What Types of Compensation Can I Likely Recover in My Car Accident Lawsuit?
When you’re injured in a car crash caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you naturally want that person to pay for all the expenses and losses you incur as a result of your injuries. But what kinds of compensation can you reasonably expect to recover? The answer to that question depends on what your state calls the various types of recoverable compensation. Whatever the terminology, however, you can expect to recover both economic and noneconomic damages. You may also be able to recover punitive damages.
Economic damages refer to your expenses for such things as the following:
- Ambulance fees
- Emergency room charges for injury assessment, diagnostic tests, emergency treatment, etc.
- Hospital charges for inpatient care, surgeries, prescription drugs, etc.
- Physical and/or occupational therapy, both inpatient and after your hospital discharge
- Follow-up doctor and therapy appointments
- Any medical equipment your injuries necessitate, including, for instance, crutches, a wheelchair, walker, cane or prosthesis
Your economic damages include not only your initial medical costs, but also a reasonable estimate of your future costs. They likewise include your current and future loss of income.
Noneconomic damages refer to your most subjective losses for such things as the following:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional distress and anguish
- Embarrassment and loss of your self-esteem over having to go out in public with disfiguring scars or while having to use a wheelchair or other assistive device to navigate
- Loss of your ability to fully perform your daily functions
- Loss of your ability to fully lead the lifestyle you did prior to your accident
- Loss of your joy of life
If the defendant’s actions in causing your accident were especially outrageous or egregious, you may also be able to recover punitive damages. These damages, which the jury awards you over and above your economic and noneconomic damages, serve the purpose of punishing the defendant. While few car accident cases result in punitive damages, your case may call for them if, for instance, the defendant was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or at an unusually high rate of speed at the time of the accident.
An experienced local car accident lawyer can answer all your questions about the type and amount of damages you can claim and likely recover. He or she can likewise guide you through the entire lawsuit process from beginning to end.