Legal Question in Civil Litigation in California

damage assessment in unlimited civil suit,

Anyone have any hints or examples of determining the amount of damages we have incurred. I have actual receipts and estimates, but how do I calculate the 'invisible', 'over a time period' injuries and then reiterate those as damages sought? Is there a formula used or can I just round up!? :) thanks

Asked on 1/11/07, 7:03 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Phillip Cooke Law offices of Phillip A. cooke

Re: damage assessment in unlimited civil suit,

Your question lacks specific information to be able to relate information that may be particularly helpful to you.

However, what if you were asked to serve as a juror to determine "general damages" in an injury case? What would you want to know to help reach a fair verdict for general damages?

What was the person's life like before the injury? How did the injury affect their life? Were there things they used to be able to do that they could not do for a period of time? How long? What did they do to try to improve their condition? Will they continue to suffer consequences as a result of the injury? What? How significant is the change in their life? Does such change deserve compensation?

Fortunately there is not a formula. Jurors do their best on a daily basis after listening to the evidence to try to award what is just based upon the truth. A jury is the best known system in the world.

Even though insurance companies and corporate america are trying to do away with the jury system and do what they can to try to persuade jurors to award little money, many juries are seeing through the intention to influence them and they do a wonderful job of trying to determine a just award after they have heard all of the facts in a given case.

To give a few examples of what jurors consider: If a person lost an eye and the medical bills were only $20,000.00, should the damages be only a multiple of the medical expense? Wouldn't it be better to determine whether the person had to change occupations or know whether he or she had limited use of the other eye? Would it matter how they changed their life?

Suppose a machine pulled a man's leg off at the knee and he had to struggle to keep from being drawn into the machine where he would have been killed? Would it matter how that affected his life, his chosen work and even his emotional outlook?

While it may seem of less consequence to have a back injury or a neck injury, such injuries can profoundly affect a person.

Usually people that are unrepresented under value their losses and insurance companies ask for a settlement demand from the unrepresented and then negotiate down from there. I have yet to see an insurance company offer more than was demanded and that has included work over 40 years.

Please keep in mind that only the truth is acceptible and only just claims should be paid. A person who presents a false claim will get into a lot of trouble, and commit a crime.

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Answered on 1/17/07, 4:41 pm

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