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What Are Economic Damages in a California Personal Injury Case?

Damages. There’s another term that those of us in the legal community often use without a second thought. When used in a legal context, it is a term that sometimes confuses clients or prospective clients in personal injury cases. So, to clarify, “damages” is the term used in civil litigation for financial compensation sought by and awarded to an injured party.

Damages are generally classified as economic, non-economic, or punitive. In this article, experienced personal injury lawyers from the Law Office of Parag L. Amin P.C. (LawPLA) will provide some insight on the former. Specifically, we’ll provide the legal definition and some examples. We’ll also share some insight into what must be done to secure compensation for clients experiencing economic losses.

Defining economic damages in California personal injury cases

Simply put, economic damages are the financial losses incurred by an inured party who is seeking compensation for such losses through the courts. 

As such, they are demonstrable and easily calculated. Although it isn’t entirely accurate to say that economic damages have fixed values, their values do not fluctuate based on each jury’s interpretation.

Examples of economic damages in Los Angeles personal injury cases

Here are some examples:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income/wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Repair costs (for property damage)
  • Home health care (medical assistance)
  • Household services

That being stated, a few of these points warrant additional discussion. Let’s begin with medical expenses. These are easily defined as the costs stemming from past, ongoing and/or future medical treatment. Examples include the costs incurred for:

  • Emergency medical treatment (including surgery)
  • X-rays and other medical imaging
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Hospitalization
  • Durable medical supplies (such as crutches, wheelchairs, canes, walkers and so on)
  • Prescription medications

Past loss of income or wages is easily defined as the amount of money you did not receive from your employer due to your inability to work while you were injured. Future loss of income or wages is defined as the amount of money you won’t receive because your injury precludes you from returning to work for a prolonged period, or in the same capacity.

Lost earning capacity is the term for economic damages incurred when a serious or even catastrophic injury precludes you from returning to work in any capacity.

Costs incurred for housekeeping and related activities may also be classified as economic damages as long as such services were not included in the household budget before the person got hurt.

How to prove economic damages in an LA personal injury case

As we have already noted, economic damages are demonstrable – meaning they are easily proven.

To secure compensation for our clients in personal injury cases, the legal team here at LawPLA generally requires:

  • Medical records to verify the type and extent of injury
  • Copies of medical bills to verify the type and extent of treatment
  • Copies of bills to verify costs incurred for physical/occupational therapy
  • Pay stubs to verify salary/wages
  • Tax records (such as W2 forms) to verify salary/wages
  • Expert testimony to verify lost earning capacity (when applicable)
  • Bills incurred for home health care (when applicable)
  • Bills incurred for home assistance (when applicable)
  • Any other records necessary to verify economic damages claimed

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident where an accident was at fault, you may be struggling to cope with the emotional, physical and financial aftermath. But you are not alone.

LawPLA’s skilled team of personal injury attorneys can easily assess your situation to see if you have a viable case. If so, we will provide all of the information you need to make an informed decision about what’s best for you.

To get started, contact us through the form on our website, or call one of our conveniently located Los Angeles offices to schedule a free consultation, today.


PLEASE NOTE: This is not a representation, warranty, or guarantee of a future result or outcome. Every case is different just like every one of our clients.