Damages in Irvine Car Accident Cases

In an Irvine car accident case, there are different categories of damages. “Damages” (in the legal sense) refers to the compensation the injured victim is entitled to claim based on a number of economic and non-economic factors. To see what damages you may be eligible for call an Irvine car accident lawyer today.

Medical Expenses

The first and most obvious type of damage are the medical expenses which includes the reasonable and necessary medical expenses that the injured party had to incur, for medical treatment as a result of their injuries.

Medical expenses cover items such as taking the ambulance to the emergency room if that was necessary, as well as receiving care from emergency room physicians and specialists. In addition, medical damages can cover any visits to a family doctor or any other specialists or therapists that may be necessary based on the nature and extent of your injuries. You are entitled to recover those medical expenses incurred against the adverse negligent party that caused you to have to pay those medical expenses.

Nature and Extent of Injuries

The injured victim in a car accident is also entitled to be compensated based upon the nature and extent of the injuries that they suffered in the car accident. The adverse driver who was negligent (at fault) is responsible for these damages.

Some of the most common injuries that we see in car accident cases include:

  • Concussions
  • Orthopedic Injuries, including Fractures
  • Soft Tissue and Internal Injuries
  • Neck and Back Injuries

The nature and extent of the injuries sustained will determine what that injured party is entitled to receive by way of compensation or damages from the responsible party.

Loss of Income

If you are in a car accident and your injuries cause you to be out of work for a certain amount of time, whether you are in the hospital or need to recuperate at home, then your loss of earnings for the time period that you were out of work is compensable. By “compensable,” we mean that you can be entitled to receive the ordinary salary or income that you would have earned. If you had not been injured in the car accident and rendered unable to work for a certain time period.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering means the physical pain and mental and emotional suffering caused by an injury. If you are in a car accident and you have a medical injury, it will cause you a certain amount of physical pain. However, when it comes to damages, pain and suffering also refers to the emotional distress that an individual suffers as a result of the injury that they sustained in the accident.

This is somewhat of a grey area because you can not tabulate it on a calculator. You can not itemize pain and suffering and emotional distress on a list and present it to a judge or jury. This is not the sort of damage where there is an itemized bill.

Awarding general damages for pain and suffering and emotional distress means compensating the injured party for having having undergone the ordeal of suffering through the injuries and medical treatment and being able to engage in their ordinary activities. For example, if you sustain a serious injury, you may not be able to go to the gym and work out, ride your bicycle, pick up your kids, or play with your grandchildren.

This category of damages can be a little vague to the average person because they do not think about emotional pain and suffering as a compensation category in the ordinary sense. However, when you are in a car accident and you experience emotional pain and distress in a real and significant way, you are entitled to compensation accordingly under the law.

You should speak to an Irvine car accident lawyer to learn more about how pain and suffering are presented and awarded in a car accident case.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are a totally separate category of damages which are intended to punish or deter the type of conduct that caused the incident and injuries. In the context of a motor vehicle accident, a good example would be when the defendant (the driver who caused the accident) was either intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs and he or she is cited for drunk driving or drinking under the influence (DUI).

If someone intentionally and knowingly makes the conscious decision to drive despite being impaired by a controlled substance—realizing that they are putting other people on the road at risk—then that individual can be held responsible for punitive damages over and above the regular damages to compensate for the injuries of the victim.

However the injured victim needs to understand that punitive damages are not covered by insurance. In a drunk driving or intoxication situation, an experienced personal injury lawyer who is handling the car accident case may allege punitive damages knowing that it provides leverage with the insurance company and the drunk driver to get them to pay the appropriate amount of compensation to the plaintiff who was injured.