Posted On August 25, 2020 Personal Injury

What Damages Can You Recover in a Personal Injury Case?

If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another person, company, or entity, you should be able to recover compensation for your losses. However, securing the right amount of compensation in a personal injury case can be difficult, often because insurance carriers do not want to pay out a large settlement. Here, we want to discuss the most common types of compensation that are available in personal injury cases.

Special damages available in personal injury cases

Special damages are also called “economic damages,” and this refers to the types of compensation that a person can receive for items that are considered calculable. That is, there are typically bills, receipts, and pay stubs available that can be added up to calculate these costs. Some of the most common types of special damages awarded in a personal injury case include those that cover:

  • Any hospital or doctor bills
  • The cost of any prescription medications or medical equipment necessary
  • Coverage for physical therapy or rehabilitation
  • Lost wages and benefits if a victim cannot work
  • General household out-of-pocket expenses that a victim incurs
  • Property damage expenses caused by the incident

General damages available in personal injury cases

General damages are often referred to as “non-economic” damages, and this refers to compensation that may be available for things that are not as easy to calculate. These are also regularly called “pain and suffering” damages, and there are typically no receipts or bills that can be used to calculate these expenses. Some of the most common types of general damages include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Physical impairment
  • Physical disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium (for a spouse)
  • Loss of companionship (paid family members in wrongful death cases)

In order to calculate the total amount of compensation that should be awarded for general damages, an Ontario personal injury lawyer will typically use a multiplier method. That is, they will add up the total economic damages mentioned above and multiply that by a set number (typically 1.5 to 4) to arrive at a fair general damage compensation amount.

Punitive damages available in personal injury cases

Punitive damages may be awarded in personal injury cases if the alleged at-fault party was grossly negligent or acted intentionally when they caused the accident that led to the injuries the plaintiff incurred. These damages are meant to punish the individual or company responsible and deter such future behavior by that party or others. Punitive damages are often awarded to send a message to others that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.

Are there caps on damages in a personal injury case in California?

In most situations, there are no caps (limitations) on the amount of compensation that can be awarded for either special or general damages in California. The exception to this is with medical malpractice cases. In these instances, general damages will be limited to $250,000, though there is no cap on special damages awarded in medical malpractice cases.

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