Most people who have sustained damage to their vehicles or physical injuries know how fast their losses can add up after a crash. From property damage to medical expenses and lost wages, car accidents can be costly. This is why victims of collisions often file personal injury claims in order to recoup their losses.
The goal of filing a personal injury claim after a car accident is to get the at-fault driver to pay you “damages,” which essentially means making a financial recovery for your injuries and other losses related to the crash. In this article, we will outline what types of damages are available following an auto accident, what damages injured victims can expect to recover in a personal injury claim, and how those damages are determined.
“Damages” is the legal term for a monetary award that victims are entitled to for their losses. There are two types of compensatory damages: economic and non-economic damages.
What Are Economic Damages?
Economic damages are considered special damages that are tied to a dollar amount and compensate victims of car accidents for losses such as:
- Medical bills. Compensation for medical expenses related to the accident can include bills for an ambulance ride, ER visit, hospital stay, surgical costs, doctor visits, prescription costs, physical therapy and rehabilitation expenses, and more.
- Lost wages. A financial recovery for lost income can include any wages you lost as a result of your crash-related injuries. Compensation may even include future lost income if your injury affects your ability to make the same living in the future.
- Property damage. When a car is in a collision, there could be thousands of dollars in repairs that need to be done. Additionally, it may be considered totaled. Getting compensated fairly for property damage is critical so you can return your vehicle to its pre-accident state or purchase another similar vehicle.
What Are Non-economic Damages?
Non-economic damages (often called general damages) refers to recovering money for a victim’s non-monetary losses, such as:
- Pain and suffering. This phrase is a legal term that refers to getting compensated for physical injuries as well as emotional injuries that occurred as a result of a crash.
- Emotional distress and mental anguish. If you suffered depression, anxiety, worry, fear, and grief, or if the accident affected you psychologically, you are entitled to a financial recovery for this type of suffering.
- Disability or disfigurement. If you suffered a permanent disability such as paralysis or if your face or other body part has been disfigured, you should be compensated fully for enduring such devastation.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. If the accident left you with the inability to enjoy life in the same way you did before the crash, you should receive compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life.
How Are Damages Determined?
It is easy to see how recovering money for one’s medical bills is determined, but when it comes to making a financial recovery for one’s pain and suffering or other non-economic damages, it can be complex. The insurance company as well as your lawyer will use calculations to determine what your non-economic damages are in terms of a dollar value. If the two parties cannot agree on a fair number, your case may go to court. If your case makes it to trial, a jury will help decide what a fair financial figure is for your damages.
In order to determine your non-economic damages, we (or a jury if your case goes to trial) will look at how your life has been impacted since the accident. In addition to reviewing your income loss and possible future lost income, any emotional distress or psychological issues you suffered related to the crash will be taken into account as well as any disabilities and disfigurement. It is critical to your case that your injuries and other losses are thoroughly analyzed in order to get the full compensation you are due.
This is why having an experienced accident attorney in your corner can help you in recovering the maximum amount of damages you need and deserve. Please call our law firm (703) 591-0067 with any questions you may have. We are happy to provide you with a free consultation and provide you with more information.