Generally, in a personal injury lawsuit, there are two broad categories of damages for which you can receive compensation: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to things for which you can readily prove the dollar amount of your loss. Your medical bills could demonstrate your past medical expense damages. Your past income documents might prove your past lost wages. An economics expert might give evidence about your future lost earnings. A medical expert might give testimony about your future need for care and the cost of that care.
Non-economic damages include things like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and mental anguish. These can be more subjective determinations that a jury must make in your case, but the amount of these damages (and the amount of compensation you can receive for them) may be very large. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, you want to be sure that you get the most from all the forms of damages to which you are entitled, which is why you should retain the services of a knowledgeable California personal injury attorney to handle your case and provide the representation you need.
An example of a case that could have been a situation involving significant amounts of both economic and non-economic damages was the case of R.C. According to a report by the San Diego Union Tribune
, R.C. was operating a Segway device along Camino de la Costa in San Diego County when she encountered a large area of roadway that was cracked and broken. The broken roadway caused R.C. to lose control of her Segway and crash to the ground. The injuries she suffered in the accident were very severe. Specifically, the woman shattered her pelvis in the crash, requiring medical providers to screw in metal plates, the report indicated.
Although piloting a Segway device along a street just one block from the ocean might seem both scenic and minimally risky (unless you’re hit by a car or truck), R.C.’s case demonstrated just how damaging and, in fact, life-changing any type of accident can potentially be, whether you’re operating a bicycle or a Segway or some other small vehicle.
Certainly, R.C.’s medical bills, including the surgical procedures needed to insert the plates into her pelvis, would reach a massive total. However, her non-economic damages were potentially even greater. R.C.’s shattered pelvis meant that, after the accident, she relied predominantly on a wheelchair to get around. Many people, especially here in California, lead very active lifestyles. To transition suddenly from an active lifestyle to one that requires the aid of a wheelchair most of the time would be a massive change for many Californians and also mean the loss of the enjoyment of many aspects of life that most of us probably take for granted. (If, for example, you were an avid runner and running was your absolute favorite hobby, then an accident that resulted in your being a paraplegic or quadriplegic would be something inflicted a very large degree of loss-of-enjoyment-of-life damages upon you.)
In addition to the damages you suffer, there may be damages to others, too. When you’re seriously hurt in an accident, you’re not necessarily the only one who is harmed. The accident may have significantly impacted your spouse. The law allows a spouse to assert a claim in your personal injury case, sometimes, too. Your accident may have diminished your ability to emotionally comfort, support or be intimate with your spouse. When that happens, the law may allow your spouse to recover compensation for “loss of consortium.”
In R.C.’s case, the city elected to settle the case. As an injured plaintiff, it can sometimes make sense to settle. A sufficiently large settlement can provide you with needed financial assistance without having to ensure the stress and delay of a full trial. The settlement in R.C.’s case called for her to receive $1.5 million and her husband to receive $200,000.
For your personal injury litigation needs, contact the skilled San Mateo personal injury
attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our attorneys have been helping injured people utilize the legal system successfully for many years. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Injured Bicyclist Recovers $4.85 Million Settlement from the City of San Diego for the City’s Failure to Maintain and Repair an Uneven Sidewalk
, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published October 18, 2017
Southern California Security Guard Wins $17M Damages Award After Forklift Accident Leads to Leg Amputation
, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published July 21, 2017