Los Angeles Personal Injury Compensation
If you have been injured in an accident and are thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit, you are most likely wondering “how much is my case worth?” It’s a legitimate question, as you need to decide if it’s worth going forward with your claim or lawsuit. However, it is not an easy question to answer.
My advice is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. These consultations are generally free – they are at our firm – and will be time well spent.
However, depending on your injuries, how soon it is after your accident, and what type of treatment you’ve received, a potential attorney may not be able to give you the answer you want.
In fact, in most cases it should be difficult for any legitimate attorney to provide you with a specific answer. At the least though, an attorney will be able to let you know if it’s worth pursuing. In my view, less significant injuries may be better resolved by going through small claims court. (Read: California Small Claims Court for Smaller Personal Injury Cases for more information.)
One of the things we can do as attorneys to help you answer this question is explain what type of damages are available to accident victims. Whether you have a small or large claim, consider the following categories when you think about your past and future losses that may be related to your accident:
Compensatory Damages are exactly as they sound: They compensate you for losses you have suffered due to your accident or injury. Compensation can include:
Emotional Distress – The psychological consequences of your accident could cause anxiety and fear, not to mention sleep loss.
Enjoyment Loss – If your accident forces you to change your lifestyle, i.e. give up sports, hobbies or other recreational activities, you could be entitled to compensation under this category.
Income or Wages – Did you miss work to recover from your injury? Did the accident leave you disabled in some way, forcing you to change occupations, or leave you unable to work at all? You may be able to recover for these losses.
Change in Marital Relationship – Personal Injury lawyers call this Loss of Consortium, and it generally refers to the negative impact an injury could have on your marital relationship. These are common in more serious injury cases, for example when someone is left paralyzed. Every aspect of the marital relationship, including the ability to have sex and be intimate, is damaged.
Medical Bills – You can be reimbursed for past and future medical care related to your accident. If you will need ongoing treatment for chronic pain, physical therapy, new prosthetics, etc. – your personal injury lawyer will consult medical experts to estimate the costs of that care.
Pain and Suffering – Pain and discomfort stemming from your injury. (For more details on what is included in this category, read: Pain and Suffering – Damages and Compensation in a Personal Injury Lawsuit.)
Property Damage or Loss – This compensation is based on the fair market value of any items lost because of an accident. They could include damage to a vehicle in the case of a car accident, replacement of furniture or clothing if you were injured by a defective product, etc. You could also receive Loss of Use compensation, i.e. reimbursement for a car rental.
Punitive Personal Injury Damages
In some personal injury cases, the defendant can be held liable for extreme carelessness or blatantly ignoring safety standards, usually with an eye to increasing profits. Juries can punish these defendants by awarding you punitive damages.
Additionally, they are meant to make an example of the defendant – in an effort to keep other companies or individuals from choosing profits over safety, for example. In car accidents, such punitive damages can be sought against drunk drivers and against distracted drivers (i.e., drivers who are talking or texting while driving).
David B. Bobrosky is a Los Angeles Accident and Injury Attorney at our Firm. For more information about damages and compensation or to get a free consultation regarding your injury, email him: firstname.lastname@example.org.