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Are Personal Injury Damages Limited to Physical Injuries?

| Apr 14, 2014 | Firm News

As the victim of a personal injury accident you have likely suffered more than just physical injuries. Most victims also experience psychological or emotional trauma as well as financial hardship after a personal injury accident. The good news is that if another party was at fault in the accident you may be entitled to compensation for all of your injuries, not just your physical injuries.

People typically think of a car accident when the term “personal injury accident” is mentioned. While a car accident is certainly one example of a personal injury accident there are other situations that also qualify such as a slip and fall accident, an industrial accident, or even a dog bite injury. What all of these have in common is that the negligence of another party caused, or contributed to, the victim’s injuries. If you have been the victim of someone’s negligent acts or omissions you could be entitled to compensation for both your economic and non-economic damages.

In legal terms, “economic damages” refers to the out-of-pocket expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident. Medical bills for you physical injuries, lost wages for work missed because of those injuries, and the cost to repair property, such as your vehicle, are all part of your economic damages. “Non-economic damages” are what most people commonly refer to as “pain and suffering”; however, your non-economic damages may actually include more than simply pain and suffering. In California, non-economic damages may include:

  • Pain
  • Suffering
  • Inconvenience
  • Mental suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of society and companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Injury to reputation
  • Humiliation

Your economic damages are easily calculated because they are objective expenses for which you will have a bill, receipt, or other written documentation. Non-economic damages, however, are subjective in nature and are much more difficult to calculate. Various factors go into calculating the non-economic damages value of personal injury case such as:

  • Severity of physical injuries
  • Number of physical injuries
  • Victim’s overall health prior to the accident
  • Victim’s contribution to the accident (or lack thereof)
  • Victim’s family situation
  • Victim’s work situation

If you have recently been injured in a personal injury accident it is imperative that you speak to an experienced San Diego or Riverside personal injury attorney at Martinez & Schill as soon as possible. Only an attorney can evaluate the specific facts and circumstances surrounding your accident to determine if you are entitled to compensation and, if so, how much.

To learn more, download our free Understanding Compensation in a San Diego Personal Injury Lawsuit report.