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What Are General Damages In A Personal Injury Lawsuit?

What Are General Damages In A Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Ray Hrdlicka – Presenter – Attorneys.Media

“You mentioned that there were a couple of different types of specific damages involved in the case. He also mentioned the term “general damages”.

Andrew Dósa – Personal Injury Lawyer – Alameda County, CA

“General damages are the tangible human side of an injury. What have you suffered in terms of pain? I guess I could ask this question. If you could go back to the most significant pain you have ever experienced, and you were to experience that (pain) for 30 days straight. And all of that was the result of someone hurting you through their negligence. What would be the value of the pain and suffering you endured?

Would you just look at the amount of medical care you received in 30 days, or would you just say, ‘If someone gave me $2,000, I’d be willing to live with that amount of pain for another day ‘. If someone was willing to pay me $2,000 for 30 days, I would experience the worst pain of my life, so you can find out what that pain would be worth. There is no easy way to determine what that pain is…”

Ray Hrdlicka – Presenter – Attorneys.Media

“There is no easy answer.”

Andrew Dósa – Personal Injury Lawyer – Alameda County, CA

“There is no easy answer.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Presenter – Attorneys.Media

“Looks like the general damages are going to be the toughest argument with the insurance company.”

Andrew Dósa – Personal Injury Lawyer – Alameda County, CA

“Right. It’s also the biggest component, the biggest component of damage compared to special damage, overall. And that’s what makes the case attractive to a lawyer, if the pain and suffering is significant. Let me back up and say… pain and suffering doesn’t always include true pain and suffering. You can also include the consequence for your life.

For example, I had a client who had a scar on his face, on his cheek. And it wasn’t that significant that she wanted to go out in public with just a bag over her head, but she wasn’t a professional model either. An attractive woman, she didn’t really care too much about her appearance. She had the right kind of perspective. But she had a scar for the rest of her life. So while I was not misrepresenting what the client was doing, by living with this scar, which was a change in her appearance, though again not significant to her, I indicated that it was going to be permanent.

So, I identified the future doctor. How much will it cost to correct that scar if the client wanted to? And so that would also raise the question; there is the pain of going through the surgery, there is the pain of the discomfort and disruption of your life. How do you value that pain? Well, that scar was worth something much more important than just a sore shoulder, a headache, or a sore neck. Although those are also significant.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Presenter – Attorneys.Media

“Especially if they are chronic?”

Andrew Dósa – Personal Injury Lawyer – Alameda County, CA

“Especially if they become chronic. So the other challenge is… what if someone has a neck injury? Like there’s only one person who’s ever had a neck injury and that’s the person who just got hit by a car. We have all been hurt, we have all hurt. Think about it. If you’ve ever had a fracture, I broke my thumb in high school. My thumb was literally chipped off, and after three months in a cast my thumb was a bit sore. And I can feel it now, more than 40 years later. But it’s not really affecting me. I mean I’m going to get arthritis here and I probably have a little already, but it hasn’t bothered me much. But I hurt my back 25 years ago, and if I’m not careful, and if I’m under a lot of stress, or if I work hard, or if I exercise, I can feel my back come back and bother me.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Presenter – Attorneys.Media

“So that’s where it comes in…how is this affecting my life? What is that worth? How much is that impact worth? Depending on the accident and the cause of the discomfort or pain.”


Accidents happen. But when they do, it’s important to have a good attorney on your side who can help you get the compensation that you deserve. Personal injury law is one of those areas where there are so many variables involved – from medical bills and lost wages to emotional distress and pain and suffering. It’s difficult for an individual to determine how much money he or she should be seeking in damages without legal representation by an experienced personal injury attorney.

Personal injury law allows an injured person in California to file a civil lawsuit in court and seek compensation for losses due to an injury after an accident. This law aims to provide compensation for the injured person after the stress and harm they have suffered because of another person’s negligent or intentional conduct.

What are the common kinds of personal injury cases?

Car Accidents

Car accidents are the most common personal injury cases in the U.S. When a car accident usually happens, it is because someone didn’t follow the traffic rules. A reckless driver can be held liable for the injuries caused by the accident.

However, California follows shared fault laws or the “pure comparative negligence” rule. In basic terms, this means that the compensation an injured person will receive will depend on their shared fault in the accident.

For example, you were in a car accident where another driver beat the red light and hit your car. However, you were also driving a few miles above the speed limit, so you might share a small percentage of the blame for the accident, say 15%. Under California’s pure comparative negligence rule, your total compensation is reduced by 15%, representing the total percent of your fault in the accident. So from $10,000, you will only receive $8,500 after deducting the 15%.

Slip and Fall

A slip and fall case is another common type of personal injury case. Landlords, or sometimes even tenants, have the legal responsibility of keeping their property safe and hazard-free to avoid any individuals from being injured. Of course, not all injuries or accidents inside the property premises are against the property owner.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is a special type of personal injury case. These types of claims are brought against nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals or even hospitals when their treatment falls below medical standards, leading to a patient’s injury or death. However, it is essential to remember that not all bad treatment outcomes mean that your health care provider has committed medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice lawsuits are extremely complicated, so you need legal experts on your side.

Defamation

Defamation is a false statement about you that someone gives. It can appear as fact, and it aims to harm your professional or personal reputation. Libel and slander fall under defamation law. Libel is defamation in writing, and slander is verbal defamation. When charging for slander or libel, you just usually have to prove that someone made a false statement against you and that it caused harm or financial loss.

Dog Bites

In many states, dog owners are protected from injury liability if their dog injures someone for the first time or if they have reason to believe that the dog isn’t dangerous. In California, California Civil Code section 3342 makes the dog owner strictly liable, which means that the dog’s owner is legally responsible for injuries caused by their dog to someone. The statute reads:

“The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”

Battery, Assault, and Intentional Torts

Compared to other types of personal injury lawsuits, intentional torts aren’t accidents caused by carelessness but rather when someone intentionally harms someone. Cases like these can usually involve criminal charges against the perpetrator. For instance, when someone physically attacks another person, they face criminal charges. The victim can also file a personal injury lawsuit in court and demand compensation for injuries caused by the attack. If you have experienced physical harm caused by someone, don’t hesitate to press charges.

Andrew Alexander Dósa is a trial attorney with more than 36 years of experience in civil/business litigation, criminal defense, personal injury claims, and estate planning. Mr. Dósa received his law degree from the University of San Francisco and his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. He is admitted to practice in all California Courts and the U. S. Northern and Eastern District Courts in California, and he is a member of the California State Bar, Alameda County Bar Association, and Christian Legal Society.

As an Alameda CA trial attorney, Andrew has a record of over 15 jury trials, 60 court trials, more than 60 arbitrations and mediation sessions, and handling of all aspects of litigation involving criminal, real estate, business, tort, and trust/probate law. Significant legal research, analysis, and writing. Extensive experience appearing before state and federal courts, administrative boards, and agencies.

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