People injured in an accident due to another party’s negligence may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit. If your case is successful, you could be compensated for your medical bills, property damage, loss of earnings & loss of future earnings capacity, and pain and suffering.
While California does not have limits, there are exceptions and pending legislative changes to be aware of. Learn more about limits to California personal injury awards and related information. Contact Encino personal injury lawyers Ourfalian & Ourfalian if you have questions.
In a lawsuit, damages are what you allege you suffered because of the other person’s recklessness or negligence. Economic damages refer to the compensation you may receive for:
These are considered economic damages because you had to pay out of your pocket for them. The idea behind a claim or lawsuit is to recover these expenses. These damages are generally easier to obtain in a claim than non-economic damages. Economic damages can be calculated by adding up medical bills and other hard, countable expenses.
The court may also award non-economic damages, but they have no objective value. For example, the jury cannot review the objective costs of the pain and suffering from your injury, but they can assign a value and award that to you.
There is no one-size-fits-all formula to decide how much pain and suffering damages should be. Some insurance companies assign a number between 1-5 to a victim’s pain and suffering and multiply that figure by the person’s economic damages. Your attorney will review past pain and suffering awards in the area to estimate what your case could be worth.
A damage cap limits the compensation you can receive in a lawsuit. In cases where a cap is in place, it always involves only non-economic damages (pain and suffering).
California has no limits on economic damages in personal injury lawsuits. However, California has put a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. This cap is $250,000, so the jury cannot award more than that. In 2023, Governor Gavin Newsome signed Assembly Bill 35 (see below).
The $250,000 limit on non-economic damages for medical malpractice has been controversial because of the following factors:
The jury can award punitive non-economic damages if the defendant was especially reckless or engaged in intentionally harmful and dangerous conduct. However, punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury cases in California.
In one case, there is a cap on damages for convicted felons in California. The convicted criminal cannot recover financial damages for injuries they incurred in the commission of their crime. A common situation is a driver arrested for DUI after hitting another vehicle. The DUI suspect may be injured but they cannot sue for damages.
The passage of AB 35 in 2022 will bring changes to the compensation of victims for certain personal injury cases. The limit for non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases has been only $250,000 since 1975. The following changes will be enacted on Jan. 1, 2023:
Increases in the non-economic damages cap for personal injury cases, including medical malpractice. The new amount will be $350,000 for 2023 and will increase by $40,000 annually for 10 years. The amount will increase by 2% per year after 10 years.
Increases in the non-economic damages cap for wrongful death lawsuits. The amount will be $500,000 in 2023 and will be increased $50,000 per year for 10 years. The amount will increase 2% per year after 10 years.
The possibility of the cap to be stacked up to three times if there was negligence by healthcare facilities, healthcare providers, or separate negligence of facilities or providers at separate institutions.
For example, a medical malpractice victim could theoretically receive $350,000 stacked three times in 2023 and beyond, which would be $1,050,000. This significant increase would provide improved compensation for personal injury victims.
The noneconomic damages cap also will go up every year. Notably, the year the claim is resolved will determine the cap, not when the victim reports the claim. This is a critical difference in medical malpractice cases because they tend to be complex and take years to resolve.
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in California remains at two years. Therefore, if you are injured in an accident, it is vital to speak with an Encino personal injury attorney as soon as you can. It may take months to build a strong case that results in compensation.
If you were injured recently in an accident, you are likely facing a pile of intimidating medical bills, thousands in lost earnings, and an uncertain future. How will you pay for your recovery and the rest of your monthly bills?
Encino personal injury attorneys Ourfalian & Ourfalian have 35 years of experience representing people who were hurt in car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, and wrongful death.
Ourfalian & Ourfalian represent injured clients in Encino, Alhambra, Arcadia, Burbank, Glendale, El Monte, Granada Hills, Los Angeles, Monterey Park, North Hollywood, Pasadena, Van Nuys, and the rest of Southern California and the San Fernando Valley. Please contact us today for a complimentary consultation at: (818) 550-7777.
Ourfalian & Ourfalian has successfully represented thousands of individuals and small businesses throughout the San Fernando Valley and Southern California over the last four decades. Our experienced attorneys focus on civil litigation which includes but is not limited to helping injury victims get just compensation after serious accidents. There is a distinct culture at Ourfalian & Ourfalian that is not easy to characterize but is felt everyday by the firm’s employees and clientele. Contact our Glendale Personal Injury & Civil Litigation law practice today to schedule a free initial consultation.