What Expenses Can I Claim as Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

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If you have injuries from an accident in California, the law may entitle you to recover damages. Damages refer to types of compensation you may be able to obtain from a defendant, or at-fault party, for your losses. You or your personal injury lawyer will list your damages in the initial claim against the defendant, along with a settlement amount you deem appropriate. Knowing which damages you can claim can prevent you from settling for less than your case is worth. It can also give you an accurate idea of how much money to expect.

Types of Damages

No set rule exists for calculating a plaintiff’s recovery award. Instead, an insurance company or the civil courts will calculate an amount owed based on a combination of your actual expenses as well as non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. Then, the plaintiff and defendant will negotiate for a fair and reasonable amount. The civil courts in California categorize personal injury claim damages. It is important to consider whether you have any expenses within each category to fully evaluate your claim.

  • The amount you paid in medical bills during recovery. You may list all health care expenses related to your accident, including scans and x-rays, medical tests, therapies, surgery, rehabilitation, prescriptions, live-in care, travel costs, and disability accommodations.
  • Compensatory damages refer to any money you spent out-of-pocket on your accident, including for medical coverage, deductibles, legal fees, rental cars, ambulances, medical supplies and personal property repairs.
  • Special compensatory. Special damages specifically describe economic losses. They refer to the monetary damages you (and possibly your family members) suffered because of the defendant’s negligence.
  • Lost income. You may claim all wages lost due to the accident and while in recovery, as well as projected future lost income related to long-term or permanent disabilities.
  • This describes the intangible losses connected to your accident, such as physical pain, suffering, emotional distress, lost services, diminished quality of life, anxiety, mental anguish, inconvenience, embarrassment and loss of consortium.
  • Any physical damages the accident caused, such as vehicle damage or injury to other types of property, as well as any lost or stolen property. You may be able to recover the costs of repairing the damages or replacing the property.
  • An additional award your lawyer can request if the defendant was guilty of maliciousness, intent to harm or gross negligence. Punitive damages serve to punish the defendant rather than make you whole.

During a claim, you or your lawyer will need to prove each damage listed was reasonable and necessary. If the courts believe you could have received the same care for less money, you may not recover your full costs. You will also need to prove the existence of damages through a preponderance of the evidence. Evidence of damages can include pay stubs, bills, receipts, photographs, medical records, damage repair estimates and testimony from witnesses. A personal injury lawyer can help you establish a damage claim in California.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Understanding the value of your personal injury claim is critical during negotiations. Otherwise, you may believe the first settlement an insurance company offers is fair when it actually undervalues your damages. Accurately listing your damages and a figure that would fully reimburse you may take assistance from an attorney.

Contact Liljgren Law Group

At Liljegren Law Group, we offer free personal injury case consultations in Escondido and Temecula. Contact one of our Escondido personal injury lawyers, or our Temecula personal injury attorneys who can assist you with your claim. We can meet with you to review your case and help you understand your damages. We can accurately evaluate your losses and let you know what we believe your case is worth. If we accept you as a client, we can help you demand maximum compensation for all your related damages.