There are many types of damages which you may claim if you are having a sustained car accident injury. Claim for medical expenses is chief among all but you may also claim damages for the lost wages, pain and suffering or loss of affection which is also called as loss of consortium.
If you get in a car accident the injuries may be minor such as few cuts or serious injuries such as paralysis or permanent disability. Remember that some injuries will not produce symptoms at first but you may need medical care later. So it’s very important to go through the medical examination immediately after the car accident. The medical expenses are arising from the car accident which includes the following:
- Ambulance fees
- Consultations with the health care professionals
- Accessories such as the heat pads and crutches
- Permanent disability
- Physical and cognitive therapy
If your doctors think that you need an additional medical treatment or any therapy at the time when your claim is settled then your attorney will calculate the likely costs. Doctors and health care professionals will help with these estimates. If a driver is legally liable for the death of another driver then the surviving family could file a claim for the wrongful death.
Pain and suffering
The pain and suffering is also defined as the mental and physical distress which may seek damages. These damages are based on the type of injuries. The pain and suffering also includes the mental and emotional damages which occurred after the accident. Many states allow the plaintiffs to include the pain and suffering damages for the general loss of life. Always remember that all states don’t award the damages for the pain and suffering in same way.
After the car accident some injuries may cause you to lose your earning capacity. It also includes an inability to work due to some physical therapy sessions. The time you spent in the hospital and problem with the mobility. You have to prove that your injuries have diminished your ability to earn money in the future. Your insurance company will consider the factors such as age, occupation, skill, and the life expectancy.
Wrongful death lawsuits are brought by the surviving family whose family member have been killed in the accident by someone negligence or by the intentional act. A family member can bring a wrongful death action. The spouses are allowed to bring the action in every state whereas the parents can bring the action for their minor child. Note that the rules are different for the adult children when parents sue for the wrongful death as well as even for the cousins or any other relative.
Loss of companionship
The family member can brought this action for the individual who has been killed in the accident. It will help to compensate to the family member for the loss of relationship of the family member.
Economic and non-economic damages
The categories of the damages are divided into two different types of damages:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
The economic damages are those damages which are awarded as the direct result for the actual financial loss. For example medical bills or lost wages are the economic damages because you can add up the dollar amount for such losses which is sustained by the plaintiff.
The non-economic damages are those damages where you can’t point to the financial cost to the plaintiff. The non-economic damages include the pain and suffering and the emotional distress.
Types of car insurance coverage for the personal injury
Before seeking for the compensation you have to understand the types of car insurance which covers the personal injury. It only depends on your policy and the nature of your car accident.
- The driver’s bodily injury liability coverage. It will apply when the accident occurred due to the negligence of the other driver. Remember that your own liability policy will not cover you.
- Personal injury protection (PIP) it is also called as the no fault insurance. The personal injury protection insurance will cover your medical costs up to your policy limits even if you are the defaulter.
- Medical payment coverage will cover the cost of your medical expenses. This policy is very similar to the personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Keep in mind that the medical payment will only cover your medical bills but the PIP will cover the funeral expenses or any loss related to the services.
Factors that affect the compensation for the personal injury
Make sure that after the accident immediately contact to your insurance company because you have the less amount of time to have your claim settled. Your insurance company will assign you the claim adjuster which will proceed your claiming process. The claim adjuster will review such factors:
- Your police reports
- Witness testimonies
- Photographs which are taken from the crime scene
- Statement of the other driver or passengers
Damages in personal injury cases
The damages in the personal injury case are referred to the cost of your injuries. The injuries which are sustained in the accident are:
- Direct financial costs
- Indirect or emotional cost
The compensatory damages are very common which include the following:
Specific damages- the specific damages refer to the specific valued amount which is related to the accident injuries and loss these include:
- The cost of the medical bills
- Any loss of property
- Lost wages
- Loss of the earning capacity
General damages- the general damages are those damages which are not calculated easily. It includes:
- The pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of the consortium
- Loss of the extremity
If the defendant was legally responsible for the accident then you may get the punitive damages which are imposed by the court to punish the defendant. Make sure to talk to your insurance agent if you have any query about the damages.
How the plaintiff action affect the damages award
- Comparative negligence- if you are the defaulter for the accident from which the injuries caused then there might be a chance that damage award will reflect that. Many states are adhering to the comparative negligence which links the damages to the degree of the fault in case of the personal injury.
- Contributory negligence- some states are following the concept of the contributory negligence for the personal injury. In this case you will not able to recover the compensation if you are partial defaulter for the accident.
Claiming compensation under third party motor insurance
The comprehensive motor insurance policy is having a bundled insurance policy together which includes the third party insurance and the own damages cover. Some policies come with built in personal accident cover. The own damages and personal accident insurance policy will cover your accident losses such as personal injury or any damages to your vehicle, disability or any death. The third party insurance policy is mandatory for all vehicle owners according to the motor vehicles act. The third party insurance policy is also known as the act only insurance. Keep in mind that your third party will not cover your vehicle or even you it will only cover the legal liability damages.
In the third party insurance policy the first party is the insured whereas the second party is the insurance company. Remember that here the third party is the third person. Under the third party insurance policy the third party can file the claim for the compensation of the injury, death or any damage to the property which is caused by your car. At the time of the claiming compensation the third party can sue you or even your insurance company.
Putting a dollar amount to your claim – the settlement formula
If you are placing the dollar value to your claim can be a challenging but if you are dealing with the insurance company to settle your claim will not be complicated. The money which you spent on the accident is paid by the insurance company. The pain and suffering or the emotional distress causes by the injury involve more negotiation. Many insurance companies are using the formula to help the pinpoint of the reasonable dollar amount for the pain and suffering.
The formula can be look like this: the total medical expenses or any special damages are multiplied by the number which reflects the seriousness of the injury to obtain the figure which reflects the general damages such as pain and suffering or emotional distress. The special damages, general damages or the lost income are added together to create the figure which begins the negotiations for the settlement of the claim.
For the minor injuries the calculation is made like this:
The total medical expenses * 2 = general damages
Total medical expenses + general damages + lost income = settlement offer.
Your own carelessness can affect your recovery
If you are the partial defaulter or mostly at the fault for the accident the insurance adjuster will decrease your settlement offer by the percentage which reflects your own responsibility for the accident. But if the other driver is defaulter for the accident completely then your settlement will be 100% for all the damages or lost income to be negotiated.