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December 10, 2019

What Are Non-Economic Damages in California?

When filing a personal injury claim against someone who caused an accident that injured you, you will need to seek compensation for non-economic damages as well as your financial losses. While financial expenses will likely make up the bulk of your damages, you can also recover money to compensate how your quality of life has been negatively affected.

However, many people aren’t clear on exactly what non-economic damages are, which allows insurance companies to get away with undercompensating injury victims.

Non-Economic Damages Are Not Tied to Direct Losses

Financial losses are tied to damages that have an obvious monetary value. For example, medical bills are a direct and specific cost. Lost wages can easily be calculated by reviewing paystubs and W-2s. Even transportation and caregiver expenses can easily be calculated.

What can’t be calculated quite so easily are the intangible costs associated with being injured in an accident, along with the emotional damage caused by one. This is where non-economic damages come in.

Examples of Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages represent the damage done to your quality of life. They are generally intangible and don’t have an obvious financial value. Regardless, you can still be compensated for them.

These are some of the most common non-economic damages:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Disfigurement
  • Lost companionship
  • Lost sexual function
  • Lost enjoyment of life

When Are Punitive Damages Awarded?

In California, a jury may award punitive damages as a way to punish the wrongdoer for the harm they have caused and discourage others from doing the same. To do so, the evidence needs to prove that the negligent party was purposeful in their actions, acted with a willful disregard for the safety of others, demonstrated malice, or had an intent to cause harm.

Any conduct that caused harm and would be viewed as despicable by the general public could also lead to punitive damages.

Speak with an Attorney

To discuss your legal options and how much money you are likely to receive, schedule an appointment with an attorney at Dickson Kohan & Bablove, LLP. You can do so by calling 1-844-404-2400 or by completing the form below.