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What damages may I recover following an accident?

Car accidents happen everyday. Many times these collisions result in injuries relating to the back, neck, head, and brain, among others. While focusing on physical recovery can be challenging, what you can recover financially will depend upon the kind of damages you've suffered, both during and after the accident. So, what types of damages might be available for those whose lives have been impacted by a car accident? The following is a list of damages you may be entitled to legally recover from the party at fault.

Medical Expenses

These include bills and expenses for medical services such as doctors, hospital stays, emergency room treatment, ambulance fees, and nursing services. Some injuries may not be apparent at first or may need additional medical care down the road. If you believe you may have been injured, it is important to have a medical professional conduct a thorough medical examination. The total amount of medical expenses is sometimes used as a rough guide to decide whether the overall award of damages is reasonable. 

Future Medical Expenses

This type of recovery is reserved for those who will need continued medical care as a result of the accident or injury. The proof must be sufficient for the jury to make an approximate estimate of the cost, i.e. through the medical opinion of a treating doctor.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is legally defined as mental or physical distress for which one may seek damages in a lawsuit. Pain and suffering may also include mental and/or emotional damage stemming from the incident, such as anxiety or stress. To place a monetary value on pain and suffering, the jury considers the nature of the injury, the certainty of future pain, its severity, and how long the plaintiff is likely to be in pain.

Lost Wages

These damages represent the amount of money a plaintiff would have earned from the time of the injury to the date of settlement or judgment. This may also include an inability to work due to physical therapy sessions, time spent in a hospital, and problems with mobility. You must be able to prove that the injuries have impaired or diminished your ability to earn money in the future, based largely on past earnings. A jury will consider factors such age, occupation, skill, experience, and life expectancy.

Lost Earning Capacity

This type of damage focuses on what you might have earned were it not for the accident or injury. After an accident or injury, these damages may be recovered if the plaintiff can show that his or her ability to earn money in the future has been impaired or diminished by the injuries. Factors that help determine whether an award should be made include past earnings, occupation, the plaintiff's age, health, life expectancy, experience, and training.

Disfigurement

If the accident has deformed or disfigured the injured party (scars or other permanent effects on personal appearance) they may be able to collect damages for any mental suffering that arises due to awareness of the disfigurement. These damages are sometimes included as an element of other types of damages, such as mental anguish. 

Mental Anguish

Any mental suffering or emotional distress associated with an accident or injury, including fright, terror, apprehension, nervousness, anxiety, worry, humiliation, mortification, feeling of lost dignity, embarrassment, grief, and shock. 

Loss of Affection or Companionship

If you are married, an injury could deprive you and your spouse of the ability to show affection, including sexual activity, which is referred to in legal terms as a "loss of consortium." Unlike other types of damages, loss of affection, companionship, and/or consortium are typically claimed by the uninjured spouse. But these types of damages cannot be recovered if you don't recover damages for your injuries. A value is placed on this loss by considering the couple's individual life expectancies, whether the marriage was stable, how much care and companionship was bestowed upon the uninjured spouse (or vice versa), and the extent to which the benefits of married life have been lost.

Special Damages

This is a general category of damages that covers all monetary losses that are quantifiable through documented proof such as medical expenses detailed in medical bills. Recovery requires detailed proof that the losses were sustained, and a showing of how much money was involved.

You may be entitled to a number of different damages described above among others. This in not an exhaustive list as your rights to damages hinge on the facts of your case.

If you've suffered a loss due to a motor vehicle accident and have questions concerning your rights, contact Miller Law Firm for a free consultation.

 

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