Victims who suffer harm in preventable accidents as a result of another's negligence or wrongful acts have the right to pursue financial compensation for their damages. Families who lose loved ones in fatal accidents under the same conditions also have this right. Under personal injury and wrongful death laws, victims and families have the right to recover compensation for their economic and non-economic damages:
- Economic Damages - Economic damages refer to the financial losses victims experience as a direct result of their accidents and injuries. These damages can include past and future medical expenses, lost work wages and future earnings, the loss of financial support, funeral expenses, and more.
- Non-Economic Damages - Non-economic damages refer to the emotional damages victims experience after accidents in which they are injured. These damages are difficult to equate into monetary sums, but can include: pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of emotional support, and loss of companionship or quality of life.
In addition to economic and non-economic damages, victims may also be awarded compensation for what is known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are not available in every case. They are intended to serve as additional punishment for individuals who cause harm to others as a result of their egregious negligence or wrongful acts.
Punitive damages are awarded in cases where wrongdoer's actions are considered especially offensive. For example, large pharmaceutical companies that hide or conceal information about the dangers of their products at the expense of consumers' health can be required to pay punitive damages. Depending on the circumstances, courts may also award damages to victims harmed by drunk drivers.
Of course, victims who pursue a recovery of any damages must be able to meet the legal requirements needed to establish fault and liability. Because this process can be legally complex, victims and families who work with experienced personal injury lawyers put themselves in a better position to recover the compensation they deserve.
If you would like to discuss your case with a Santa Barbara personal injury lawyer to learn more about your rights and how our firm can help, contact Santa Barbara Injury Law Group for a FREE consultation.