Understanding California Personal Injury Damages
Each and every competent adult living in California has a legal duty to act with reasonable care when conducting activities. When a person does not take reasonable care when taking action, they breach their legal duty. A case begins with establishing negligence, which is the recognition of a legal duty and breach of that legal duty. But just because someone breaches their legal duty by acting negligently does not mean that a lawsuit or insurance claim will arise. The negligent behavior must cause injury damages. Damages are the last part or element that must be established to maintain a successful lawsuit at trial. In other words, an injured party can potentially recover damages in a personal injury suit if they are able to prove two things to a judge or jury:
- entity, company, or person acted negligently.
- the negligence of the entity, company, or person caused the the injury damages.
When it is shown in a lawsuit that negligent behavior caused harm, money damages are paid to the plaintiff by the person or company who is found to be legally responsible for the accident. Where insurance exists, the carrier must step in per the insurance policy and pay the plaintff's damages up to the policy limit. In some instances an insurance carrier may be required to pay more than the policy limit, but such situations are rare. In most cases, a settlement is reached between the parties in exchange for giving up further legal action. The parties often settle to eliminate the risk and expense of trial. Since no one knows the future, no one knows exactly how value a jury will assign the lawsuit.
Calculating Damages in a Personal Injury Case
Damages in a personal injury case largely depends on the losses suffered by the injured party. Damages commonly include medical expenses for treatment of injuries and the cost to replace destroyed property. However, damages can include so much more than reimbursement of out of pocket costs like medical bills and destroyed property. If a medical condition arising from the incident keeps a person out of work or hurts their ability to make a living in the future, you can ask for lost earnings and future earning capacity. Damages may also include pain and suffering or loss of life's enjoyment. This type of award is discretionary with the jury and leads to varying valuations of injury damages. As a rule of thumb, attorneys say pain and suffering should be about 2-3 times the cost of the medical bills plus the cost of future medical care. This measure is not always accurate and is not a true indicator of the value of any given case.
The types of damages that are available in a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit can vary depending on the type of case, the circumstances of the plaintiff and the nature and extent of injuries sustained. The rest of this page outlines with some specifics about each type of damages.
Hiring An Attorney to Maximize Personal Injury Damages
If you have been hurt it is important to consult with a reputable group of litigation trial lawyers to determine your legal rights and remedies. Never go it alone where there is a professional available to help. It is extremely important to have your possible case evaluated by a lawyer. The Napolin Law Firm offers free case evaluations for possible personal injury cases. Those who call receive a discussion one on one with a trial attorney to instruct them. In many instances, The Napolin Law Firm can offer up representation with zero money up front from the client. Get maximum personal injury damages via settlement or award at trial by hiring an attorney. We are here for you right now. You may be entitled to a lot more than you know! If you need help with paying for medical bills, many doctors treat on a lien basis so that you do not have to pay them until the case is completed. If you are losing time from work, our office can help you obtain a loan or complete state disability paperwork. In the end, the goal is to make the insurance company pay for everything including our fees so that the client can move back into a good rhythm of life. Get our help on your side starting with some instruction from a trial lawyer, for free!