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In handling personal injury, medical negligence and Workers’ Compensation cases, the attorneys at the Heiting & Irwin typically deal with both economic and non-economic damages. There is a significant distinction between economic and non-economic damages, as the latter are essentially “invisible” and subject to the interpretation of an adjuster, judge, or jury.  The determination of the non-economic damages can be based upon that person’s sensitivity, or the lack thereof, as well as the persuasiveness of counsel on behalf of the injured party.

Economic damages available in personal injury and medical negligence matters generally  involve both past and future medical expenses; past and future loss of earnings; loss of earning capacity; damage to property; the loss of the ability to provide household services (as well as loss of consortium); and loss of profits in certain situations. These economic damages are relatively objective, and are proven by testimony of lay witnesses and/or the use of expert witnesses.

The more difficult concept in handling personal injury cases is the “invisible injury” and the damages related thereto.  An invisible injury is an injury that simply cannot be seen.  These are damages of a non-economic nature, generally described in California Jury Instructions as “past and future physical pain/mental suffering/loss of enjoyment of life/disfigurement/physical impairment/inconvenience/grief/anxiety/humiliation/emotional distress. . .”  With the exception of disfigurement as described in the California Jury Instructions, none of these types of injuries would be visible to the trier of fact.

Both visible and invisible injuries are compensable to the injured parties.  As to the pain and suffering type of damages, there is no fixed standard in determining the amount of those non-economic damages, whether the determination be made by an insurance adjuster, judge, or jury.  The award should take into consideration a reasonable amount of damages based upon evidence and common sense.  The general rule of damages in personal injury and medical negligence cases is that the injured party may in fact recover all damages caused, whether they would have been anticipated or not.  This includes pain, mental suffering, grief and anxiety, as previously described herein. Although these types of damages are not “visible” to the trier of fact, they are real and compensable. It is up to a skilled attorney to present these types of damages in a manner that would facilitate the most compensation.

The attorneys at Heiting & Irwin have extensive experience in handling all types of personal injury, medical negligence and Workers’ Compensation claims and are highly skilled in presenting elements of damages, in particular, these “invisible damages,” such as the pain and suffering.

If you have sustained any type of personal injury, whether it be at the hands of a third party, or through your employment, the attorneys at Heiting & Irwin are experienced in handling these cases, and presenting all elements of damages to be recovered.

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