A car accident can cause serious damage to a victim, leading to severe injuries, missed time from work, pain and suffering, and years of possible complications. But what are “damages” in a car accident case and what does it include?
What Are Car Accident Damages?
Negligent behavior from the at-fault party can cause severe injuries, such as brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and back and neck injuries. A car accident victim will have to handle the financial impact of the medical bills associated with these injuries, as well as potentially lost wages, lost earning potential, property damage, and pain and suffering.
These expenses are damages, which are losses associated with the car accident. Any monetary expense or intangible negative effect a car accident has had on your life can be considered a damage you could pursue compensation for. A car accident lawyer can help you file a car accident claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company to seek fair compensation for damages.
What Are The Different Types of Damages in a Car Accident Claim?
A car accident claim can seek to recover the damages for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and property damage.
But before we begin, we should discuss the two most common sets of terms for damages: economic and noneconomic; and special and general damages.
Economic damages are any damages that have a quantifiable amount; something you can put a dollar amount to. This includes medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Economic damages are sometimes called “special damages”. They are the same things.
Noneconomic damages are any damages that you cannot put a dollar amount on but still cost the victim something or caused them suffering. This includes things like pain, suffering, or never being able to pick up your grandchild again. These don’t have a dollar amount attached to them but we can all agree they are valuable and worth compensation. Noneconomic damages are also called “general damages”.
Medical Expenses Caused by a Car Accident
Medical expenses are the most common damage car accident victims have to contend with. A high-speed car accident can leave your body exposed to severe impact. It can generate trauma that can cause pressure on your body’s joints, muscles, bones, and tendons, resulting in severe injuries like traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), broken bones, and knee injuries.
Recovery from these severe injuries can take years and cost anywhere from thousands to hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. According to the National Safety Council, the average cost of disabling injuries in 2020 was $1,252,000.
The following are some of the medical expenses you could incur following a car accident:
- Surgical costs
- Hospital bills
- Prescription medication expenses
- Doctors bills
- Physical therapy
- Ambulatory costs
- In-home medical care
- Medical equipment, such as prosthetics
- and many more.
If you are injured in a car accident, you should keep track of any medical documentation so your lawyer can use it to help you pursue compensation for the full cost of your medical expenses.
Car Accidents Can Result in Lost Wages
A disabling injury caused by a car accident can lead to a car accident victim missing out on wages they would otherwise earn.
An injury can cause a person to miss work for an obvious reason—they physically cannot do the work because they are hurt. For example, if they suffer a broken leg, they will not be able to do a labor-intensive job like a delivery truck driver.
Recovering from an injury can also cause a person to miss work because of appointments, surgeries, or other obligations that make them unable to earn a living.
This lost income is detrimental to most American families and will put a serious strain on their life.
Some forms of insurance can cover a percentage of lost wages, but most victims need more than that to sustain their life and pay for housing, food, and transportation. Some people have no wage protection at all.
In this case, you can file a car accident claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company to pursue wages lost.
Lost Earning Potential Caused by a Car Accident
Severe car accident injuries can also dramatically affect your ability to work in your chosen career following the car accident. If your car accident injury prevents you from returning to your job, the at-fault party could be liable for lost earnings potential.
Let’s say you were involved in a rear-end car collision that caused a serious spinal cord injury. Before the accident, you worked as a high-level interior renovator and earned $65 dollars an hour. Now, you can even get out of bed without pain. You will have to find another job, possibly start at entry level, and will face who knows what other kinds of obstacles.
In this case, you can file a car accident claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company to pursue compensation for future wages that you will miss out on or that you will never be able to earn due to your car accident injuries.
Noneconomic Damages in a Car Accident
The above damages are all economic damages, which are those with an economic value attached to them. You can also attempt to pursue compensation for non-economic damages, which are intangible losses.
A car accident can cause your serious pain and suffering and affect the way you live your life, the ease of everyday tasks, and your mental health. In order to recoup some type of compensation for these damages, you have to file a car accident claim against the insurance company to pursue these non-economic damages.
Noneconomic damages are usually harder to pursue because they cannot easily be proven. But there is a way to show that a car accident affected you in more ways than just medical bills and lost wages. A car accident lawyer can help you assess these damages and see if you can include noneconomic damages in your car accident claim.
The following are some of the noneconomic damages you can pursue compensation for in a car accident claim:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
Car Accident Vehicle Property Damage
Following a car accident, your vehicle may be damaged to a point where repairs or a replacement are necessary. Negligent behavior from the at-fault party caused this property damage, and they can be held liable for it. These damages are often included in personal injury claims.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me Pursue Car Accident Damages?
To recover compensation for car accident damages, you must be able to prove the at-fault party owed you a duty of care, breached that duty of care, and caused your damages as a result. Hiring a car accident lawyer can make this easier, as they know the steps to take and the evidence to collect to prove liability.
Without experience in handling car accident claims, you may not be able to get nearly as much as you need for your losses. Insurance companies are experts at delaying, denying, and devaluing your claim.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help assess your damages, collect evidence, determine liability, demand compensation, interview witnesses, negotiate with the insurer, and file a lawsuit if necessary. These are extremely important steps for getting full compensation.
You need to get all the compensation you can so that you can make your life whole again. You do not want to accept a small check and then be stuck with medical bills, unpaid mortgage payments, and continuing pain.
You have a better chance of getting a fair settlement if you put your case in the hands of a car accident attorney.
Contact The Russo Firm for Help With Your Car Accident Claim
A car accident can leave you with medical bills, lost wages, missed opportunities, and pain and suffering. These damages add up fast and can sneak up out of nowhere. You need an attorney to help you with your case so that they can guide you through this process successfully.
The experienced car accident attorneys at The Russo Firm can ease your stress. We have decades of experience helping auto accident victims with personalized legal counsel that addresses the specific issues of their cases. Our car accident attorneys will constantly communicate with you to ensure we address the full cost of your damages and negotiate fair compensation for your car accident damages.