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What Is the Formula for Calculating Non-Economic Damages in California?

Torem & Associates

When you are injured in a personal injury accident, you suffer a variety of damages. In addition to your physical injuries, you also experience a financial loss and emotional stress. If you didn’t cause the accident, you deserve to be compensated for your damages by the person, company, or government entity who caused the accident that resulted in your injury. Because the legal system cannot undo your injuries sustained in the car accident, it can only provide a way for you to receive a monetary award from the responsible party.

How Are Damages Calculated?

Damages in a personal injury claim are divided into economic and non-economic categories. Economic damages are your “out-of-pocket” expenses related to your injuries and recovery. Examples of economic damages include:

  • Your medical expenses, including future medical expenses for ongoing medical treatments and personal care
  • Property damage
  • Your lost income while you are out of work recovering from the accident
  • Any loss of earning capacity you experience because you are unable to earn as much as you did before the accident due to your injuries
  • Travel expenses to and from doctor appointments
  • Over-the-counter medications and medical equipment and supplies

Any expense related to the accident can be claimed as an economic loss in your personal injury claim. In most cases, economic damages are easy to calculate — you add the invoices, bills, and receipts together to arrive at a figure. In some cases, an expert is needed to assist in calculating future lost income, loss of earning capacity, or future medical expenses.

Unfortunately, calculating non-economic damages is much more difficult.

Is There a Formula for Calculating Damages?

Putting a price on a person’s pain and suffering is virtually impossible. However, that is exactly what we do when we calculate non-economic damages. Non-economic damages, also referred to as “pain and suffering” damages, include your:

  • Physical pain
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Emotional stress
  • Permanent disability
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

There are no bills or invoices to add together to arrive at a figure for pain and suffering damages. Some people believe there is a formula that is used to place a value on non-economic damages but this is not true. There is no formula for calculating pain and suffering in California’s personal injury laws. Some insurance companies and attorneys will multiply the economic damages by two or three to arrive at a figure for pain and suffering damages, but this is not a standard practice.

An experienced Fresno accident attorney understands how to use the evidence in your case to maximize the amount of compensation you receive for non-economic damages. Factors we use when placing a value on this category of damages include:

  • The type and severity of your injuries as well as the length of time it takes for you to recover from your injuries;
  • Whether you have a permanent disability, scarring, or disfigurement;
  • How your injuries impacted your daily activities;
  • The impact on your relationships with family and friends; and,
  • Your medical prognosis.

The insurance company for the other party will try to minimize your suffering to lower the value of your personal injury claim. Therefore, you need a Fresno accident attorney fighting for your right to receive full compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages.

Call Now for a Free Appointment with a Fresno Accident Attorney

Call Torem & Associates at (888) 500-5000to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation and free legal consultation with one of our attorneys. You may also request additional information by contacting us using the contact form on our website.


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