Settlement of a personal injury claim in the State of California usually includes both economic damages, such as lost income, and non-economic damages, including suffering from trauma, distress, grief, fright or depression. Some plaintiffs are also awarded compensation for mental anguish.
Some states, including California, cap or limit compensation relating to non-economic damages. California’s Medical Injury Compensation Act of 1975 (MICRO) limits the patient’s non-economy recovery to $250,000.
Emotional Distress and Non-Economic Damages
When the plaintiff files a personal injury lawsuit, the damages sought may include suffering and emotional distress resulting from the personal injury incident. For instance, the attorney for the plaintiff may charge pain and suffering, loss of consortium, disability, mental anguish, disfigurement or humiliation in the complaint.
Since it is challenging to put a dollar amount on the quality of life damages like these, juries sometimes “over-award” them. The non-economic damages may be larger than the money the plaintiff lost.
There is no common standard used to pay the plaintiff for years of suffering after a tragedy. For that reason, non-economic damages vary according to the case. Sometimes called “subjective damages,” the amount is likely to differ according to the victim’s personal experience of the event.
Plaintiff’s Burden of Proof
When the plaintiff claims subjective damages, he or she must demonstrate that ongoing suffering has resulted from another’s negligence or wrongful acts. If he or she convinces the jury of these injuries, damages are awarded.
Damages Cannot Fully Compensate the Victim
Compensation limits or caps are supposed to add a layer of protection to doctors and medical facilities from excessive non-economic damages. Many lawyers argue against these limits because suffering people are penalized for negligence they did not commit. The suffering endured is not the result of choices these individuals made.
Since lifelong medical care may be needed for injured people, compensation awards must be used to pay for the basics of life as long as the individual lives. In these cases, the suffering person is unable to regain the equilibrium of a previous life. The ability to work, accumulate assets, make or maintain relationships, or live an ordinary life may be lost. There is no amount of compensation can bring back what the victim suffered.
Personal Injury Attorney
You must stand up for your rights. If you are agonizing in the aftermath of a personal injury, you may be able to recover both economic and non-economic compensation. Stand up for your rights. Call our experienced injury attorneys at Chris and Frank.