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What Is My Claim Worth?

By Aline Miranda on February 9, 2013

“Damages” is the legal term for the measure of your injury caused by the negligence of a third person. When talking about an injury caused by a motor vehicle accident or other types of accident, there are 3 types of damages you may be entitled to.

Special damages are objective and easy to prove by bills or receipts. For example, the amount of your medical bills or how much money you lost because you could not work because of an injury.

General damages are what people sometimes call “pain and suffering”. These are subjective and are more difficult to prove because there is no bill or receipt to prove how much you have suffered because of your injury. To prove your pain and suffering, or general damages, consider having your spouse or a family member testify about how much pain medication you needed, or how hard you had to work in rehabilitation to recover from your injury.

Punitive damages are an altogether different type of damages. The point of punitive damages is not to compensate you for your injury, but to deter future bad behavior by the person who caused your injury. Punitive damages are not available in all cases, but only where egregious or reprehensible conduct caused your injury. For example, a drunk driver or someone who knew what they were doing could cause injury, but disregards the possibility. Punitive damages are based on the financial ability of the person who caused your injury, which means that a rich defendant should pay more than a poor defendant.

Drivers without auto insurance are limited in the kind of damages they can recover as a result of Proposition 213. Still, even drivers without auto insurance can recover special damages if they are hurt in an auto accident. Generally, Prop. 213 does not apply to passengers. If you were a passenger injured in a motor vehicle accident and the driver of your vehicle did not have auto insurance, you may still be entitled to full compensation.

Feel free to call my office anytime for a free consultation to discuss your rights as a passenger in an uninsured vehicle or if you have any questions about your right to be compensated for an injury sustained in a motor vehicle accident.