Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 3 types of damages?

In a personal injury case, there are three types of damages that you may be able to recover: economic, non-economic and punitive damages.  Both economic and non-economic damages are a type of compensatory damages, which are designed to make you whole again.

Economic damages include any losses for which you can easily attach a number value.  Examples of economic damages include medical bills, property damages, lost wages and reduced earning capacity. 

Non-economic damages are losses that are hard to put a number on and are more subjective.  They may include things such as:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring
  • Loss of a limb
  • Disfigurement
  • Emotional distress
  • Grief
  • Inconvenience
  • Shock
  • Humiliation
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Inability to engage in pleasurable activities

While these damages can be challenging to prove, a seasoned California personal injury attorney can use their experience with other settlements and jury awards to set an amount for your non-economic damages.

Punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury cases.  They are designed to punish a wrongdoer and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.  Because most personal injury cases involve negligence — rather than intentional wrongdoing — they are usually not a factor in these types of claims.  An example of a situation where you may receive punitive damages in a personal injury case is an accident where the other driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and had a previous alcohol-related conviction.

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