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 period of 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 recoup these costs and secure your financial future. While they vary by state, there are multiple types of car accident damages that can lead to compensation. The following are examples of recoverable damages.

Medical Expenses

If you have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident, there is a good chance that you spent time in a hospital, at a doctor's office or at an urgent care facility. You may have incurred additional medical bills related to surgery, physical therapy, medical equipment 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.

Pain & Suffering

A car accident can leave emotional scars in addition to physical ones. 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. In the event that your injuries made it impossible to leave your home or otherwise affected your quality of life, you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering related to those limitations.

Lost Wages

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 away from work related to injuries received outside the course of your employment. The person who caused your injuries may 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 awarded if you are unable to return to work. These amounts are calculated according to a variety of factors, including your age and life expectancy, your current occupation, your education level, the skills and training that you have had and your projected future earning potential.

Loss of Affection or Consortium

If an injury prevents you from being intimate with your spouse, he or she may be entitled to compensation. If your children are unable to play with you, talk to you or otherwise enjoy a typical parent/child relationship because of your physical or emotional condition, they may be entitled to compensation. However, in order for these damages to be awarded, you have to have been awarded compensation for your injuries as well.

Consult With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

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 prior to 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 date 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.

Working with an attorney may also make it easier to optimize 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.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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