Proving Damages in a California Car Accident Lawsuit

Photo of a car accident

Our Murrieta Car Accident Lawyers Explain How Damages Work

Car accidents injure more than 2 million U.S. drivers each year and kill an additional 35,000. Some car accident injuries are relatively minor, meaning the individuals involved will not suffer extensive damages.

Roughly 200,000 auto accident victims require extensive treatment in a hospital after a crash. Some of these individuals suffered major injuries, some of which are catastrophic and last the rest of their lives.

Damages in a Car Accident Lawsuit

There are three types of damages in a California car accident lawsuit. Economic damages encompass your medical bills, lost income, transportation costs and other direct expenses that are quantifiable. Noneconomic damages cover the pain and suffering caused by your injury. Finally, there are punitive damages, also called punishment damages. These are damages that can only be awarded by a jury.

We can look at this concept further by using a specific type of injury to illustrate how damages could work during a car accident case. Let’s say for example that your average 25-year-old healthy male suffers a complete C1 spinal cord injury during a car crash. This type of catastrophic injury would likely incur extensive economic and noneconomic damages. A complete C1 spinal cord injury could result in tetraplegia, or a loss of function below the neck. 

The person would need around-the-clock care, therapeutic care, home medical equipment, coverage for a loss of current and future income, and money for transportation costs. These are examples of economic damages that a person with a complete C1 spinal cord injury might suffer.

A person with this type of injury would also suffer noneconomic damages, such as a loss of enjoyment in life, mental anguish, or loss of companionship. While noneconomic damages are more difficult to quantify, an experienced attorney can help maximize your compensation.

Insurance companies are much more likely to put up an extensive fight if claims involve noneconomic damages. For this reason, it is important to pick an experienced attorney who has experience with jury trials involving car accident and catastrophic injury cases.

Damages for Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Some car accident victims lose their lives. Family members suffer damages as a result of a loss or losses. This is especially true in cases where the decedent (the deceased person) was the sole source of income for the family.

Damages in a wrongful death case are similar to damages in a case involving injuries. You may be able to obtain compensation for funeral expenses from a wrongful death lawsuit.

Our attorneys can personally answer any questions you have about seeking compensation for the death of a loved one.

Proving Damages in a Car Accident Lawsuit

There are a couple of ways to prove economic damages in a car accident case. For instance, it would be necessary to analyze and estimate the cost of your current and future medical bills. It would also be important to take a look at how much money you were making or could have made if you had not suffered an injury.

With noneconomic damages, the process is more difficult because you are attempting to quantify the impact your injury has on your quality of life. The amount you can recover depends on the extent and severity of your injury, and possibly other factors. An attorney will need to successfully argue for compensation for these damages.

Punitive damages are only possible if your case proceeds to a trial, as a jury can only award punitive damages in California.

About Our Murrieta Car Accident Lawyers

The Murrieta car accident lawyers at Gnau & Tamez Law Group, LLP can help you determine if you have options to file a lawsuit against another driver. We have experience with car accident injury and wrongful death cases in California.

You can learn more about how damages could apply to your case by calling us for a free consultation. To reach our firm, dial (951)370-1111 or use the online case review form on our website.

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