Every day, thousands of people are involved in accidents. Unfortunately, many of these people may sustain severe injuries that can put them under a troublesome circumstance. In such a situation, many injury victims may ask themselves whether there is any legal recourse to obtain compensation for their losses. Our Ventura personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth, PLC, invite you to keep reading as we discuss how damages are determined in personal injury cases.
Determining Damages in California Personal Injury Cases
Determining the value of your injury case depends on many different factors that may surround your accident. There is no set scale to determine how much compensation you can obtain for your injuries and losses. Every personal injury case is different, often requiring a different approach and strategy. The intrinsic value of your case is closely tied to the extent of your injuries and their impact on your life. For instance, a person who suffers a slip and fall accident and sustains a mild injury to the elbow may obtain less compensation compared to a victim who sustained severe injuries during a car accident. A jury of your peers will evaluate the evidence in your case and determine how much your case is worth.
The amount of compensation can also change depending on things such as whether the person cannot return to work for an extended period of time due to their injuries, the potential of continuing care (in cases where a person suffers from quadriplegia or another severe condition), the pain and suffering associated with their injuries. These variables, as you can see, can change substantially from case to case. Consulting with a skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable personal injury attorney may give you an idea of how much your case may be worth. However, it would help if you kept in mind that the ultimate decision over your case’s worth lies with the jury and the court.
Damages That May Be Available in a Personal Injury Case
Damages in personal injury cases refer to the compensation that may be available to the plaintiff once the jury renders a verdict. There are different types of compensation a person can expect to obtain for their personal injury case.
The most common types of damages that a court can award in a personal injury case are compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages refer to the compensation a court awards to the plaintiff to “make them whole.” This is the primary objective of compensatory damages; putting the plaintiff in the same position she would have been in had the personal injury had not happened. In other words, the law assesses the plaintiff’s situation and will try to determine a monetary amount to the loss you suffered. There is a wide range of areas compensatory damages can cover.
For instance, one of the things compensatory damages can cover is medical treatment. Most people may require medical treatment after being involved in an accident. For some, medical treatment may be minimal and require little investment from the injured victim. However, others may need to pay costly medical bills for their medical treatment. For example, victims of TBI (traumatic brain injuries) may need to go through expensive surgical procedures to recover from their injuries. In more severe cases, a person may need continuing medical assistance, which can dramatically increase their expenses. Compensatory damages can help alleviate their financial situation, assisting with their medical bills.
Compensatory damages can also help those who have lost income as a result of their injuries. Imagine for a moment you were involved in a car accident or truck accident that caused catastrophic injuries. Due to these injuries, you were unable to work for several months, directly impacting your household’s finances. If a reckless, negligent driver hits you, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages. This way, you may be able to recover the money you may have lost as a result of your injuries.
Another aspect compensatory damages can help you with is pain and suffering. The court will evaluate the degree of pain and discomfort you may have suffered during and after the accident. You may be able to obtain compensation based on the amount of pain and suffering you may have experienced as a direct result of your accident.
On the other hand, punitive damages refer to the compensation awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were especially outrageous. The court can grant these damages as a way to punish the defendant’s actions and as a way to deter others who may act in a similar way in the future.
While other categories of damages may be awarded, the ones mentioned above represent some of the most common ones to which you may have access.
Proving Liability or Negligence in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in California
Before the court grants you compensation for your case, you will need to show that the other party was, in fact, negligent, and that due to their negligence, you suffered your losses. As a plaintiff, you have the burden of showing the other party’s negligence. As such, you will need to show the existence of four main elements. First, you will need to show that the defendant owed you a duty of care. For instance, in a car accident, the duty of care can be demonstrated by establishing that the driver owed you a duty to drive safely. Second, you will need to show that the defendant breached their duty of care. Following the last example, this element can be shown by establishing that the driver drove carelessly, recklessly, or with complete disregard for safety.
Next, you will need to show causation. Causation refers to the linking nexus between the defendant’s conduct or behavior and the harm caused. Finally, you should be able to demonstrate the actual losses you suffered as a result of your accident, such as your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Once you have shown these elements with the court, you can obtain compensation.
Personal Injury Attorneys Offering Free Consultations in Ventura and Santa Barbara, California
If you or a loved one had an accident and is looking to obtain compensation, we may be able to help. At the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth, PLC, we can help guide you through the entire personal injury claim. Our Ventura and Santa Barbara personal injury attorneys have the skill, experience, and knowledge to hold the liable parties accountable for their actions or omissions. To schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers, call our offices today at (805) 643-5555.