If you’ve suffered physical injury, property damage, or any other kind of damage, as a personal injury victim in California, you may be able to seek compensation from the negligent party. In a personal injury claim, such as a car accident claim or slip and fall, what types of compensation are available? Read on for a breakdown of compensatory damages and punitive damages.
In California, compensatory damages compensate an injury victim for the losses they have suffered, and these types of damages are accessible in almost all injury cases including medical malpractice, auto accidents, slip and fall cases, and dog bites. Compensatory damages are also awarded in wrongful death cases. Compensatory damages can be broken down into two categories: general or special damages.
Special Damages: Common examples of special damages are loss of current and future earnings, current and future medical expenses, household expenses, and costs associated with cancelled trips or altered plans.
General Damages: The most common types of general damages are pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of companionship.
Punitive damages are only awarded in certain cases, where the defendant’s behavior was egregious and the judge is hoping to make an example of the defendant. Punitive damages are not tied to the losses that have been suffered by victim, but are generally seen as a punishment to the defendant.
Time Limitations for Seeking Damages
Under California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1, the time period in California for personal injury cases is two years, which means that, generally speaking, a plaintiff must file a suit against any wrongdoer within two years of the date of the accident. There are exceptions to this rule, which you will want to discuss with your personal injury attorney.
If you do not file a suit for seeking compensation your claim will be time-barred. This means that the court will not let you file your claim to seek any financial compensation from the defendant and you will be responsible for paying your medical and related bills.
Compensation in Personal Injury Cases
In a California personal injury case, with the exception being a medical malpractice claim, there is no cap on what you can recover for compensatory damages. The court can award any fair and reasonable sum in a car accident case, a slip and fall case, or in other accident cases. Discuss the limitations for financial compensation in a medical malpractice case with your injury lawyer.
Additionally, there is no cap on the amount of punitive damages in a personal injury case. As long as the jury’s punitive damage award is not grossly excessive or arbitrary, it is generally upheld by the court.
For more information on types of compensation in a California personal injury case, contact our experienced injury attorneys for a free, no obligation consultation. The trial lawyers at Dennis Law Group are available 24/7 7 days a week.