What Types of Damages May Be Recovered In a Vehicle Accident in Los Angeles?

What Types of Damages May Be Recovered In a Vehicle Accident?

The available damages in a typical car accident in California are divided into two categories: (1) general damages which consists of non-monetary damages, (2) special damages which is monetary damages, and (3) punitive damages which may be awarded in cases where the court seeks to punish a defendant for its egregious conduct. In a typical car crash, an injured party may be able to recover both general and special damages.

1. General or Non-Economic Damages

General damages are typically those which are non-economic or monetary in nature, such as pain and suffering. There is no proof of pecuniary loss required for an injured person to recover general damages in a personal injury case. The following are the most common types of general or non-economic damages:

    • Physical pain
    • Mental suffering
    • Emotional distress or depression
    • Anxiety, fear, or nervousness
    • Loss of enjoyment of life
    • Physical impairment, such as paralysis or disfigurement
    • Inconvenience
    • Grief
    • Humiliation or embarrassment
    • Susceptibility to future harm or injury
    • Shortened life expectancy

2. Special or Economic Damages

Special damages are mainly those which the injured person suffers as a result of a monetary loss. In California, special damages may be awarded for past and future losses. The most typical special damages include:

    • Damages to personal or real property. The most common one is vehicle repair costs involved in an accident. It can also include damages to buildings and structures as a result of the collision.
    • Past and future medical expenses: An injured person would be able to recover the actual amount of medical expenses paid to-date as a result of the accident. The person will also be able to recover reasonable costs of future medical services to remedy the injury caused by the other party.
    • Past and future lost earnings. If the injured person had to take time off from work to recover, or will need to take off time in the future, she may be compensated for those lost earnings.
    • Loss of use of personal or real property.
    • Other out-of-pocket expenses. Any type of expense incurred by an injured person as a result of the accident may be recovered as special damages.

3. Punitive Damages

Though extremely rare, punitive damages may be awarded in cases where the other driver acted with an intent or conscious disregard for the public’s safety. For example, one prime example is when a drunk driver causes an accident; in these types of cases punitive damages may be awarded.

If you have been in a car accident in Los Angeles, you need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to determine what you actual damages are and what types of pain and suffering you may be entitled to. Only a qualified personal injury attorney can review the facts of your case and guide you through this process.

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