Figuring out how much to expect from a California injury settlement is an important step to take whenever you file such a claim. With an estimate in mind, you will know what sort of settlement offer is acceptable. If a settlement offer does not adequately account for the amount of damages you suffered, something is wrong. The other party is making a lowball settlement offer. It is best to avoid accepting a lowball settlement offer whenever possible. If someone else caused your injury, after all, your settlement should at least cover the total damages you suffered. Otherwise, you are paying for something that is not your fault, which entirely defeats the purpose of filing a legal claim in the first place.
Building an Estimate of Your Claim’s Value
Estimating the value of your injury claim is best done with the help of an experienced injury attorney. Injury lawyers know how to turn over all the stones necessary to make an accurate and thorough assessment of an injury claim. Even so, you can make an estimate yourself before meeting with prospective legal team. When you meet with the lawyers, you can compare the numbers you came up with. Comparing notes and numbers will help shore up your trust in the estimate. To build your estimate, all you have to do is add up all of the losses you suffered due to the injury. Read on for more information on the different types of damages.
Taking Account of Damages
The damages that you can suffer as a result of an injury vary as much as injuries themselves do. Injuries often have a sort of ripple effect in the way they disrupt our lives. The ripple effect is different for everyone. Still, there are ways of categorizing and organizing various damages that can help us take inventory of all of them. Like most jurisdictions, California law primarily breaks damages into two separate categories: economic damages and noneconomic damages. The categories are very different from one another but are still the same at their root. They are both types of losses that we can suffer. There is also a third category called punitive damages. Punitive damages are less common than economic and noneconomic damages. Because they are less relevant to our discussion of injury settlements, we will not discuss punitive damages in this piece.
Economic damages are the losses you suffer that have a tangible, objective, and identifiable monetary value. Calculating the worth of a given “piece” of economic damages is a simple process. All you have to do is find the relevant receipt, bill, or bank statement. The record of the damages will have a precise monetary value. The nice thing about economic damages is that they are hard to dispute. If there is a clear causal connection between the injury and the specific damage, the other party has no way to dispute their value. As a result, economic damages are relatively easy to account for and prove in court.
Economic damages come in many different forms. Some of the types of economic damages you might suffer after an injury include:
- Emergency medical services,
- Property damage,
- Rehabilitation services,
- Specialized medical services,
- In-home help,
- Loss of wages,
- Loss of the ability to earn a living, and
- Vocational training.
These are just a few of the many different possible economic damages. It is important to be as thorough as possible when you take inventory of all the economic damages you suffered. If you forget to account for an economic loss until after you settle your claim, it will be very difficult to recover that sum.
Noneconomic damages are a bit less straightforward than economic damages. Unlike economic damages, noneconomic damages measure intangible losses. They lack a precise monetary value and are inherently subjective. Their subjectiveness often makes noneconomic damage a contentious issue in civil litigation. After all, an intangible loss worth $1,000 to one person may only be worth $50 to another. Still, noneconomic damages represent just as much of a loss as any economic damages.
Like economic damages, there are many different types of noneconomic damages. Some of the most common types of noneconomic damages are:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional anguish,
- Loss of career,
- Loss of companionship,
- Loss of enjoyment of life,
- Loss of a bodily function, and
- Damage to reputation.
Looking through this list, it becomes apparent why noneconomic damages are contentious issues in injury claims. How can you place a monetary value on pain and suffering? Furthermore, once you do place a value on pain and suffering, how do you get someone else to agree on that value? Luckily, injury attorneys have experience putting a price tag on intangible noneconomic losses. So with the help of an attorney, you can take some of the guesswork out of calculating the value of your noneconomic losses.
Once you have a thorough inventory of all of your economic and noneconomic losses, make sure that each item has a specific monetary value. To estimate the value of your claim, add up all the losses. Now, with the sum of all your losses in hand, you have your estimate.
Do You Need Help Figuring Out How Much Your Injury Claim Is Worth?
If you are filing an injury claim in California and want to make sure you know how much your claim is worth, contact Silva Injury Law’s team of experienced injury lawyers today. Our firm’s philosophy is to promote healing through compassionate advocacy. That means doing everything in our power to help our clients heal from their injuries and get their life back to normal. No matter what injury you have and no matter how much your claim is worth, Silva Injury Law, Inc. is here to help you. Check out our client testimonials page to see what our previous clients have to say about us, then contact us for a free consultation. We will help you get back on track.