Personal Injury Attorney Serving Santa Barbara, CA
If you have been injured by someone else, you deserve to be compensated for your medical expenses and related losses, and for your pain and suffering. The objective of personal injury law is to make you financially whole after an injury caused by another. It is important to understand that a personal injury lawsuit is not a means of becoming rich.
A Santa Barbara personal injury lawyer at Andrade Law Offices can explain more to you about recovering compensation in your specific claim, but we have included some helpful insight here to help you better understand this important matter.
It is not wrong to wonder or ask what your personal injury case could be worth, but there are some factors to take into consideration:
- Each case is different and the outcome of your case cannot be guaranteed.
- Any attorney who tells you how much money they can obtain for you is not leveling with you.
- Some cases cannot go forward because they are unlikely to obtain enough money to cover the costs of pursuing them.
- The amount of compensation available in most cases is limited to the amount of insurance coverage the defendant has.
- At Andrade Law Offices, if we take your case, it will be with the intention of maximizing the amount of damages obtained for you.
Interested in learning more? Call (805) 962.4944 for a free consultation and review of your potential claim.
Calculating Damages for a Personal Injury Complaint
There are typically five components to what a plaintiff will demand for compensation in a personal injury lawsuit in California. They fall into two categories: economic, or objectively verifiable monetary losses; and noneconomic, or non-monetary losses.
Economic damages may be recovered for:
- Medical Expenses: This demand should reflect a comprehensive calculation of actual medical costs since your accident and a projection of future medical expenses. Future costs would include anticipated or ongoing treatment of your injury, any vocational, occupational, physical, or psychological therapy, and costs to obtain, maintain, and replace items like wheelchairs, hospital beds, and ventilators.
- Lost Income: You can seek reimbursement for lost earnings while in recovery, projections for loss of business or employment opportunities due to temporary or permanent disability that adversely affects you earning ability, and losses from not being able to return to the work you were doing prior to your injury. Calculations should include the value of unrealized pay, sales commissions, bonuses, benefits, retirement fund contributions, and salary increases that you would have reasonably expected to earn had you not been injured.
- Loss of Property: This is primarily thought of as applied to motor vehicle accidents, but may be applied to any personal property damaged in an accident, such as jewelry or clothing, as well as to real property, such as a house hit by a car or burned in a fire. Compensation would include the costs of repair or replacement, as well as any costs of loss of use, such as having to rent a car while a damaged vehicle is under repair.
- Costs of Substitute Domestic Services: If you must hire someone to do work around your house while you are unable to because of your injury, you could seek repayment through your claim. These demands would include projections for continued costs if you will be unable to return to doing your prior chores.
- Burial Costs: In a wrongful death lawsuit, the deceased's estate may seek restitution for reasonable costs of a plot, headstone, burial, and funeral.
The Santa Barbara personal injury attorneys at Andrade Law Offices calculate your economic damages by analyzing bills and receipts for medical care already received, property damage repairs, and employment records. Future medical care can be projected by analyzing medical records. When ongoing care is required and there will be no return to employment, we work with actuaries and life care planning experts to prepare projections of anticipated costs and losses over the years ahead.
Noneconomic losses cannot be so succinctly calculated. In most cases a multiplier is applied to economic damages to determine a sum required to meet your noneconomic losses.
Noneconomic damages may be considered for:
- Mental suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of society and companionship with a parent or child
- Loss of sexual relations with a spouse
- Injury to reputation and humiliation
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The multiplier used to determine a demand for noneconomic losses may be higher or lower based on certain factors in your accident and injuries. For instance, a disabled accident victim with young children might command higher damages for emotional distress, mental suffering, loss of society, and companionship, because of their diminished role in their children's lives. A severe burn injury, which is acknowledged to be extremely painful, would raise the pain and suffering quotient, especially if it was over a widespread area, caused disfigurement, and several rounds of surgery were in the victim's future.
Demanding Personal Injury Compensation
Once we arrive at a sum of economic and noneconomic damages to pursue, we would file the formal lawsuit and present a demand letter to the defendant's insurer. This communication would explain our understanding of the policyholder's liability and our justification for the various damages sought. The insurer will typically respond with a counter proposal for payment, and negotiations would proceed from there. If a settlement could not be negotiated, the case would go to court.
In anticipation of a counter offer and negotiations, we would start by demanding the total amount appropriate for your losses, pain, and suffering, even if it was beyond the defendant's insurance coverage limits. In a case that goes to court, a jury could award more than what the insurance coverage allows.
In some cases, there may be multiple defendants. In such cases, we would make the same or similar case against each defendant.
Contact Our Santa Barbara Personal Injury Lawyers
If you have been injured in a car accident, slip and fall accident, dog attack, or any other accident that was not your fault, contact Andrade Law Offices to discuss the specifics with an experienced professional. An initial consultation is free and you never pay for our services unless we obtain compensation for you. If we can pursue a personal injury claim on your behalf, we will do so with the intention of recovering every dollar of compensation available to you.