“What’s my case worth?” As a personal injury attorney, this is a question I get asked a lot. At some point in time, every client, and even most prospective clients, ask this question. There are a lot of variables that go into answering this question. Some of these variables deal with what I call “The 3 Types of Damages.” When someone else’s negligence causes your injury and you pursue legal action against that person, you may be able to recover: (1) Special Damages, (2) General Damages, & (3) Punitive Damages.
Special Damages are damages you can calculate, such as medical bills, lost income, or even damage to your personal property. When pursuing a personal injury case, it is important to keep in mind that you only get one shot. So it’s important to keep good records of medical bills & time away from work, in building a PI case.
General Damages are more intangible than Special Damages. It includes things like pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of reputation, loss of enjoyment of life, and can even include future losses. Because these are not tangible calculations, there are a couple of ways attorneys help “calculate” General Damages.
In short, you can use a per diem dollar amount to calculate pain and suffering or multiply the number of your special damages by a number determined based on the severity of your injuries. This number usually ranges between 1.5 to 5.
When keeping a record for your case, be sure to communicate with your doctor any pain or discomfort you’re experiencing. They can document it in all of your medical records.
Punitive Damages, even though it does add to the amount the plaintiff receives, is not meant to reward the plaintiff, but rather punish the defendant. This comes about in cases where the defendant’s conduct is considered grossly negligent or intentional. This amount is awarded by the court.
As you can see, there are many factors in personal injury cases, and there is a lot to be left on the table. This is why it’s so important to find an attorney that is an expert in personal injury law. If you or a family member has been injured and needs a personal injury attorney in California, we are eager to fight for you. Book a free consultation to meet in person or virtually.