If you’re the victim of a car accident – whether minor or serious – you have a right to pursue certain damages. But if you’ve never been in a situation like this before, you’re probably wondering what types of damages you should go after and what the process looks like. And while no two situations are identical, this article should shed some light on this topic.
4 Common Types of Damages
The types of damages you pursue in a car accident injury claim will be heavily dependent on the factors involved in the case. For example, you probably won’t need to file for extensive damages if the accident was a simple fender bender in rush hour traffic. However, the damages could be significant, if your vehicle was T-boned at an intersection by a truck that was speeding 65 miles per hour through a red light.
Ultimately, you’ll have to meet with an experienced professional – likely a car accident attorney – to figure out which damages are worth pursuing. However, here’s a brief overview of some of the damages that frequently come into play:
- Medical Expenses
Even for somewhat minor injuries, medical expenses can pile up. Depending on the circumstances of your case, medical expenses may include any of the following:
- Ambulance fees
- Acute treatment
- Surgical procedures
- Long-term care
- Physical and/or cognitive therapy
- Consultations and appointments
- In-home services
- Medication and recovery accessories (crutches, rehab equipment, etc.)
If the other driver is deemed to be at-fault for the accident, all of these medical expenses should be covered under your car accident claim.
- Lost Wages
If the car accident is serious enough to immobilize you for a period of days, weeks, or months, you’ll end up losing some of your earning capacity. If you can prove that the injuries incurred from the accident prevented you from earning money that you otherwise would have been able to secure, these lost wages can be included in your claim. How much-lost wages you receive will depend on factors like age, occupation, life expectancy, etc.
- Loss of Affection/Companionship
One of the more unique claims in a car accident case is the loss of affection or companionship. This typically comes into play if you’re married and the accident deprives you and your spouse of the ability to show affection. Interestingly enough, loss of consortium (as it’s known) is claimed by the uninjured spouse. And in order for this claim to be validated, damages must first be recovered for injuries.
- Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering are one of the more important, yet difficult types of damages to understand. It’s a relatively subjective element and depends on factors like severity of the injuries, amount of pain and discomfort associated with these injuries, and the impact of the injuries on your overall quality of life.
“There’s no law that tells you how much you should be paid for your pain, but there are methods that insurance adjusters and car accident lawyers use to get a starting figure from which to negotiate,” AllLaw.com explains. “Two common methods are the ‘per-diem’ method which uses a dollar amount for every day you had to live with pain, and the ‘multiplier’ method, which is based on a multiple of your medical and lost income damages.”
Filing a Car Accident Injury Claim
At first, you might not think you need to file a car accident claim. But according to Scott M. Brown & Associates, you should be wary of writing off a claim too soon. Many damages don’t appear until much later on and it’s wise to be prepared so that these expenses don’t blindside you.
Immediately after your accident, make sure you get medical attention and notify the insurance carrier of the party at fault that you incurred an injury during the collision. From there, a formal process of filing a claim will ensue. You’ll be asked to supply evidence and the insurance company will come back with a settlement offer. This offer will typically be less than what the claim is worth and you’ll need to negotiate.
Negotiating a car accident claim is something that most people aren’t skilled at doing. It’s for this reason that you should hire a car accident attorney to help you maximize your payout. A good lawyer will significantly increase the amount of money you receive, which will facilitate a smoother recovery down the road.