Auto accident victims in California who file a personal injury claim may be able to seek reimbursement for more than just their medical bills and vehicle repair or replacement costs. There was, after all, the physical pain and the emotional trauma that they incurred as well.
This state, like many others, distinguishes between special damages and general damages: otherwise known as economic and non-economic damages, respectively. Medical expenses, lost wages and property damage fall under special damages while general damages cover what cannot be measured, starting with pain and suffering, emotional distress and mental anguish.
General damages also cover things like loss of reputation, loss of consortium and a diminished ability to enjoy life. Victims who have their life span shortened because of the crash or who are physically disfigured or impaired can also seek special damages.
Such losses being subjective, there is no single way that courts and juries put a monetary value on them. They can consider factors like injury severity, the area of the body that’s disfigured and the amount of time needed for victims to recover. Lawyers may also put a price on general damages by multiplying the amount that victims might recover in special damages. The idea is that injuries leading to higher medical bills, for instance, cause greater pain and distress.
Those who incur injuries in motor vehicle accidents and who are less to blame than the other driver may be able to file a personal injury claim, but in the light of the information given above, they may not know how much they can be eligible for in damages. This is one of many good reasons to have the help of a lawyer throughout the process.