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What Are General Damages In A California Lawsuit?

Following a major accident, injured victims need monetary compensation to pay their bills and support their families. In California, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to seek financial relief for the full extent of your losses. Personal injury damages fit into two primary categories:

  • Special damages are economic losses, such as medical bills and lost wages.
  • General damages are non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

General damages (non-economic damages) are an important part of any personal injury claim. It is imperative that these losses are fully and fairly accounted for. Below, our Bay Area personal injury lawyers provide a more detailed overview of the key things to know about general damages in California.

What is Covered By General Damages?

Broadly defined, the term is used to refer to the non-economic losses that a person endured during and after an accident. Among other things, an injured victim may seek general damage compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Permanent scarring/disfigurement
  • Permanent disability/impairment
  • Loss of quality of life

Ultimately, the compensation available to a claimant/plaintiff in any specific case will depend on the nature and severity of the accident. If you have questions about your right to recover general damages, an experienced San Francisco personal injury attorney can help.

How are General Damages Calculated Under California Law?

With special damages (economic damages), there is a specific monetary loss that a plaintiff can use to justify their claim. As an example, a car accident victim will provide their medical bills. Those bills serve as a basis for determining the costs associated with getting care and treatment. In contrast, general damages require human judgment to calculate.

By definition, there is no specific bill that you can use as a baseline. In calculating non-economic damages (general damages), the Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions explains that individual jury members should use “judgment to decide a reasonable amount based on the evidence and your common sense.”

The Challenge: Defendants/Insurers Look for an Excuse

Recovering full financial compensation for economic damages is hard enough. Even when you have copies of medical bills and wage loss statements, defendants and their insurers will fight hard to pay out as little as they can get away with in a settlement. With general damages, getting fair financial support is even more challenging. To get financial compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, and other general damages, which are often the more important human losses associated with a loss, it is crucial that you present a compelling, well-supported legal case. You need a top-rated California personal injury lawyer on your side.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Bay Area Personal Injury Attorney

At Bracamontes & Vlasak, our San Francisco personal injury lawyers fight aggressively to help people and families get justice and full financial compensation. If you have any questions about a potential personal injury lawsuit we can help. Contact us right away for a free initial consultation. We represent injured victims throughout the Bay Area, including in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Berkeley, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale.

general damages in california lawsuit