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Compensatory Damages

The legal term “damages” is related to injury-related costs in a personal injury case. Harm can be very hard to determine, whether it’s monetarily, physically, or mentally. Under personal injury law, in California if two private parties are unable to settle a legal dispute, the courts can determine the amount of monetary compensation the defendant owes the plaintiff for his or her injury.

If a private settlement is not reached between two parties, damage awards are agreed upon after negotiation in court. Either a jury or a judge dictates the amount of damages distributed and who it is given to. Damages are not always restricted to economic losses. Some damages deal with psychological and non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.

Any person who has been injured and wants to recover damages should contact an experienced personal injury attorney.

Los Angeles Lawyers Discuss Compensatory Damages

It’s important to estimate your damages early on with your injury. This especially applies if your injuries are minor. Some of your damages may not be solely economic losses, but can incorporate emotional suffering. If you want to file a claim for your damages caused by injury, it is in your best interest to contact Yarian & Associates, APC.

Yarian & Associates, APC has a team of practiced attorneys who are experienced in litigation and negotiation. Our attorneys are knowledgeable in California civil court law. We have been able to acquire settlements of millions of dollars in prior personal injury cases. With over 20 years of experience the attorneys at Yarian & Associates, APC practice throughout the greater Los Angeles County and Tulare County area including other communities such as Visalia, Los Angeles, Irvine, Riverside, Glendale, Pasadena, Fresno, and San Bernardino.

Call (844) 291-1911 to calculate your damages with a skilled Los Angeles personal injury attorney today.

Overview of Compensatory Damages in California


Types of Compensatory Damages in Personal Injury

Most personal injury cases are intended to compensate the injured plaintiff. The damages are translated into a monetary award whose intent is to make the injured plaintiff “whole.” It can be very difficult to put a dollar amount on the abstract consequences of an accident.

Damages can be either economic or non-economic. An economic damage is normally easy to quantify, such as property damage or medical bills. Non-economic damages are harder to determine such as disability, pain and suffering, and loss of joy in life.

The following are some different types of compensatory damages that are common in many personal injury cases.

Economic Damages:

  • Medical Expenses – Any sort of bill from a doctor, physical therapist, therapist, pharmacy and so on is included in medical expenses. A judge or jury may grant you future and past medical expenses incorporated in your compensation as well.
  • Loss of Wages or Profits – Some injuries can take people out of work. If this is the case, the plaintiff may receive expenses to help you make up for any lost wages or profits. Additionally, if it seems that you will be out of work through the near future, you may receive compensation for upcoming wages or profits.
  • Disability Costs – An injury can leave the victim with a disability or major lifestyle changes. The plaintiff may be entitled to expenses for these lifestyle adjustments.
  • Property Loss or Repair – Any sort of negligence or defective product that caused damage to property may be considered damages. The plaintiff may be entitled to cost of repair or replacement.

Non-Economic Damages:

  • Pain and Suffering – A plaintiff may receive compensation for any kind of serious pain and discomfort as a result of the injury. It can include future pain and suffering as well.
  • Emotional Distress – In severe injury cases, emotional distress damages are meant to compensate the plaintiff for the psychological impact of the injury. This includes fear, sleep loss, anxiety, or development of mental disorders. It can be incorporated in a “pain and suffering” damages.
  • Loss of Enjoyment –Some injuries that are obstacles to enjoying day-to-day activities such as exercise, hobbies, social outings, and more. A plaintiff may be entitled to compensation to make up for the plaintiff’s loss of enjoyment in life.
  • Loss of Consortium – Damages dealing with “loss of consortium” are for the impact the plaintiff’s injuries had with their spousal relationship. Injuries can result in a loss of companionship or create a dysfunctional sexual relationship. “Loss of consortium” may also incorporate an injury degrading a relationship between child and parent.

Punitive Damages

In some cases, the defendant’s conduct is considered outrageously negligent or reckless. During these cases the plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages in conjunction with their original award.

Punitive damages are not an attempt to “make the plaintiff whole.” Instead, punitive damages are to punish the defendant for their conduct that caused the injury. It is considered a deterrent as the case is civil and may not have criminal penalties. Many states have a cap on punitive damages in personal injury cases. However, in California, there is no cap.


What if I am Partially At Fault?

Not every personal injury case is simple. In some cases, an injured person’s role may be a key part in their own injury. If the plaintiff is proven to be partially at fault for their injury, it can diminish the amount of damages available to them. This does not mean they are not entitled to any compensation.

  • Comparative Negligence – If the plaintiff is at fault or partially at fault, it can affect your damage awards. The plaintiff’s damage settlement may reflect the degree of fault that they contributed to the accident.
  • Failure to Mitigate Damages – In cases where the plaintiff does not seek necessary medical treatment to help their recovery, their damage award may be reduced. This is why it is important to seek treatment immediately after an accident-related injury.

Additional Resources

Statement of Damages – Visit the website of California Courts: The Judicial Branch of California. Download or virtually fill out a statement of damages with your attorney for your case. Determine what kind of damages you have listed on the form, and take steps in your personal injury case.

An Analysis of Punitive Damages in California Courts – Read a paper on the website of the Civil Justice Association of California. See the thoughts and research conducted by J. Clark Kelso and Kari C. Kelso regarding punitive damages granted in California courts in the last ten years. View  their analysis, trends, and past verdicts of punitive damages in courts.


Find a Los Angeles Attorney for Compensatory Damages, CA

Are you unsure on how to calculate your damages? Do you want to file a claim against another person for an injury you sustained? If so, it is imperative that you seek legal representation from an experienced personal injury attorney.

The attorneys at Yarian & Associates, APC are dedicated to their practice in personal injury law. We understand the complexities of damages and the correct way to calculate them. Yarian & Associates, APC has a collective twenty years of experience in litigating personal injury cases. Do not wait another moment for a peace of mind. Call Yarian & Associates, APC, we accept clients throughout the greater California Central District Court area and other adjoining communities including Los Angeles, Long Beach, Visalia, Glendale, Irvine, and Pasadena.

Dial (844) 291-1911 or schedule an online appointment for an attorney to assess your damages today.


This article was last updated on June 28th, 2018.


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