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What Are Non-Economic Damages in California?

Under California law, an accident victim is entitled to recover non-economic damages from a negligent party. These include the value of the injured party’s pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of daily contentment, and loss of connections with family and loved ones. Given the difficulty in setting a definite value, an accident victim will almost always need the services of a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer. They will help recover the largest potential award for non-economic damages from negligent parties and the insurance companies.

For more than 25 years at Salamati Law, we have fought and succeeded in recovering substantial non-economic damages awards for our injured clients. Our experience has shown us that negligent parties and their insurers substantially underestimate the value of these damages.

Is there a specific definition of non-economic damages in California?

The term “non-economic damages” has no single definition under California law but includes several categories:

  • Pain and suffering refers to the physical pain and emotional suffering an accident victim endures both immediately after the accident and for as long as their injuries persist
  • Emotional distress covers the anxiety, trauma, and depression that an injured party may experience as a result of witnessing an accident or suffering the consequences of it
  • Loss of enjoyment of life includes the value of the injured party’s inability to participate in regular daily activities and events
  • Loss of consortium reflects damage and physical impairments that prevent an injured party from enjoying the affection of a spouse or partner, and loss of emotional and physical intimacy 

How are non-economic damages calculated?

Unlike economic damages, there is no standard method for calculating non-economic damages in California. A skillful accident and injury lawyer will demonstrate the human toll that the accident victim’s injuries have imposed on them and will introduce evidence to show:

  • How long the injuries are expected to last and how an injured party’s life has changed during the process of recovery
  • The overall severity of the injuries and the emotional trauma that they have caused to the accident victim and their family
  • How the injured party’s daily life and activities have changed to accommodate limitations caused by injuries
  • How scars and other physical evidence of injuries affect the injured party’s daily interactions.

Are non-economic damages the same as punitive damages?

Non-economic damages are demonstrable losses that an accident victim has suffered. They are not the same as punitive damages.  These are a special category that a court might award in extreme cases to punish a negligent party. For example, an individual who intended to cause harm or willfully or wantonly disregarded an injured party’s safety.

Does California place limits on non-economic damages?

Under California law, non-economic damages are capped at $250,000 in medical malpractice lawsuits. Otherwise, the state does not limit the amount of non-economic damages that an injured party may recover. Individuals can improve their odds of recovering the largest economic and non-economic damages by retaining an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney who has a demonstrated skill in recovering maximum damages awards.

Contact our team of Los Angeles personal injury lawyers

Please see our website or contact the Los Angeles offices of Salamati Law for a no-fee assessment of your accident and injury case. We will fight to recover the largest possible damages award that includes both economic and non-economic damages in your car crash case, your slip and fall accident lawsuit, and in all other matters involving accidents that leave a victim with grievous losses and injuries.  

No Obligation, No Fees Guaranteed, Unless We Win

We are committed to negotiate your case aggressively, strategically and creatively. Personal injury lawsuits are retained on a contingency fee agreement, and plaintiffs will pay no legal fees unless the firm is able to recover damages on your behalf.

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