Types of Damages Available: Economic and Noneconomic
First, examine your types of damages. The types of losses you suffered can determine the categories of compensation the law may entitle you to seek from an at-fault party. Accident laws in California encourage victims to seek financial recovery for both economic (specific) and noneconomic (general) losses.
- Physical pain, chronic pain or disability
- Emotional distress or mental suffering
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- The costs of vehicle damage repairs
- Weeks, months or years’ worth of lost wages
- Lost potential earnings in the future
- All accident-related medical expenses for life
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death damages
These are types of compensatory damages a courtroom may award in Sacramento. Compensatory damages seek to reimburse you for your losses in the aftermath of a major motor vehicle accident. The other type of damage award that may be available is punitive. Punitive damages are less common but may arise in accidents involving gross negligence or malicious wrongdoing.
Punitive damages are an additional amount of money given to the plaintiff as a way of punishing the defendant. These damages can also establish a precedent for how the courts in a community will handle similar acts of negligence. A judge may order punitive damages if he or she believes compensatory ones do not adequately reimburse the plaintiff for serious losses.
Evaluating Your Truck Accident Claim in California
Calculating your potential truck accident settlement award starts by adding up your economic damages. These are easiest to measure since they rely on hard numbers. Add up the exact costs of your medical bills to date, out-of-pocket expenses such as ambulance fees or a rental vehicle, price estimates for vehicle repairs, and the amount you have in lost wages for missed time at work. You may need to gather medical bills and information from your employer to make this calculation.
Some say to multiply the amount of your total economic damages by three to estimate what your total settlement could be worth. This method may or may not be accurate, however, depending on the specifics of your case. The only way to get a truly accurate estimate of your claim’s value is during a consultation with an attorney. An attorney will review all the facts of your case and the extent of your damages to form an honest opinion on what your claim could be worth.
How Do the Courts Calculate Noneconomic Damages?
You could get a better idea of your case’s value if you understand how a jury in California will calculate noneconomic damages. Noneconomic damages are not as easy to measure as economic. The most common method of calculation is to multiply the amount of economic damages by a number on a scale of one to five. The number will represent the severity of your injuries. A permanently disabling brain injury, for example, may receive the multiplier five, while a single broken bone may receive one or two.
The other common method is a per diem (per day) calculation. The courts will look at how long a qualified physician expects your injuries to last. Then, they will assign a daily rate of noneconomic pay per day of your recovery. This daily rate is typically close to what you would earn in a day’s worth of wages. Find out what you could receive in compensation for the costs of all your physical, emotional and financial damages by discussing your case with a personal injury attorney. A truck accident lawyer in Sacramento will know how to maximize your recovery award.