Car Accident Lawyer

Roads in the USA are amongst the busiest in the world. Statistics show that around 4.7 million passenger cars in the US were involved in traffic crashes in 2020. Consequently, car accidents are responsible for thousands of deaths and injuries each year. Because these are so common and can happen to anyone, you must know what you can claim if you are involved in a car accident. 

What can you claim as compensation?

Car accidents can cause a significant stress on your finances. But you can recover some of the costs as monetary compensation. These are called damages. They are paid by the person or organization found to be legally liable for the accident.  

As top-rated car accident lawyer explains, there are two types of damages that you can claim in a car accident- compensatory and punitive damages.

Compensatory damages 

Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the injured plaintiff for the injuries or loss suffered as a result of the accident. The intent behind this is to restore the plaintiff monetarily to where they would have been had the accident not occurred. 

These are further divided into special and general damages. 

Special damages

Also called economic damages, they are awarded for the costs incurred by the injured plaintiff for their specific personal injury. These include:

  • Medical bills: Car accidents can cause minor or serious injuries or disability. Some injuries may require additional medical attention at a later time. Apart from the hospital bill for treatment of your injuries, you can also claim compensation for surgeries, therapy, prosthetic/assistive devices, appointments with healthcare professionals, ambulance fees and in-home services. 
  • Lost wages: You may have to skip work due to your injuries sustained in the accident. You may also lose your earning capacity as a result of later therapy sessions, issues with mobility, or time spent in the hospital. If you are able to prove that based on your past earnings, the accident has reduced your capacity to earn money in the future, you can claim the lost wages as compensation.
  • Loss of property: If any of your items such as vehicle or gadgets were damaged in the accident, you can claim compensation for their fair market value or reimbursement for their repair. 

General damages

These are non-economic damages and are comparatively difficult to quantify. They are: 

  • Pain and suffering: It includes mental or physical stress caused by the injury. They are calculated based on the type of injury, the extent of pain suffered, the prognosis for future pain and the stress or anxiety caused by the accident. However, the manner of calculation varies with different states. 
  • Loss of companionship: These damages are based on the impact a car accident has on the relationship between spouses. Legally, it is referred to as “loss of consortium” and is claimed by the uninjured spouse. Such claims are derivative and are awarded only if the main personal injury claim is successful. 

Punitive Damages

In some cases, the conduct of the driver who is at fault may be deemed to be grossly negligent. The court may then award punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. These are meant to punish the defendant for their misconduct. 

These claims also vary in states. Some may allow them while others may put a cap on the amount. 

How to know what you can claim in a car accident?

If you have been involved in a car accident, you must contact a car accident lawyer. They can tell you what damages and how much you can claim for your injuries. They will also guide you regarding the specific statutes of the state where you are situated and help you get the maximum compensation for your injuries. 

Thanks to Brad Lakin at Champions for the Injured for this Information.