How To Calculate Damages For A California Personal Injury Claim

June 16, 2022

How To Calculate Damages For A California Personal Injury Claim Post Image

If you or someone you love was harmed in an accident, you might be entitled to a personal injury claim. After an accident, you may have to deal with medical procedures and prolonged rehabilitation periods, which can be costly. How will your income be affected? What if your injuries permanently affect your quality of life? This article will help you frame some guidelines for approaching a Los Angeles personal injury case.

What Am I Entitled To?

No one wants to think about the possibility of being involved in a personal injury lawsuit. However, if you or a loved one is ever injured due to someone else’s negligence, it’s important to know how California law works when it comes to calculating damages. Here are a few things you should know:

1. There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to calculating damages in a personal injury case. First the amount of money awarded will depend on factors such as the severity of the injuries. Next the extent of financial losses (including lost wages and medical expenses). Finally the impact of the injuries on your quality of life.

2. In general, economic damages are meant to reimburse you for financial losses related to the accident. These can include things like medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Non-economic damages are meant to compensate for more subjective losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

The Two Main Types of Damages

There are two primary types of damages in your case. Learn more about the types of damages here.

Compensatory Damages 

Compensatory damages are the most common and cover actual losses from an injury. This type of damage can include economic damages, like lost wages or medical bills, and non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.

Punitive Damages 

Punitive damages are designed to punish a wrongdoer for particularly egregious behavior and are awarded in a small percentage of personal injury cases in California.

Economic Damages of Personal Injury

Most personal injury damages are economic in nature. This means they are related to your financial losses, not your physical or emotional suffering. The most common economic damages awarded in personal injury cases are:

Medical bills

This includes past and future medical expenses related to your injuries, such as ambulance fees, hospitalization, surgery, and rehabilitation.

Lost wages

If you cannot work because of your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages. Lost wages can be calculated by looking at your past and projected future earnings.

Property Damage

When your property is damaged in an accident (such as your car), you can seek reimbursement for the cost of repairs or replacement.

Funeral and Burial Expenses

Death in fault of an injury will allow the family of the deceased to possibly recover funeral and burial expenses.

Non-Economic Damages Of A Personal Injury

Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify. These damages include things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

So how do you put a dollar amount on non-economic damages? Unfortunately, there is not an exact method. Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you get an idea of what your claim might be worth.

First, it is important to keep track of all the ways that your injury has affected your life. This includes both physical and emotional effects. Because of your accident are you missing work? Have you had to give up hobbies or activities that you once enjoyed? Is there any pain or suffering involved? All of these things should be considered when looking at non-economic damages. When you meet with a personal injury lawyer, you will discuss these in-depth. 

Personal Injury Claim Preparation 

There are several steps to calculate your actual damages. First, you will need to add up all of your medical bills, lost wages, and other economic losses. Next, you will need to determine an appropriate amount for your pain and suffering. Calculating damages can be difficult to do on your own. Because of this, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you assess the value of your claim.

One of the key elements of a successful personal injury claim is proving that the defendant’s actions caused your injuries. This is where expert testimony can come in handy. An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to find and present expert testimony that can help establish the defendant’s liability.

Another important element of a personal injury claim is proving that your injuries have resulted in a diminished capacity. This means showing that your injuries have made it difficult or impossible for you to work and earn a living. Again, experienced personal injury attorneys will know how to find and present evidence to show the court the full extent of your damages.


When you’ve been injured in an accident, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. You may be wondering how you will pay your medical bills and support yourself and your family while you’re out of work. While the good news is that if someone else’s negligence caused the accident, you might be able to recover damages by filing a personal injury claim. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate the often complex legal process.

Do I have a case?

Contact us today with the details of your case.

Contact us