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How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated?


California is one state that provides damages for pain and suffering in a personal injury lawsuit. However, there are certain restrictions, damage caps, and other considerations to understand beforehand.

First, you should understand that there are two categories of damages that can be awarded: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are those that can be calculated based on costs you acquired because of your injuries. Non-economic damages do not have a set cost associated with them and include pain and suffering. Today, we will go over how to calculate pain and suffering damages in a personal injury lawsuit in California.

How Does California Calculate Pain and Suffering?

California does not have a set formula for calculating pain and suffering. There are certain factors that the court will take into consideration before awarding pain and suffering damages which include the following:

  • Amount of the plaintiff’s economic losses
  • Severity of the physical injuries
  • Intent or recklessness of the defendant’s actions
  • Strength and quality of the evidence

To recover damages for pain and suffering, the plaintiff must show that they suffered or will suffer in the future because of the accident.

You may be more likely to be awarded non-economic damages if you were physically injured, suffered permanent disfiguration, were hit with high medical bills, or took a long time to recover from your injury or injuries.

Building Your Case for Pain and Suffering Damages

Consult with an experienced Sacramento personal injury attorney before to make sure that you have the proper records you need to build your personal injury lawsuit. It is important to note that although documented mental health symptoms are not required by California law to receive pain and suffering damages, you are more likely to receive a damage award if you have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, or some other mental illness.

When it comes to evidence, make sure you have the following information lined up to build your case:

  • Medical records (including lab work and X-rays)
  • Doctors’ notes
  • Therapists’ notes
  • Photographs of your injuries
  • Testimonies from family and friends explaining how the accident changed your life
  • Expert testimony to prove lost earning capacity

Were you injured in an accident and seeking damages for pain and suffering? Contact our office online or call us at (916) 778-3228 to consult with a lawyer from our firm.

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