If you have recently been involved in a car accident in Fresno, California, you undoubtedly have a number of questions about the legal process involved in a car accident lawsuit. Understandably, most people don’t really understand how a car accident case is litigated or how damages are determined. “Damages” is the legal term that is used to refer to the injuries that you suffered in the accident. If the other driver was negligent (at fault) in the accident then under the laws of the state of California you are entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. Contrary to popular belief, however, there is no “magic formula” used by insurance companies and attorneys to determine the value of your claim. According to Fresno accident attorneys at the firm of Ledger & Associates, there are some guidelines though that may help you understand how damages are evaluated and compensation determined.
Under California law, the victim of a car accident is entitled to be compensated for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are things that have an easily ascertained quantitative value. In other words, things for which you can easily produce a bill, estimate or other proof of its value. Your Fresno accident attorney can provide you with details about which of your damages fall into this category, but in general things like medical bills-both past and future-, lost wages from time missed at work due to the accident and damages to your vehicle are good examples of what would be considered economic damages.
Non-economic damages are damages for injuries that are more subjective in nature. These are what many people think of as “pain and suffering” damages. In reality, while pain and suffering are included in a Fresno car accident case, non-economic damages are not limited to pain and suffering. Other injuries can also be included in the non-economic portion of your damages claim such as humiliation, emotional distress, mental anguish, disfigurement and loss of companionship or consortium. These damages are significantly more difficult to value. A number of factors go into determining the value of the non-economic damages portion of your claim including the age and general health of the victim before the accident, the extent and severity of the injuries, the personal relationships affected by the accident and any permanent scars or disfigurement. Again, check with your Fresno accident attorney to determine exactly what you may be able to include in your non-economic damages claim and what the value of the claim may be.
As you should be able to see at this point, determining the value of a Fresno car accident lawsuit can be more difficult than many people think. While it may be tempting to just settle more what the insurance company if offering, you owe it to yourself to consult with a Fresno car accident attorney first to see what compensation you may actually be entitled to of the injuries you have suffered.
For a free and detailed evaluation of your Fresno car accident case, please contact Ledger & Associates at (559) 892-0121 or toll-free at 1-800-300-0001. The Fresno office is located at 516 W Shaw Avenue, Fresno, or you may visit the firm’s website at www.ledgerlaw.com.