Victims who have been involved in a motor vehicle accident are often left with devastating injuries, sky-rocketing medical expenses, and a host of questions. What happened? Who was at fault? How will I ever pay all of these mounting bills? Worse yet, is many times, these car accident victims wrongly believe that the insurance company will provide them the help they need following their devastating accident. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.
In this blog post, we will delve into the subject of car accidents and damages. Specifically, detailing how these damages are determined, what factors can influence the value of your damages, and how an experienced personal injury attorney can fight for the damages you deserve.
What Types of Damages Can you Recover After a Car Accident?
If you have been harmed in a car accident, you may be entitled to certain damages. These damages fall into two categories- economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic Damages: These damages are verifiable losses that result from an accident and are easy to quantify. They include:
- Medical bills including past, present, and future medical expenses (hospital bills, surgeries, doctor visits, ambulance rides, and prescription medications)
- Lost wages including past, current, and future lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Rehabilitative care including occupational and physical therapy
- Personal property damages
- Medical equipment costs such as a wheelchair or crutches
- At home nursing care
- Replacement services such as cleaning services or child care services
- Funeral and burial costs
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic Damages: These damages are rather subjective losses that result from the accident and are not easy to quantify. They include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Stress and Anxiety
- Permanent disability
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life and activities
- Loss of a limb
- Loss of reputation
In certain situations, punitive damages or “exemplary damages” may be awarded to the victim by the court. However, unlike economic and non-economic damages, which are meant to compensate the victim, punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant’s egregious actions and to deter them and others from committing this act again in the future. As a result, these damages are only awarded in limited situations, such as drunk driving accidents.
Because every car accident is unique, and the circumstances of the accident determine which damages you may recover. You may not be entitled to every type of damage listed above. Discussing your car accident claim with your personal injury attorney can help you determine what damages you can pursue.
Factors Influencing Damages
Remember- even though you may be able to go after certain types of damages. The amount of damages you receive will depend on the specifics of the case. There are many factors that can influence the value of your car accident claim, either negatively or positively, including:
- The type of injuries resulting from your car accident and the severity of these injuries
- Whether your injuries are permanent
- Do your injuries include disfigurement or scarring
- The length of time it may take you to recover from these injuries
- The extent of the property damage that occurred
- The ability to work following the accident and whether you could return to your previous position
- The amount of interruption to your daily activities
- Whether you had to miss out on critical milestones
- The effect of this injury on your relationships, including your family life and marriage
- The emotional trauma you endured
- The credibility of your witnesses and evidence presented
- Your doctor’s assessment of your injuries
When you work with an experienced personal injury attorney, these lawyers can figure out which of these factors may impact your case, help you prepare the best case in response to these factors, and go after maximum damages.
If you are injured in a car accident, you can get reimbursed for expenses related to your injury, including the pain and suffering you endured. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to determine how much money you are owed for some of these damages. In truth, your personal injury damages are often based on a combination of your actual costs and compensation for your pain and suffering.
To calculate these non-economic damages, the court uses two approaches:
- Per Diem Approach: Under this approach, the victim is assigned a specific dollar amount to every day they have to deal with their injuries’ repercussions. Many times this amount may be the equivalent of the victim’s daily earnings, as the court may find that it is fair to assume that the victim’s daily inconvenience of recovering from their injuries is comparable to going to work every day.
- Multiplier Method: The court takes the total amount of the victim’s special damages, which includes both indirect and directs costs of the injury, and multiplies it by a specific number from one to five. This numerical factor will depend on the severity and duration of the victim’s particular injuries and the pain and discomfort the injury has caused the victim. For instance, the more extreme and permanent the injuries are, the higher the multiplier will be.
Let an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Help Get You The Damages You Deserve
Determining damages following a car accident is complicated, tedious, and extremely detail-oriented. Not only do you have to understand how to calculate these damages, but you also have to understand what factors may influence the value of your claim. Luckily, with the help of a skilled personal injury attorney, you do not have to tackle these legal complexities on your own. These lawyers can:
- Determine which damages you may be entitled to
- Gather the critical evidence needed to help prove these damages
- Handle the necessary legal work involved in the case
- Advocate on your behalf and go after maximum damages
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, do not wait any longer. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney today or call us at 504-200-0000, and let us fight for the damages you are entitled to.