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Calculating Economic and Non-economic Damages in Your Personal Injury Case

A successful California personal injury lawsuit is not ready to be concluded unless and until the injury victim has quantified the amount of damages suffered. This includes calculating the amount of economic as well as noneconomic damages incurred as a result of the personal injury accident. Initial pleading documents may only be able to allege that the plaintiff has suffered damages above a certain minimum threshold.

Calculating Economic Damages

 Calculating economic damages is usually easier and more straightforward than calculating noneconomic (pain & suffering) damages because for economic damages there are usually bills, invoices, and other records that can be referenced when making one’s calculations. For example:

  • Medical bills: Statements, bills, and notices from insurance companies, hospitals, medical providers, pharmacies, and other similar businesses and individuals help to calculate the appropriate amount of damages for past medical bills. Future medical bills are also part of necessary consideration.
  • Lost wages (past): An injured party who missed time from work will want to reference his or her time sheets and/or earnings reports to determine not only the amount of time that he or she missed from work but what the hourly wage or salary was during that time.
  • Lost wages and loss of earning capacity (future): If the injured party must accept a lower-paying job (or cannot work at all) as a result of the accident, we will want to provide objective documentation (such as tax returns, earnings statements, or other documents) that can help establish with a reasonable degree of certainty the amount of wages the plaintiff would, or could, have earned in the future but for the injuries suffered in the accident.

When calculating economic damages, it is important to calculate and include not only economic damages already suffered but any ongoing or anticipated future economic expenses such as ongoing treatment costs that are likely to be incurred.

Calculating Noneconomic Damages

 Calculating the extent of one’s noneconomic damages (such as damages for pain and suffering) is much more subjective and difficult. One must attempt to put a monetary value on some loss that is not easily expressed in terms of dollars and cents. Here, the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney with knowledge of other similar cases involving similar noneconomic losses will be invaluable.

Contact the Riverside Law Firm of Heiting & Irwin Today

 In the aftermath of a California personal injury accident, trust the experienced and knowledgeable legal team of Heiting & Irwin to assist you in obtaining the maximum amount of compensation possible for your injuries. We will help you compile the information and evidence you need to support your claim for damages and your financial future so that you can focus on your physical recovery. Call Heiting & Irwin today for help with your personal injury case by calling (951) 682-6440 or by contacting the firm online.

Sara Morgan

Ms. Morgan obtained her Juris Doctor from Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California. She contributes to the improvement of both the local and legal communities, having provided pro- and low-bono legal services, and volunteering at legal clinics and other programs serving the community. View Attorney Sara Morgan's Attorney Bio Here.

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