Emotional Distress
- Pain And Suffering
- Loss Of Enjoyment Of Life
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5% of all verdicts.
It’s important to understand that punitive damages will not be made available in the event of a contract breach. In the event of a contract breach, there must be evidence which proves that a breach was intentional or deliberate.
Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.
Limitations For Damages In California
For the most part, there is no real cap on compensatory damages following a personal injury claim. This means that courts are able to award any amount they feel is appropriate and reasonable.
However, the only exception is regarding medical malpractice cases. In these cases, the limit for pain and suffering and other non economic losses is $250,000.
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help
If you have sustained injuries as a result of another person’s carelessness, you have the right to hold that individual responsible. A personal injury attorney at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering from your injury.