Car Crashes | You Broke It, You Bought It
- October 20, 2020 - Catastrophic Injury,
I’m Mike Hackard of Hackard Law. Our laws are supposed to make sense. And, most of the time they do.
There’s an old law, not quite in these words, that says “You break it, you bought it.” As children we learn to be careful around precious things. And what is more precious than our loved ones? The same principle applies in car crashes.
Here’s a few recent examples. A few months ago, a car crashed into a California condominium complex, hitting a gas main and setting the entire building on fire. It’s pretty clear that the driver and/or his insurance company is going to have to pay for this. He broke it, he bought it.
A driver crashes his car into a gas station, setting the gas pumps on fire. Again, I think the simple rule applies – “you broke it, you bought it.”
So, how does this apply to California car crashes and personal injuries? No one would really argue that a condominium or gas station is worth more than a human being. What we really need to focus on are human damages.
We need to look at what was taken away from the injured person. In health, in time, in expenses, in continuing pain, and emotional strain.
Some car crash personal injury damages are fairly standard: ambulance service, helicopter rescue, hospitalization, medical services, physical therapy, chiropractic care, and trauma rehabilitation, among others. Future medical needs and their costs are also compensable costs.
Non-economic damages are often the particular province of juries. Juries must use their own good sense in determining what is a fair and reasonable amount to compensate an injured plaintiff. These instructions address physical pain, mental suffering, and emotional distress.
Some insurance advocates think that a rule of thumb should take the economic injuries and multiply them by 3 to 5 times to determine pain and suffering. This is offensive – it is erroneous – and based on nothing more than profits.
There are better arguments than economic multipliers. It’s important to remember that the injured party only gets to go to court once – to ask the jury only once for payment for what has already been taken away and what will be taken away in the future.
This is why you see and read about a number of California car crash jury verdicts that often reach into 7 or even 8 figures. Again, the juries delivering these verdicts were looking at what was taken away from an innocent party.
Another way to look at it is to imagine a LinkedIn advertisement for a job described as follows:
Job Available: High Impact T-Bone Car Crash Victim. Description: Get T-Boned at an intersection by a driver who runs a red light at 45 miles per hour.
- Suffer traumatic brain injury.
- Suffer spinal cord injuries.
- Undergo two back surgeries.
- Feel intense anxiety, depression, and humiliation because of your reliance on others.
- Set aside your desires for a career that you were planning before your health was taken from you by the actions of a negligent driver.
- Expect that for the rest of our life you will have continuing back pain and impaired movement.
- Expect to have to fight to receive payment for what has been taken away from you.
This is the job that many victims of car crashes involuntarily volunteer for. This is not of their doing. It’s the doing of a careless driver. A driver who broke it, a driver who must buy it. Not at a discount, but at the full amount of what their carelessness has taken away.
If you or your loved one has been injured by a large commercial truck or automobile, contact Hackard Law for help. Call us at 916-313-3030. Hackard Law: Attorneys Making A Difference.
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