What You Need To Know About California’s Damages & Injuries Laws

Non-economic Damages

In California, in addition to several other states, pain and suffering damages are categorized into what’s called “non-economic damages” which also includes:

  • Inconvenience
  • Mental suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of society and companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Injury to reputation
  • Humiliation

We’ve provided a table summarizing pain and suffering damages in California as well as additional detailed explanations:

Statute of Limitations

Damages Limits

Other Limits


Pure Comparative Fault

Something that California does differently than most states is following the pure comparative fault law to determine liability for non-economic damages. Pure comparative fault is when the court agrees that if you were at least partially at fault for any damages after a car accident, then the amount that you can recover from the accident will be deducted by your percentage of fault. For instance, if the court finds that you were 50% responsible for your injury or damages, then you could only receive %50 of the damages total as compensation after the accident. If the damages were $20,000, then you would only receive a maximum of $10,000 in compensation.

Types of Claims

California joins several other states in denying that pain and suffering damages be added to workers compensation claims. However, California does allow pain and suffering damages for multiple different claims including:

  • Car accidents
  • Defective Products
  • Slip and fall
  • Wrongful death
  • Medical malpractice
  • Intentional Injury (Intentional Tort)

Circumstance Limits on Damages

There are three certain circumstances where California strictly prohibits pain and suffering damages to be awarded to injured individuals after a car accident. The injured cannot receive compensation if they:

  • Were convicted of a DUI relating to the accident
  • Owned a car involved in an accident and the car was uninsured or underinsured unless the defendant was convicted of a DUI in connection with the accident
  • Driving a car involved in the accident and was uninsured or underinsured

Unless you have consulted with a California personal injury attorney, the injuries listed above cannot receive financial compensation.

Time Limits on Damages

California does comply with a state set time period where you’re allowed to submit a claim, commonly known as a “statute of limitation.” Regardless if your seeking pain and suffering damages following a car accident, a fall, a slip, or any other accident caused by the negligence of another, or an intentional act, you must submit a claim within two years of the date of the incident in California. For medical malpractice claims, this window reduced to one year after you discover the injury or lengthened to three years after the date of the accident, whichever happened first.


Source: http://statelaws.findlaw.com/california-law/pain-and-suffering-damages-in-california.html