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What Are The Economic Damages In California?

Economic Damages In California Personal Injury Cases

Damages are awarded to successful plaintiffs to compensate them for their losses. For example, if you are successful in a California personal injury case, you might get compensation for lost income, destroyed property, medical bills, and potential emotional damages.

One of the most common damages is economic damages, compensating financial or monetary losses to a successful plaintiff. That said, what counts as economic damages? What can the court order a defendant to pay for?

Here's what our experienced California personal injury attorneys have to say:

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What Are The Categories Of Damages In California Law?

Economic damages are only one of the different types of compensation you can get in California. Here are the three categories you might receive:

1. Economic Damages

According to California Civil Code § 1431.2, economic damages are awarded for monetary recovery. Compensation for financial losses that can be objectively verified, such as:

  • Past and future medical costs

  • Lost earnings in the past and future

  • Lost property, repair, or replacement costs

  • The economic value of household services and lost business or employment opportunities.

As economic damages are more objective than non-economic damages, it's easier to find receipts and records to prove them.

2. Non-Economic Damages

Compensation for subjective and non-monetary losses, including pain, suffering, annoyance, mental distress, loss of company and companionship, loss of consortium, and loss of pleasure of life, is referred to as non-economic damages.

3. Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are a form of punishment to discourage willful, careless, or malicious behavior. Since they are not granted to compensate for any losses, punitive damages are neither economic nor non-economic damages.

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What Is Counted In Economic Damages In California Law?

All expenses and losses incurred because of the accident and injuries can be calculated as economic damages in California law. This could include but is not limited to the following:

1. Medical Bills

Ambulance fees, hospital bills, doctor's fees, surgeries, and other expenses related to your medical recovery can be compensated. This is relatively easy to prove, as long as you keep all medical documents and receipts to be presented as proof of your expenses.

2. Rehab And Therapy

Some severe injuries will need you to go to therapists and rehab to regain mobility. All expected expenses can be considered for monetary recovery in California personal injury cases.

3. Lost Income

Aside from the medical expenses, you also might be unable to go to work or earn while recovering from your injuries. After all, recovering from injuries means you're not making any income.

Pay stubs, receipts, or other payment transactions can prove this. Your Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can help you gather the proper documents and other evidence to show your average income and the potential losses you suffered from your accident or injuries.

4. Damaged Property

A successful plaintiff might claim compensation for damaged property. For example, a defendant would need to compensate you for a destroyed car and other damaged items (i.e., laptops and other appliances) inside the vehicle. This economic compensation might also include repairs.

5. Future Or Potential Losses

You won't just be compensated for all the out-of-pocket expenses you incur right after, but also all the potential income you might have made should the accident or injury didn't happen. Remember, the aim of awarding damages is to get a plaintiff to a point where they were before their injuries.

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