The world of personal injury can be a confusing place, fraught with misinformation and false guidance. Falling at the local Home Depot, for example, may not “entitle” you to millions in compensation. Similarly, experiencing a poor outcome from a medical procedure is not always a clear case of medical malpractice.
When and how a personal injury verdict is awarded takes a high level of knowledge, including both past precedence and current law. Knowing how much to award a victim can be even more confusing. While there may be guidelines set forth for injury awards, such amounts can vary substantially based on numerous factors. The type of injury, how it occurred, whether it will completely heal and more are all factored into the decision of an award.
When negligence is a factor that causes an injury event to take place, it may be possible for victims to file a personal injury claim for compensation. Securing the most compensation from a claim is critical. In California, the Glendale personal injury attorneys at Ourfalian & Ourfalian can assist you with your California personal injury claim. Even though most personal injury claims settle outside of court, the talented California personal injury lawyers at Ourfalian & Ourfalian will be prepared to see your case through to the end and be ready to litigate should you end up in front of a judge and jury.
There are multiple types of damages that may be awarded. For the purposes of this discussion, we will focus on compensatory damages. These are damages that may be awarded to the plaintiff in order to make them “whole.” Put simply, compensatory damages are provided to make it as if the injury never occurred.
There is no set formula for how a jury may award damages. In order to make the plaintiff whole again, the jury may need to award both past, present, and future damages. These damages may include hospital and treatment bills, lost wages if unable to work and even future wages if going back to work may take time if it happens at all. The specific facts of each case will be considered and are part of the decision-making process.
There are two different types of compensatory damages that may be awarded. There are “general damages” as well as “special damages.” The general damages pertain to the non-economic part of the case. These damages may be viewed as pain and suffering damages.
Special damages, on the other hand, take into account all of the necessary economic factors. These factors may include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, Rental expenses, and any out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to the injury.
Medical expenses can become quite expensive. Special damages include medical costs both for the past as well as the future. This means that medical expenses could include costs for both emergency room visits as well as ongoing physical therapy. Whatever the treatments may be, the injured must show them to be necessary due to the injury and reasonable in regards to their expense. Claiming $250,000 in medical costs for a splinter, for example, is not likely going to be considered reasonable.
To recover for future medical expenses, the injured must show that they are reasonably priced, reasonably needed, and reasonably certain to be needed in the future. Medical expert testimony will be necessary to award future expenses.
The awarding of general damages may depend on several factors. General damages are awarded for the non-economic part of the case and are calculated by human judgment. These damages can be awarded for such issues as:
How much is awarded is based on the facts of the case, with every case being different. Jurors are instructed by the courts in California to use their judgment to determine a reasonable amount based on the case evidence and using their common sense. Needless to say, this may leave a lot of wiggle room.
If the defendant in the case has paid out for similar injuries before, they may not be taking the issue seriously. Multiple injuries sustained due to defendant negligence may be awarded larger sums as a means of punishing the defendant. A defendant with no history of being at fault for an injury may be required to pay a smaller amount as they have not made it a habit. (In CA punitive damages are not awarded for personal injury cases as insinuated herein)
A plaintiff that is scarred may be awarded based on the size and specifics of the scarring. Total scarring of the face, for example, may cause more emotional distress to the injured compared to a scar on the bottom of the foot.
Putting a fair and reasonable value to a victim’s personal injury claim is not always an easy task. But it is critical to ensure that a victim does not accept a settlement that is far below the damages they suffered. To increase the potential that the highest amount of compensation is agreed to, working with an attorney is advantageous. The legal team at Ourfalian & Ourfalian has more than 35 years of successfully representing victims of injury accidents and fighting to protect their rights and get the compensation they deserve.
When considering the potential awards for an injury, there are many factors that are taken into account. The key to obtaining a larger award may be in knowing all of the factors involved and how to demonstrate them to a jury.
If you have been injured and are seeking compensation, you are best off consulting with an experienced California personal injury attorney licensed in the State of California. The right attorney can make all of the difference, potentially assisting you in winning very large sums of money for your suffering.
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.