Any person who has been hurt in a motor vehicle accident knows that the aftermath can be much worse than other people realize. Often, it is not as simple as getting a car fixed, taking some aspirin and staying off your feet for a few days. There can also be medical bills, missed work, total loss of vehicle and other consequences that people may not have anticipated.
Considering all that can be damaged or lost in an accident, victims and their families should understand their options for taking legal action to pursue compensation. Filing a personal injury claim can help people collect the financial resources they need to cope with a crash.
There are a few different types of damages that may be awarded after a motor vehicle accident: economic, non-economic and punitive.
Economic damages refer to the actual financial losses suffered as a result of a crash. This would include:
- Medical expenses
- Wages lost due to an inability to work
- Domestic services
- Costs of repairing damaged property
Non-economic damages include those things that can not necessarily be calculated but are still costly. Essentially, they address damages that affect a person’s ability to enjoy life. These damages could include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Mental anguish
- Loss of support or guidance
Finally, there may be punitive damages to pursue. These are not available in every case, but when they are, they can be significant. Punitive damages are awarded in situations where a party acted with gross negligence or intentional misconduct. Under these circumstances, courts may award punitive damages specifically to punish the party responsible and to deter others from engaging in the same conduct.
Knowing the types of damages that may be available after car accidents and other personal injury cases should help victims and their families get an understanding of all the different ways a person’s life can be affected by a crash. If you or a loved one has been injured in a serious accident, it may be wise to discuss the situation with an attorney who can help you assess your legal options to pursue a claim.