The short answer is no. Pain and suffering and medical bills fall under two different types of damages. But this doesn’t mean you can’t be compensated for both. If you hire a car accident lawyer , they will almost always immediately discuss “damages .” Damages are the loss or injury caused by the negligence of another person to another person’s body or property.
The following is a brief explanation of the three types of damages in California. This will give you a better idea of how a car accident attorney will look at your claim.
What are the types of car accident damages in California?
Special (or Economic) Damages. These are the losses a victim has incurred directly from an accident. Think of these as “hard” or “tangible” costs. Special damages include past and future medical expenses or treatments, surgeries, medications, travel costs to and from doctor’s appointments, and past and future wage loss.
Special damages are typically easier to calculate because they’re a hard cost. For example, if you were in an accident and you had a $100,000 surgery, $10,000 hospital bill, $5,000 in physical therapy, and $10,000 in lost wages from missed work due to the accident, your special damages would be $125,000.
Depending on the extent of the injury, this may or may not require future care or future lost wages. But this is where those numbers would be included. If a lawsuit has to be filed, then expert witnesses will probably need to be hired to calculate future amounts.
General (or Noneconomic Damages). These damages come from the actual pain and trauma of a car accident. Pain and suffering is the most common form of a general damage. However, it also includes physical and emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and lost companionship, among others.
General damages are not as easy to calculate as special damages. This is because every person and accident is different. The time and duration of pain; how it’s affected the victim’s daily life; stress and worry over the injury; and the facts and circumstances that caused the injuries all go into figuring out the final amount.
Punitive Damages. These are meant to punish or deter a defendant from acting in the same way in the future. They aren’t seen as “compensation” for the victim’s losses. In most car accidents, punitive damages aren’t available unless there is gross negligence, intent to harm, or drunk driving. To receive punitive damages, a plaintiff must show the defendant acted in malice, oppression, or fraud.
So while pain and suffering and medical bills are both damages in a car accident claim, they fall into different categories. This is why it’s important to find the best San Diego car accident lawyer for your case. They will know how to look for the right things to begin calculating your damages. We are happy to look through your medical bills and records, paystubs, and property damage estimates to help you determine your options free of charge.
My name is Daniel Hanecak and I am a San Diego Car Accident Lawyer. I know from personal experience how stressful and time consuming a car accident can be. When you call Hanecak Law Inc., you will speak with me directly. It is my aim to provide you with free and friendly advice. Call me today at (858) 206-4326 for a free case evaluation.
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