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How to Calculate General Damages?

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Calculating general damages in a personal injury case can be complex, but understanding this process is crucial for those seeking fair compensation. General damages, also known as non-economic damages, compensate for intangible losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Unlike special damages, which cover specific monetary losses like medical bills and lost wages, general damages are subjective and harder to quantify. This makes the role of an experienced attorney vital in ensuring that victims receive appropriate compensation. If you are looking for an attorney in Los Angeles or the greater West Covina area, the Law Firm of Oscar Ischiu, Esq. can provide expert guidance in this area.

Understanding Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering refer to the physical and emotional distress that a victim endures due to an injury. This can include chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental anguish. Calculating these damages often involves considering the severity and duration of the pain, the impact on the victim’s daily life, and the prognosis for future suffering. For example, a person who suffers from a permanent disability due to a car accident may receive higher general damages than someone who experiences temporary discomfort. The use of medical records, expert testimony, and personal diaries can help substantiate these claims. The American Bar Association provides resources that explain how pain and suffering are evaluated in personal injury cases.

Emotional Distress Damages

Emotional distress damages compensate for the psychological impact of an injury. This can encompass conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. To claim these damages, it is important to provide evidence of the emotional and psychological effects of the injury. This might include therapy records, psychiatric evaluations, and personal statements. In many cases, the testimony of a mental health professional can significantly bolster a claim for emotional distress damages. If you’re unsure how to document these aspects, the National Institute of Mental Health offers detailed guidelines on recognizing and recording emotional distress symptoms.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Loss of enjoyment of life is another category of general damages that compensates for the diminished ability to enjoy daily activities and hobbies. This type of damage is particularly relevant for individuals who can no longer participate in activities they once loved due to their injuries. For example, if an avid runner loses the ability to run due to an accident, they may be entitled to compensation for this loss. Evaluating this damage requires a thorough understanding of the victim’s lifestyle before and after the injury. The Mayo Clinic offers information on how various injuries can affect quality of life, which can be helpful in substantiating these claims.

Role of an Experienced Attorney

Calculating general damages requires a nuanced approach and a deep understanding of personal injury law. An experienced attorney can effectively present evidence, work with experts, and argue for a fair assessment of these damages. At the Law Firm of Oscar Ischiu, Esq., we specialize in helping clients navigate the complexities of personal injury claims in Los Angeles and the greater West Covina area. We understand the importance of thoroughly documenting all aspects of pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life to maximize our clients’ compensation. To learn more about how we can assist you, visit our website here.


Understanding how to calculate general damages is crucial for anyone involved in a personal injury case. These damages play a vital role in ensuring that victims receive fair compensation for their intangible losses. Whether you are dealing with pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of enjoyment of life, working with an experienced attorney can make all the difference. If you are in Los Angeles or the greater West Covina area and need expert legal assistance, contact the Law Firm of Oscar Ischiu, Esq. for a consultation. Our team is dedicated to advocating for your rights and helping you achieve the compensation you deserve.

Detailed Examples of General Damages Calculations

To further illustrate how general damages are calculated, let’s consider a few detailed examples. Imagine a pedestrian in Los Angeles who suffers a spinal cord injury after being hit by a negligent driver. This injury results in chronic pain and partial paralysis, severely impacting their quality of life. In this case, the general damages might include compensation for ongoing pain, emotional distress due to the significant lifestyle changes, and loss of enjoyment of activities such as hiking and dancing. Detailed medical evaluations, psychological assessments, and testimonies from family and friends can provide a comprehensive picture of the victim’s suffering. The Spinal Cord Injury Information Network offers valuable insights into the long-term effects of such injuries.

Case Study: Emotional Distress from a Workplace Accident

Consider another example involving a worker in West Covina who experiences a traumatic injury in a construction accident. This individual might develop PTSD, characterized by anxiety, flashbacks, and sleep disturbances. General damages for emotional distress in this case would require thorough documentation from mental health professionals, as well as personal accounts detailing the impact on daily life and relationships. This worker may need ongoing therapy and medication, which should also be factored into the compensation. Resources like The American Psychological Association provide guidelines on assessing and treating PTSD, which can be crucial in substantiating claims for emotional distress.

Calculating Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Loss of enjoyment of life is another important component of general damages. For instance, if a professional chef in Los Angeles suffers a hand injury that prevents them from cooking, the impact on their life is profound. Not only is their career affected, but their passion and daily activities are significantly altered. In such cases, detailed testimony about the victim’s previous lifestyle and the extent of the limitations caused by the injury is essential. The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research offers research and resources on living with disabilities, which can be instrumental in building a strong case for loss of enjoyment of life.

The Multiplier Method

One common method used to calculate general damages is the multiplier method. This involves multiplying the total amount of special damages by a number typically between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of the injury and its impact on the victim’s life. For example, if someone incurs $50,000 in medical bills and lost wages due to a severe car accident, and the injury has led to significant pain, suffering, and emotional distress, the multiplier might be set at 4. Thus, the general damages would be calculated as $50,000 x 4 = $200,000. Understanding how to effectively use and justify the chosen multiplier is critical, and resources such as Nolo provide comprehensive guides on personal injury claims and damage calculations.

The Importance of Thorough Documentation

Thorough documentation is key to successfully claiming general damages. This includes keeping detailed medical records, psychological evaluations, and personal journals documenting the impact of the injury on daily life. Additionally, expert testimonies from medical professionals, therapists, and even vocational experts can provide a robust support system for the claim. At the Law Firm of Oscar Ischiu, Esq., we ensure that every aspect of your suffering is meticulously documented and presented to maximize your compensation. Our team in Los Angeles and the greater West Covina area is dedicated to providing the highest level of legal representation to help you achieve justice.

Seeking Legal Assistance

Navigating the complexities of calculating general damages requires the expertise of a skilled attorney. The Law Firm of Oscar Ischiu, Esq. is committed to helping clients in Los Angeles and the greater West Covina area receive the compensation they deserve. Our comprehensive approach includes detailed evidence collection, expert consultations, and aggressive advocacy to ensure that every aspect of your non-economic losses is addressed. If you need assistance with your personal injury claim, contact us today for a consultation. Visit our website here to learn more about how we can help you.


In conclusion, understanding and accurately calculating general damages is a critical component of personal injury claims. By considering detailed examples and utilizing comprehensive documentation and expert testimony, victims can achieve fair compensation for their pain, suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. The Law Firm of Oscar Ischiu, Esq. is here to guide you through this process, providing expert legal support to ensure your rights are protected. If you are in Los Angeles or the greater West Covina area, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional legal assistance.


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