How much is your pain and suffering worth?

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

Should you suffer injuries in a California car crash, you may wish to sue the person whose negligence caused the accident. If you do, you should know that you can recover two types of damages: economic and noneconomic. Your economic damages are those on which you can place a precise dollar amount, such as your medical bills. Your noneconomic damages, on the other hand, are those on which you cannot place a precise dollar amount, such as your pain and suffering.

As FindLaw explains, pain and suffering damages include not only the physical pain and suffering you felt after your accident, but also the following nonphysical things:

  • Your mental suffering
  • Your emotional distress
  • Your loss of the society and companionship with your family members
  • Your loss of consortium with your spouse

Damage amount limits

California has several laws pertaining to personal injury lawsuits. For instance, while our state has no cap on the amount of damages you can recover in a car accident case, we are also a “pure comparative fault” state. What this means is that whatever damage award the jury gives you will be reduced by the percentage of your own fault in contributing to the accident. In other words, if the jury awards you $100,000 in damages, but finds that your own actions caused 50 percent of the accident, the court will reduce the damages you recover to $50,000.

You should also know that you can recover no pain and suffering damages at all in the following three situations:

  1. You receive a DUI conviction in connection with the accident
  2. The car you drove was uninsured or underinsured
  3. You owned the car you drove and it was uninsured or underinsured

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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