According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents account for millions of injuries and thousands of deaths annually in the United States. In fact, there were more than 40,000 deaths and 2.1 million injuries in 2020 alone.
Common injuries involve damage to a car accident victim’s head, neck, face, thorax, abdomen, upper limbs, and lower limbs. Further, traffic injuries are one of the leading causes of death, morbidity, and disability throughout the country.
Many factors impact the cost of injuries, such as the type of accident, intent of the at-fault party, the affected body region, and nature of the injury. These costly and preventable injuries cause accident victims significant physical, psychological, and financial burdens.
Many accident victims are left to manage substantial healthcare costs and economic challenges in the aftermath of an accident. Thus, California accident victims are often left with questions such as, What damages can I get after a car accident? and How much will I get for pain and suffering from a car accident?
Types of Damages after a California Car Accident
After a California car accident, an injury victim or their loved ones can bring a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party. If successful, they can collect compensation for their injuries or losses.
In California, there are three primary types of compensation damages:
- Economic damages. These are tangible and objectively verifiable financial losses, including medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, and burial costs.
- Non-economic damages. These are intangible, subjective, nonmonetary losses, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, and loss of consortium.
- Punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the at-fault party for their egregious conduct and help deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
Establishing eligibility for each of these damages requires a comprehensive understanding of complex statutes and procedural rules. An experienced lawyer can represent clients in their claim to ensure that they recover the damages they deserve.
Pain and Suffering Lawsuit
Pain and suffering is a ubiquitous yet commonly misunderstood term. Under California law, pain and suffering is a part of a larger category of non-economic damages. Courts categorize pain and suffering damages under non-economic damages because calculating these damages is subjective and highly dependent on a person’s unique circumstances.
Pain and suffering damages typically refer to the pain an accident victim experiences because of their injuries. These damages also include emotional and psychological trauma such as anxiety, mental turmoil, loss of enjoyment of life, and other similar conditions.
In some cases, injury victims can secure pain and suffer damages without a corresponding physical injury. However, courts are more likely to award pain and suffering damages when there is a bodily injury.
Calculating Pain and Suffering Settlement
Under California law, there is no fixed method for determining the monetary value of a person’s pain and suffering. However, an experienced lawyer can gather and present relevant evidence to make a compelling case for damages. Although pain and suffering are subjective losses, attorneys will establish them with objective evidence. Some common examples of evidence include:
- Medical records showing treatment,
- X-rays and lab work,
- Property damage photos,
- Physician’s and therapist’s reports,
- Witness testimony, and
- Expert testimony.
Unlike many other states, California does not place a cap on pain and suffering damages, except in medical malpractice cases.
The Multiplier Method and Per Diem Formula
Although there is no official way to calculate pain and suffering damages, attorneys and insurance companies often use the “multiplier method” or “per diem” formula to calculate these damages.
Under the multiplier formula, a person calculates all the economic damages and then multiplies that number by a specific multiplier, generally between one and five. The multiplier depends on the severity of a person’s injury.
In contrast, under the per diem method, an attorney will ask the jury to assign a daily rate to a victim’s pain and suffering and multiply the number by the number of days the jury believes that the pain and suffering are likely to continue.
Various factors can impact the amount of pain and suffering settlement amount figures a person will recover, and an attorney is a critical resource for securing maximum compensation.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer for Assistance with Your Case
At Silva Injury Law, our dedicated team of personal injury lawyers works hard on behalf of our clients. We also focus on making the recovery process as easy on you as possible while never losing sight of our goal to obtain maximum compensation in your case. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation with a compassionate personal injury lawyer, call today.
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