Can you collect pain-and-suffering damages in California?
If you are involved in an auto accident, your injuries may change your life immediately. Even if you are able to recover in the future, you may not be able to work or do your normal daily activities right now.
You should know that you may be able to collect damages from the driver who is at fault for the collision. On top of the economic damages, such as your lost wages or medical bills, you may be able to make a claim for noneconomic damages called pain-and-suffering damages.
Pain-and-suffering damages are a type of noneconomic damages that you may be able to seek out after you’re injured. These damages allow you to claim for your personal suffering as a result of a crash. For example, some of the damages you might claim for include:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Injury to reputation
- Mental suffering
- Loss of society and companionship
In California, you are able to claim noneconomic damages like pain and suffering. You have up to two years to make a claim based on the statute of limitations for personal injuries. Keep in mind that if your claim involves the government or a government agency, the statute of limitations may be lowered to just six months. If you were not insured at the time of the crash, you may also be limited and unable to seek noneconomic damages.
Interestingly, California does not have a cap on noneconomic damages for personal injury or car accident cases. However, if you are found to be partially liable for the accident, then your award may be reduced based on the percentage that you’re found to be at fault. For example, if you’re 20% at fault and are awarded $100,000 in noneconomic damages, you may only receive $80,000 of the award.
Should you seek noneconomic damages for pain and suffering?
Noneconomic damages can be helpful as you learn to live with a new injury or disability. They are there to help improve your quality of life and are something that you should seek out if you have been emotionally harmed by the incident.