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Fair Payment for Pain: Calculating Value in California Injury Lawsuits

California victims of accidents caused by someone else’s negligent acts or omissions are afforded the opportunity to seek monetary compensation for, amongst other damages, the physical pain and emotional suffering experienced as a result of the event. While damages for lost wages, medical expenses already incurred, and property damage may be easier to quantify, those related to “pain & suffering” can be assessed and maximized with the help of a skilled personal injury attorney.

Typical categories of pain and suffering damages in California injury cases

Damages related to pain and suffering may be awarded in personal injury cases for:

  • Actual physical pain and discomfort
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Personal and familial inconvenience
  • Embarrassment
  • Damage to personal reputation
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of marital relationship
  • Loss of enjoyment of previous activity levels
  • Disfigurement
  • Aggravation of existing physical injury or impairment

Relevant factors in pain and suffering valuations

Assigning a dollar figure to a serious injury is rarely straightforward. Variables to be considered when calculating the value of damages include the victim’s age at the time of the accident, his or her family and marital situation, his or her educational background, employment record, health history, estimated recovery time and information gleaned from medical and psychological experts who can testify to the nature of the pain likely experienced under the circumstances.

Important caveats for prospective injury claimants

There are situations in which an injury victim in California will be barred from obtaining compensation for pain and suffering. Anyone convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the event in question will be unable to recover for losses of this type, as will an auto accident plaintiff whose vehicle was underinsured or uninsured at the time, unless the at-fault driver was found guilty of DUI.

California’s doctrine of pure comparative fault

In addition to the above limitations on pain and suffering claims, courts in California operate under a doctrine of pure comparative fault when it comes to assigning liability for damages of this type. Though this does not serve to bar plaintiffs from recovering payment from a responsible party, it does mean that any financial award will be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault borne by the plaintiff themselves for what occurred.

Aggressive, timely advocacy for Southern California’s injured

Because the time to pursue damages for pain and suffering or wrongful death is strictly limited by California statute, it is critical for victims to reach out to an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible after sustaining serious harm. Los Angeles personal injury attorney Sean Salamati will waste no time in exploring the facts, enlisting reputable experts and tenaciously pursuing the maximum damages allowed by the law. Assert your legal rights by calling The Law Offices of Sean Salamati today.

Additional resources on California pain and suffering damages

  1. California Legislative Information, Cal. Civ. Proc. §335.1, http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=CCP&division=&title=2.&part=2.&chapter=3.&article=
  2. Judicial Council of California – Civil Jury Instructions, No. 405: Comparative Fault of Plaintiff, http://www.courts.ca.gov/partners/documents/CACI_2017_Edition.pdf
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