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Recovery in a Personal Injury Case: Compensatory Damages

Money and GavelWhen a person has been injured by the negligence or wrongdoing of another party, it is impossible to restore the victim to the exact state he or she was in before the injury occurred. But society must try to compensate the injured person, and so courts order the payment of money damages to victims to try to compensate them for the losses they have sustained.

In California, there are two types of damages: compensatory damages, which include both special and general damages, and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are intended to restore the victim, as nearly as possible, to his or her state before the accident. Punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer who caused the accident, and are rarely ordered in personal injury cases.

Special Damages

Special, or economic, damages, are intended to restore to the victim any costs he or she had to pay because of the accident. The amount of special damages in a personal injury case is determined by examining bills, receipts, paychecks, and business records. There are several types of economic damages commonly available in a personal injury case.

Medical Expenses

Almost all personal injury cases include compensation for medical expenses, which can include the cost of both past and future medical care associated with the accident. Medical expenses may include nursing or other long-term care if the accident caused permanent disability, or psychological treatment if necessary.

Property Damage

Property damage is especially common in car accident cases. If property, such as a vehicle, jewelry, or other items are damaged because of the accident, the victim will usually be entitled to compensation for necessary repairs or for the value of items that were lost.

Lost Wages

Lost wages are another major category of special damages. It means compensation for the time in which the victim was not able to work due to the accident, whether because of hospitalization, disability, or doctor’s visits. If the injured person had to use sick or vacation leave because of the injury, he or she may be compensated for that leave, even though the wages were actually paid. Lost wages can also include the loss of earning capacity and loss of future wages. An injured person may need to use an expert witness to establish the value of these future losses.

Funeral Expenses

If a victim dies as the result of an accident, the family may file a wrongful death suit and recover, among other things, funeral expenses.

The services of a dedicated attorney are essential to maximize your recovery of damages in a personal injury case. Do not hesitate to reach out to the San Jose personal injury attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. today for a free consultation.

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I suffered a severe spinal injury while working as a farm mechanic in the Salinas Valley. The attorneys -Tim McMahon and Mark Sigala were fantastic from the beginning. They fought for me over 3 long years and in the end, we won a difficult liability case against the farm company who was using dangerous equipment. The defendants in the case tried everything to put the blame on me and even claimed I was their employee in order to avoid civil responsibility. Tim and Mark never gave up on me and my case. I cannot recommend them highly enough. They are fighters. Adrian A.
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