Motor Vehicle Accidents Law

Types of Car Accident Damages

A car accident can alter the rest of your life by causing serious injuries that may never properly heal. This could keep you out of work for an extended time, and, in some cases, you might not ever be able to return to gainful employment. The resulting lost wages, in addition to significant medical and rehabilitation expenses, can be financially ruinous.

Therefore, it may be necessary to take legal action to recover these costs and secure your financial future. While laws vary by state, there are several ways to recover financial compensation from car accident cases.

You could receive money for these types of damages:

  • Property damage to the car and other items
  • Mental suffering, such as being afraid to drive again or post traumatic stress disorder
  • Emotional distress from losing a loved one or getting a serious injury
  • Lost wages from missing time and paychecks from work
  • Medical bills for surgery, doctor visits, physical therapy

Getting the Money You Deserve

Your insurance may have policy limits on how much money you can receive for car accident compensation, but do not let the at-fault driver's insurance or your own insurance company pressure you into a settlement. Your lawyer can help you determine how much your claim is truly worth.

A skilled personal injury lawyer will look into the accident, police report, and medical costs. This way, they can find out the real value of your claim.

Money for Medical Expenses

If you were hurt in a motor vehicle accident, there is a good chance that you spent time in a hospital, at a doctor's office or an urgent care facility. You may have incurred additional medical care costs related to surgery, physical therapy, medical treatment, or medication used to treat your symptoms. These are all expenses that you may be entitled to recover in a personal injury lawsuit or as part of a personal injury settlement.

Money for Pain & Suffering

car accident can leave emotional scars in addition to physical ones that make it harder or impossible to leave your home. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of a serious wreck, you may be entitled to compensation for your emotional pain.

Money for Lost Wages at Work

As part of a jury award or settlement, you could receive compensation for lost wages and lost future earnings. For instance, you may have missed time at work because you were in a hospital recovering or because you had to take time off for doctor's appointments.

Generally, your employer doesn't have to pay you for time spent not working due to non-work-related injuries. The person who caused your injuries might be required to make up for lost wages even if you had sick days or vacation time available to you.

Lost future earnings may be paid to you if you are unable to ever return to work. These amounts are calculated according to a variety of factors, including your:

  • Age and life expectancy
  • Current occupation
  • Education level
  • Skills and training that you have had
  • Projected future earning potential

Money for Loss of Affection or Consortium

If you win money in your case, your family may also be able to recover compensation. If an injury prevents you from being intimate with your spouse, they may be entitled to compensation. Your children may also get money if they are unable to:

  • Play with you
  • Talk or interact with you
  • Enjoy a typical parent/child relationship

What to Expect in the Process

It's generally best to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident. A lawyer will help you file your car accident claims and make sure that you do so before the expiration of any applicable statutes of limitation.

In California, for example, the period is either two years from the date of the injury or one year from the time that the injury was discovered, whichever is later. In New York, the statute of limitations for a personal injury car accident lawsuit is three years from the date of the injury.

Getting the Most Out of the Process

Working with an attorney may also make it easier to maximize your compensation. Although an insurance company may offer you a settlement, the amount is often less than what you could get if you proceeded to litigation. An attorney will have had experience with the tactics that insurance companies will employ in these situations and know how to respond.