The Relationship Between Injuries and Damages

July 22, 2019

When you file a civil lawsuit after having been injured in an accident or as a result of someone else’s negligence, you can collect financial compensation (“damages”) from the defendant if you are successful with your case. These damages exist to “make you whole” after you’ve suffered an injury.

Of course, there are times in which it can be difficult to accurately valuate the damage an injury has done to a person physically and emotionally. While it’s easy to calculate exactly how much money a person lost in vehicle damages, in their lost wages or in medical bills spent, it’s another thing entirely to put a dollar figure on the suffering a person has experienced as a result of the injuries or the difficulty of the long recovery they have ahead of them.

For this reason, the damages a person might recover in a civil suit will vary widely from case to case. Here’s a quick overview from our personal injury legal counsel in Santa Rosa, CA about what you can expect general personal injury damages to entail.

Lost wages

Injuries can put a person out of work for some time, even if their job isn’t particularly physical in nature. Therefore, damages in personal injury cases often include the money a person lost in wages while they were out of work. This includes compensation for any vacation days or sick time the person had to take while unable to work.

There are some circumstances in which the injured party may never be able to return to work due to the injury, in which case the damages might also include a calculation of the wages a person would have earned over the course of their lifetime (known as “future earning capacity”).

Medical bills

A person who has been injured in an accident will likely rack up significant medical bills due to testing, ambulance trips, stays in the hospital or nursing home, physical therapy, medications and other general recovery costs. Obviously, given how expensive medical care is in this country, those costs will add up quickly, and a patient will very quickly have to meet their healthcare deductibles, assuming they have insurance.

While most personal injury attorneys will advise their clients to wait to file a lawsuit until they’ve reached their maximum level of medical improvement, this isn’t always feasible due to statutes of limitations or due to an unsure level of future improvement. For this reason, damage calculations must also take into account the kinds of medical care a person can expect to have to undergo for the rest of their life as a result of the injury.

Noneconomic damages

There are many different types of noneconomic damages that could play a role in how much money you’re able to recover in a personal injury case. Pain and suffering damages are meant to compensate you for the trauma of the experience you’ve suffered, both mentally and physically. Emotional distress damages are often available for people who have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their injury. Loss of companionship or consortium damages can be provided for a person whose relationships with family members have been damaged in specific ways as a result of the injury.

For more information about how damages are determined after personal injury cases, contact the experienced personal injury legal counsel in Santa Rosa, CA at The Law Office of Max G. Arnold, Inc.

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