Learn How Damages Are Decided in a Personal Injury Lawsuit That Goes to Trial
The truth is that about 95% of personal injury cases are settled before they get to court – but that also means that 5% of them do go to trial. Keep reading to discover how a judge and / or jury will decide how much compensation you should receive for your damages. If you have additional questions, or you need the advice of a personal injury attorney, contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 for a free legal consultation.
Evidence Will Be Reviewed
The first thing that will be done is that the judge or jury will review the evidence presented during the case. They will look at medical records, expenses, time missed from work, lost income, and other factors. They will go through all of this and add up all expenses. This only applies to the economic damages that can be calculated and not the noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering.
They Will Consider the Attorneys’ Suggestions
Studies have shown that a jury may be influenced by the amount the plaintiff is suing for and will award more the higher the award is. This is notable because the jurors use the amount of compensation the plaintiff as seeing as a starting point while deliberating. Instead of starting out saying, “How much does this person deserve?” they will instead begin by asking, “Do they deserve more or less than the $1.4 million they are seeking?”
They May Consider Precedent
In certain types of personal injury cases, the judge may allow your personal injury attorney to bring up the results of other similar cases so that the jury will have an idea of how much the case may be worth. Always remember that the jury does not have a legal background and this information can be very helpful for them.
Percentage of Fault
In California, comparative negligence applies to personal injury cases. It holds that each party is responsible for damages equal to their percentage of fault in an accident. Therefore, you could be 95% at fault for your own injury, but if someone else is 5% at fault then they may be instructed to pay 5% of your costs associated with the injury.
It is up to the jury to determine what percentage of fault each party has. They will look at the evidence, consider the arguments of all attorneys involved, and assign percentages of fault. They will then take the total damages they have decided on and award the plaintiff damages equal to the percentage of the at-fault party’s fault.
For example, if the jury decides that economic and noneconomic damages were $100,00 and that the at-fault party was 59% at fault, then the plaintiff would receive $59,000. When you work with a personal injury attorney, they can go over the specifics and help you better understand how your particular case may be affected.