Not all motor vehicle accident lawsuits are the same. One of the big differences in auto accident claims is the type of damages you can seek, which depends upon how the accident occurred and what happened as a result. The term “damages” refers to the money awarded in a personal injury lawsuit. With regards to car accidents, there are several types of damages you may be able to sue for, including tangible and intangible harm. The following are some of the basic types of damages that you may sue for in a car accident lawsuit.
This is the most common type of damages awarded in car accident claims, because they are fairly straightforward. Damages for medical expenses can include things like ambulance fees, hospitalization costs, doctor or physician consultations, emergency treatment, ongoing treatment, physical therapy and medications. Even if your medical expenses are covered by insurance, you may still be able to recover the costs of the expenses as damages in a lawsuit.
If you are injured seriously enough in a car accident to be kept out of work for a significant amount of time, such as more than a few days, you may be able to seek damages for lost wages in your lawsuit. This covers what you would have been paid for working during the time that you missed because of your injuries. Evidence of lost wages may be demonstrated through medical records that document proof of your injuries, doctor’s recommendations that you remain out of work, and documentation from your employer that states the amount of work time missed and the wages you would have ordinarily received.
Pain and suffering
Pain and suffering can be difficult to quantify and prove. Pain and suffering is a general category that refers to any mental, emotional or physical distress that you experience as a result of the accident. There are no specific legal guidelines that set forth the amount of damages for this category, but in general, damages are awarded in cases where the court can envision the pain and suffering you may be experiencing. This may be proven through expert testimony, by your own testimony, and sometimes there may be physical evidence that indicates pain and suffering, such as disfigurement or a lost limb.
Loss of consortium
This category is usually specific to a spouse who is also involved in an accident. If your spouse is severely injured or killed in a car accident, you may be entitled to damages for loss of consortium. “Consortium” refers to the benefits of having a loved one present and healthy such as companionship, solace and affection. In rare cases, loss of consortium damages may be applied to loved ones other than a spouse.
How to seek damages following a car accident
If you’re involved in an auto accident and want the best chance to receive compensation for your losses, it’s important to keep track of all the details surrounding the accident. If possible, take pictures or video of the accident scene with your phone and retain all documents and records related to the accident, including insurance cards, medical records, names of witnesses, and anything else you’re provided with or can ask for.
You should also take notes and write down everything you can about the accident as soon as possible after it occurs. Maintain an ongoing, written record for things like medical treatments, how you feel at various points and how the accident has affected your life and your family. The more detailed you can be, the stronger your case.
If you plan to seek compensation for damages, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The earlier an attorney can start an investigation, the better. In some cases, time can interfere with evidence as memories of what happened can fade. It is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible so he or she can investigate to determine who is at fault and responsible for any damages you have suffered.