If someone’s behavior causes you to be injured, you can file a lawsuit to get compensation. But before you do, you need to identify all of your damages. Many victims don’t know what qualifies as damage, especially regarding economic vs. noneconomic damages.
The attorneys at Silva Injury Law handle cases involving all types of economic damages in California. We know how to identify these damages and demonstrate why the other side is liable. If you have questions about your injury, call our office at (209) 600-4389 to see if you qualify for compensation.
Types of Economic Damages
Under California law, economic damages are “objectively verifiable monetary losses” caused by a negligent or intentional act. Many things can be economic damages, but the following items are the most common in California personal injury cases.
Plaintiffs in California often seek medical expenses because they are some of the easiest to recover. Medical expenses are the costs a victim has to pay to care for their injuries.
Some common medical expenses include costs for:
- Emergency room visits,
- Surgical procedures,
- Prescription medication,
- Diagnostic imaging,
- Physical therapy sessions,
- Follow-up appointments,
- Ambulance transportation, and
- Medical equipment.
Calculating medical expenses can be tedious, but you don’t have to do this alone. A personal injury attorney can help gather and review your medical bills to calculate your damages.
An injury can cause you to miss work or prevent you from returning to your old job. If this happens, you can seek compensation for your lost earnings.
Many plaintiffs request lost earnings for:
- Overtime pay, and
- Bonuses and commissions.
On top of these, lost career advancement is another example of economic damages related to lost earnings. Many people get pay increases each year or when they serve enough time in their positions. You may be eligible for compensation if an injury stops you from earning these promotions.
An intentional or negligent act can affect the value of your property. Your settlement request or civil lawsuit can request the defendant to pay for these damages.
Property damage often involves assets like:
- Homes, and
- Personal belongings.
Repairing and replacing property is often expensive. It’s vital that you keep all records related to these losses to ensure you get compensation.
Loss of Use
In addition to repair and replacement costs, you can request compensation for any loss of use. This covers costs that arise because you can’t use your personal property.
Some expenses that can count as loss of use include:
- Rental cars,
- Hotel stays, and
- Personal storage fees.
As you can see from these economic damages examples, loss of use is not as easily identifiable as other damages. Speaking with an attorney may help you find costs you hadn’t considered.
Funeral and Burial Expenses
Unfortunately, some tragic incidents lead to the loss of a loved one. While friends and relatives take time to grieve, they also face the financial burden of arranging a funeral. Economic damages include the range of costs that come with honoring and memorializing a loved one.
Funeral and burial expenses can include:
- Funeral service costs,
- Caskets or urns,
- Cemetery fees,
- Burial plots, and
- Headstones or markers.
While compensation can’t replace the loss of a loved one, it can give you some peace of mind. These damages help you honor a loved one without worrying about the cost.
How to Recover Economic Damages
There are several ways to get compensation for your injuries. Whether you recover in court or through a private agreement, you must follow a process requiring convincing evidence. Here are the typical steps an attorney will take to recover economic damages:
- Legal consultation. Your attorney assesses the details of the case, including the incident, economic harm, and available evidence. This conversation helps determine the value of your claim and strategy to get compensation.
- Investigation. The attorney gathers relevant evidence to show that you suffered economic losses. This can involve speaking with doctors, insurance companies, and employers.
- Establishing liability. Your lawyer will find the link between the defendant’s actions and your economic damages. While this may sound simple, many legal considerations can complicate liability.
- Negotiations and settlements. Your attorney will negotiate with the defendant or their insurance representatives once liability is clear. Most people do not want to go to court, so parties often agree to a settlement to compensate for the damages.
- Court proceedings. Some negotiations fail, especially if the defendant doesn’t offer a fair settlement. If this happens, your attorney will take your case to court and demonstrate to a judge or jury why you deserve compensation.
All cases are unique, and though the above process will cover many scenarios, your attorney may recommend a different way to get compensation.
Is There a Cap on Economic Damages in California?
A cap on damages limits the total amount you can recover for a claim. Fortunately, California does not have a statutory cap on economic damages. As long as you have evidence to support your loss, you can recover all costs due to your injury.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Economic Damages?
Under California law, you need to file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the date of the injury. Waiting too long can prevent you from recovering your damages.
Exceptions allowing you to file a claim after the limit do exist, though they are rare. Speak with an experienced attorney to see if any apply to your case.
What if My Injury Doesn’t Have an Exact Cost?
Many injuries lead to injuries that do not have an objective cost. For example, you might suffer from recurring nightmares or have severe scarring. Courts consider these as noneconomic damages. While finding out the value of these damages uses a different process, you can also request compensation for them in your personal injury claim.
Schedule a Free Consultation
The attorneys at Silva Injury Law understand that injuries cause many emotional and physical challenges. Compassion is one of our guiding principles, and we do our best to help you in any way we can. For this reason, we always offer complimentary consultations to see if you are eligible for compensation. If so, our personal injury attorneys will fight hard to recover payment for your economic damages in California.
Call our office at (209) 600-4389 today to schedule your consultation.