Have you been in a car wreck recently? If so, you are not alone. According to research, it is estimated that one out of every five drivers will be involved in an auto accident within their lifetime.
These accidents can cause serious injuries and property damage which may result in costly medical bills as well as vehicle repairs.
If you were not at fault for the accident, you may be wondering what types of damages you can recover in a car accident claim.
In this post, we discuss the different types of damages that are available in a car accident claim.
Economic damages have a specific monetary value attached to them. This includes any medical bills incurred as a result of the accident as well as any lost wages if you are unable to work. In some cases, future hospital bills and lost earnings may also be recovered.
When calculating economic damages, it is important to keep in mind that you are entitled to recover the cost of both past and future medical treatment.
In addition, any property damage caused by the accident will also be compensated for under economic damages.
The common types of economic damages in car accident claims include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future medical treatment
- Property damage
How Do You Calculate Economic Damages?
It is relatively easy to calculate economic damages as there is a specific monetary value attached to them.
For example, if you have $5,000 in medical bills and you miss two weeks of work and lose $1,500 in wages, your economic damages would total $6,500.
To calculate future economic damages, such as future medical treatment or lost earnings, you will need to estimate the cost of these expenses.
For example, if you will need surgery that will cost $10,000 and you will be out of work for three months, your future economic damages would total $13,000.
Generally, non-economic damages are difficult to substantiate because they don’t have a precise monetary value attached to them. In fact, these damages are designed to compensate you for the more intangible losses that you may have suffered as a direct result of the accident.
The most common types of non-economic damages in car accident claims include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
How Do You Calculate Non-Economic Damages?
Unlike economic damages, there is no specific monetary value attached to non-economic damages.
This means that the amount of damages you are entitled to recover will be based on a number of factors, including the severity of your injuries, the impact the accident has had on your life, and the jurisdiction in which your case is filed.
For example, if you have suffered a mild concussion and some bruises, your non-economic damages would be less than if you had suffered a traumatic brain injury or paralysis.
In addition, if the accident has had a major impact on your life, such as preventing you from working or enjoying hobbies, you would be entitled to recover more in non-economic damages than someone who was not as significantly impacted.
Punitive damages are designed to punish the at-fault party for their negligence and deter them from engaging in similar conduct in the future.
These damages are typically only awarded in cases where the at-fault party’s conduct was particularly egregious, such as drunk driving or hit and run.
Punitive damages are calculated differently than economic and non-economic damages as they are not meant to compensate the victim, but rather to punish the at-fault party.
As a result, punitive damages are typically much higher than other types of damages.
The amount of punitive damages that can be awarded will vary depending on the state in which the accident occurred as well as the severity of the at-fault party’s conduct.
What If I am Partially at Fault for the Accident?
If you are partially at fault for the accident, you may still be entitled to recover damages.
However, the amount of damages you are able to recover will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault for the accident and the total damages awarded are $100,000, you would only be able to recover $80,000.
It is important to note that if you are found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, you will not be able to recover any damages.
This is why it is important to speak with an experienced car accident attorney who can help you determine whether you have a valid claim and what damages you may be entitled to recover.
The Bottom Line
If you have been involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to recover economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
The amount of damages you are able to recover will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of your injuries, the impact the accident has had on your life, and the jurisdiction in which your case is filed.
It is important to speak with an experienced car accident attorney who can help you determine what damages you may be entitled to recover.