If you’ve been injured by another driver on the road, the value of your car accident settlement will depend on your damages. While filing your claim, it’s important to understand the full losses you have a right to be compensated for so you don’t leave any damages out of your demand letter. The following 10 types of damages are often included in car accident claims. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help determine which ones apply to your case.
10 Types of Damages Can You Recover in a Car Accident Settlement
There are three categories of damages in a car accident claim: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Both economic and non-economic damages are compensatory, meaning the money you receive will compensate you for a loss you’ve suffered. Punitive damages are potential additional damages designed to punish the defendant for their misconduct.
When your losses from the accident involve a clear monetary figure, it’s included in your economic damages. You’ll often have a bill, receipt, or price estimate to prove the value of these types of damages. Here are three common types of economic damages:
All medical treatment and recovery costs may be recovered from the at-fault driver. These damages may include hospital bills, ambulance transport fees, doctor’s fees, prescription costs, diagnostic testing fees, nursing care costs, physical therapy bills, and any other medical cost you’ve been forced to pay.
Injured accident victims with severe and long-lasting injuries such as compound fractures, spinal cord damage, or traumatic brain injuries, may require medical expenses for many months or years to come. In these severe cases, damages may also include future medical expenses.
The cost of repairing any damage to your car, truck, or motorcycle may also be included in your damages. Even when repaired to perfect condition, the resale value of a car usually falls because it’s been in an accident, so you may also be able to recover damages for diminished vehicle value in your claim.
If your vehicle has been written off entirely, you may seek to recover the cost of a replacement vehicle of equal market value. Any property at all damaged or destroyed in an accident is a loss for which you have a right to seek compensation. This might include a damaged phone, laptop, jewelry, accessories, or clothing.
When injured in an accident, the victim must often take time away from work to recover. If you’ve lost income while doing so, you may seek to recover lost wages in your damages. And if you used paid sick days or vacation days to cover your time away from work, you may seek compensation for that paid time off, which the at-fault driver forced you to use. Any other work-related benefits or perks you’ve lost may also be recovered.
A car accident settlement can also include damages for reduced capacity to work. If your injury left you unable to earn a living as you did before the accident, you have a right to pursue compensation for this life-changing loss. If your job or career has faced any negative long-term impact because of a disability, missed promotion, or lost business opportunity, your lawyer can calculate the total lifetime cost of that loss and include it in your economic damages.
Not all losses suffered by car accident victims have a clear price tag to prove their value. Some losses are more subjective in nature but can still have a significant impact on the victim’s life. Here are six types of non-economic damages that are often included in a car accident claim.
Many injuries involve a great deal of physical pain, which the accident victim may seek compensation for. Sometimes long-term injuries leave people in chronic pain, which is a terrible loss to suffer over a lifetime. Even mild neck or back pain from minor whiplash can last for weeks and may be included in your damages.
It’s possible for accident victims to suffer psychological and emotional problems following an accident. Car crashes can sometimes be extremely traumatic experiences, resulting in life-altering conditions such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, volatile moods, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Any such loss may be included in your non-economic damages.
Scarring or Disfigurement
Accident injuries and subsequent treatment can leave victims with serious scars and other kinds of disfigurement. Amputated limbs, burns, road rash, nerve damage, and facial fractures are some examples of potentially disfiguring injuries. Scarring or disfigurement often have a detrimental impact on an individual’s life in many ways, for which the victim may seek financial compensation from the at-fault driver.
Impairment and Disability
When any part of your body can no longer function as well as it could before the accident, you may seek impairment damages. If a physical or mental impairment limits your ability to earn a living or enjoy a pastime as you did before the accident, it may count as a disability. Impairment and disability damages are unfortunately common in claims with severe injuries.
Decreased Quality of Life
You may also seek compensation for any decline in quality of life as a result of the accident. Quality of life will often be determined by the activities you usually do for pleasure. This might include hobbies, pastimes, and leisure activities you ordinarily do with your friends, family, or alone. If a physical or psychological injury has left you unable to participate in or enjoy these activities as much as before, you may seek compensation for this loss.
Loss of Consortium
When an accident causes someone to lose the valuable benefits involved in an important relationship, it can be a devastating loss. Loss of consortium damages are often included in wrongful death claims, where someone has perished in the accident. If your accident has left you bereft of an important family relationship, or it has diminished your social support structure in some way, you may be able to recover loss of consortium damages for your loss.
The compensatory damages listed above usually apply when the at-fault driver was acting with negligence when they caused your injuries. But if the other driver were acting with gross negligence or willful wrongdoing, such as drunk driving or knowingly operating a vehicle in serious need of repair, then you may also be able to seek punitive damages against them. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant and also deter similar reckless behavior in the future.
Negotiating Your Car Accident Settlement in Huntsville, TX, or Rockdale, TX
When filing a car accident claim, it’s important to understand all the damages you have a right to pursue. You also need to gather evidence to support the value of each of your damages. This provides the foundations for a strong case and effective negotiations.
In most car accident claims, the final settlement is larger when the victim hires an experienced local car accident attorney. Your attorney will know which economic, non-economic, and punitive damages may apply to your case. They’ll be able to collect evidence, retain expert witnesses, negotiate hard with the insurance company, and try the case in court if necessary.
If you’d like an award-winning trial attorney to determine and pursue your damages, contact Brian C. Gutierrez at (979) 364 5346 for a free consultation. With an aggressive and experienced car accident lawyer in your corner, you’re more likely to win the full and fair compensation you deserve.