After being involved in a car accident, an injured party may be faced with a variety of bills ranging from property damage to medical expenses for injuries. This harsh burden on the injured party causes them to explore their options for various means of obtaining the money in an effort to make them whole again. The following are some of the common types of compensation or damages that a victim of a car accident is typically entitled to.
Compensatory damages are damages that are designed to compensate the injured party for their car accident injury claim. The purpose of compensatory damages is to attempt to make the injured party whole again through a monetary award or settlement. As a result, the accident and the injured party’s losses and injuries must be analyzed and a total dollar amount must be determined. This is relatively easy when the damages are easy to calculate like property damage or straightforward medical bills. However, this can become tricky to calculate for damages when the injured party suffers from loss of enjoyment of certain activities, hobbies, or has to deal with mental pain and suffering from the accident.
Property Damages or Loss
Property damage or loss is the most common form of compensatory damages since most injured parties suffer some kind of damage or loss to their property. Property damage is also typically one of the easiest monetary amounts to determine since insurance companies or mechanics can list out the amount of money required to repair or replace the damaged property.
Medical treatment is also one of the most common forms of compensatory damages since many injured parties suffer injuries from the accidents that they are involved in that require medical attention. This will typically cover any medical treatment already received and any medical treatment the injured party will require in the future. As such, when a injured party goes to see a doctor for an injury related to the accident, the visit is typically going to be paid for by the award or settlement.
Pain and suffering
Pain and suffering is a form of compensatory damages that deals with the pain and discomfort that a injured party suffers after the accident. This could be anything from the having to deal with a direct injury like breaking a bone or having back pain for an extended period of time after the accident
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium damages are the damages that arise from the way the injury changes the relationship between a injured party and their spouse. This can be anything from the loss of the ability to have sex or the ability to maintain a relationship. In certain situations, these damages are not only paid to the injured party but also to the injured party’s spouse.
A injured party may also be entitled to damages for the accident’s impact of the ability to earn a living. If the accident caused the injured party such extreme injuries or disabilities that they cannot go out and earn money in the same manner that they did prior to the accident, they may be entitled to damages based on their loss of earning capacity. Typically, these damages are vigorously contested by both parties since the defendant does not want to pay a large amount of money while the injured party is attempting to make sure that they are adequately compensated for the loss of their ability to work.
Punitive damages are damages designed to punish the defendant for being extremely careless or a complete disregard for their behavior or actions. Punitive damages are additional damages that may be levied on top of any compensatory damages a injured party may already be receiving. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant for his careless actions or behavior and to prevent this type of action from happening again. In order to be entitled to punitive damages, the injured party must prove that the defendant’s actions were extremely careless or showed a complete disregard for their behavior or actions. Punitive damages in car accidents are typically seen where the defendant either disregarded common traffic laws or was engaging in some extremely dangerous activity. Punitive damages are typically capped at $250,000 or 3 times your compensatory damages. However, an exception to the rule eliminates the cap on punitive damages in situations where the defendant driver was drunk.
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James Minick is a criminal defense attorney in Asheville, NC and is the owner of Minick Law, P.C.