Recoverable Damages in Personal Injury and Catastrophic Injury Cases
In personal injury and catastrophic injury matters, victims can claim the following two main types of damages: Non-Economic and Economic damages. In some situations, those who have been injured in a car crash may potentially seek Punitive Damages. Spouses of the injury victims can seek compensation for their Loss of Consortium damages.
Non-economic damages include the following types of past and future losses by the injured victim:
- physical pain
- impairment (physical)
- loss of the ability to enjoy life
- emotional distress
- mental suffering
The physical and emotional injuries suffered by victims of negligence or recklessness can result in significant financial losses. Besides the property damage, economic damages that can be claimed include the following:
- past and future medical expenses, including the cost of:
- doctors’ services
- diagnostic testing (labs and imaging studies such as ultrasounds, x-rays, CT scans, MRI’s, etc.)
- physical therapy
- skilled nursing facility services
- occupational therapy
- home-health services
- past loss of earnings (wages)
- future loss of earning capacity (the ability to earn income)
- other economic damages such as:
- out-of-pocket expenses
- the cost of home or vehicle modifications
- the cost of attendant care
In California, past medical expenses can be recovered with the following limitations: only out-of-pocket expenses as well as those amounts, which had actually been reimbursed (paid for) by insurance, can be recovered. Additionally, when applicable, past medical expenses are subject to liens imposed by Medicare, Med-Cal, as well as insurance carriers and medical providers themselves.
If necessary, Cherepinskiy Law Firm will retain expert economists to evaluate and prove future economic damages such as the present value of future medical expenses and lost earnings. If a victim needs continued future medical and attendant care, life care planners will be retained to assess the cost of this care for the duration of the patient’s life expectancy.
Punitive damages can be awarded to punish a reckless wrongdoer for behavior that involves “oppression, fraud, or malice.” California Civil Code § 3294. Such cases involve particularly egregious misconduct such as, for example, drunk and impaired driving.
Loss of Consortium
The legal spouse (husband or wife) of the victim of negligence or recklessness may claim loss of consortium damages, which were caused by the wrongdoer’s misconduct. Loss of consortium includes the following:
- the loss of the injured spouse’s companionship, love, care, comfort, protection, assistance, society, moral support, and affection and
- the loss of the ability to enjoy sexual relations with the injured spouse or the ability to have children with him or her (if applicable).
Loss of consortium damages do not include any economic losses, including the following types of damages:
- the loss of financial support that, in the absence of the injury, would have been provided by the injured spouse
- the loss of earnings sustained by the claiming spouse when he or she had to give up employment in order to provide care to the injured spouse
- the value of the past and future personal services (e.g. nursing or attendant care) rendered or to be rendered by the claiming spouse to the injured spouse
- the cost of hiring outside help to replace household services that, in the absence of the injury, would have been provided by the injured spouse (e.g. cleaning or cooking)
What Types of Cases are Eligible for Personal Injury Damages?
The personal injury damages discussed above can be recoverable in the following types of cases:
- Car Accidents
- Uber & Lyft Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
Elder Care Misconduct
Catastrophic Injury Cases