How much a person can make from their personal injury case depends on the circumstances. After deciding that you want to file a personal injury lawsuit, the next step is to determine how much your case is worth or how much money is owed for the damages.

Several factors may contribute to determining the value of a case and the compensation for the injuries will vary for different cases. Before going near any settlement or negotiations, there should be an understanding of what the value of your claim is to ensure that you are well compensated and are not settling for less.

How are personal injury claims calculated in California?

Personal injury claims are calculated by combining the actual damages that occurred from the accident with compensation for pain and suffering. Under the law, there is no specific way of calculating these expenses. Generally, attorneys and insurance companies will use an estimated value of the injury as a starting point in the negotiations. Mainly, there are 3 types of damages that factor into the calculations:

Special Damages

Special damages tend to be straightforward and easy to calculate. Unlike general damages, special damages are out-of-pocket expenses that the injured party incurred from the accident. For example;

  • Cost to repair property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Lost wages from the recovery period
  • Out of pocket expenses due to the injury
  • Lost future earnings/opportunity

To be able to fully recover for special damages, it is important to keep records of all the expenses.

Medical Special Damages

Medical special damages are compensation that specifically refers to the expenses an injured party has incurred with medical treatment resulting from the accident. For example;

  • Ambulances
  • General medical expenses
  • X-rays
  • Medications

General Damages

General damages are awarded to the plaintiff due to the defendant’s negligence or wrongful action which has caused the injured party non-monetary suffering. Due to this reason, general damages can be harder to determine because it can be difficult to put a value on its subjective aspects.  For example;

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Physical disfigurement
  • Physical impatient
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of companionship (concerning wrongful death cases)
  • Lowered quality of life

Can you reach a maximum amount of which you can recover from a lawsuit?

There is a maximum amount a person can recover from a lawsuit. The maximum amount a person can receive is called the “Damage Cap.” The law places a maximum limit on what an individual may recover from a case. Under California law, there are no damage caps placed on compensatory damages for personal injury lawsuits. However, it does place limits on areas of medical malpractice. Additionally, medical malpractice cases in California have a $250,000 cap on general damages as well as non-economic damages. After the California Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) was passed, the cap placed on medical malpractice is firm. In other words, regardless of how severe the case was and if there were multiple defendants, the injured party may not receive more than the maximum limit.

Contact Pride Legal

If you or a loved one has been involved in a personal injury accident, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.