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What damages can I recover after a car accident?

On Behalf of | May 15, 2022 | Car Accidents

Car accidents can result in devastating physical, emotional, and financial damages.

When the cause of your accident is someone’s carelessness, you have the right to file a claim or lawsuit for compensatory damages.

Economic damages

Economic damages are those losses that have an inherent monetary value. They include:

  • The cost of past and future medical treatment for your injuries
  • Lost income from missed work, future missed work, or loss of earning ability.
  • The cost of repair or replacement of damaged property

You prove economic damages with bills, pay stubs, and estimates for auto repair. In a wrongful death case, you may also seek compensation for funeral expenses, burial costs, and any lost income provided by the deceased.

Non-economic damages

Non-economic damages refer to the more subjective losses. These include:

  • Pain and suffering, such as emotional distress, mental anguish, or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Loss of the ability to enjoy life
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium in a wrongful death case

You may call on those close to you to testify to the pain and suffering you faced following an accident.

Punitive damages

Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages do not compensate for losses. Instead, the court requires the defendant to pay punitive damages as punishment for gross negligence. This is rare in car accident cases because you must prove that the defendant acted with no regard for the health and safety of others.

Most personal injury cases typically do not make it to trial. You will likely reach a settlement before that happens. Ultimately, the amount of your settlement depends on the severity of your accident and the resulting damages.