When it comes to damages in personal injury cases, there are two types. First, there are “economic” damages which are damages that can be proven with bills, receipts, invoices, etc. They are easily measurable (that’s not to say the insurance company won’t give you are hard time about those numbers). However, there are also “non-economic” damages also known as “pain and suffering” damages. They are sometimes also called “general” damages. These are more difficult to ascertain because of their inherently subjective nature.
General damages can be affected by many variables. Sympathy can play a factor. For example, a grandmother who can no longer play with her grandchildren might be entitled to more general damages than someone who doesn’t have the same situation. Another example where circumstances affect “general” damages was when a client of mine was unable to attend his father’s funeral because of a car accident. These are the kinds of things that are difficult to quantify but should be compensated. Another client of mine has a residual eye injury that may never resolve. He’s been told he’s a surgical candidate but there is no guarantee surgery will solve his vision problems.
When it comes to residual injuries, they can enhance the value of an injury case because someone has to live with a problem for their foreseeable future. Contrast that with someone who received soft tissue injuries from an auto accident and has fully healed. Juries are more prone to award “non-economic” damages where there is a genuine sympathy factor and/or a significant injury that won’t resolve itself or at the very least may affect the individual for years to come.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic and surrounding communities.