Filing a car accident claim is an effective way to recover damages after a crash. Many factors go into determining the amount and type of compensation to which you are entitled. While the best way to determine damages is to speak with an experienced accident attorney, here is a brief overview of common damages recoverable after a car accident.
Costs of Medical Care
In most cases, you can seek compensation for the cost of medical care directly related to your accident injuries. This includes those immediately after it and any continuing care required going forward. It is important to remember that some injuries sustained in crashes necessitate long-term care. Others require follow-up treatment over many years. These costs should be included in any damages you seek.
Some common medical costs that can be recovered include:
- Doctor visits
- Physical therapy
- Adaptive equipment
- In-home care
Injuries are a common result of car accidents. Therefore, it is important to seek medical care even if you feel fine in the minutes after a crash. You may have an injury that is hidden by the initial shock of your accident. Other types of injuries may not display symptoms for several days. Seeing a doctor right away establishes a connection between your injuries and the accident.
Sadly, thousands of lives are lost on U.S. roads every year. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 42,939 deaths occurred in fatal car crashes in 2021. When a loved one dies in a car crash caused by another driver, you may be able to recover costs associated with funeral and burial expenses. In cases where the at-fault driver is negligent, such as drunk, impaired or distracted driving, you may also be able to seek wrongful death damages.
Pain and Suffering
The term pain and suffering includes the physical pain of an accident along with any emotional suffering resulting from it. Physical injuries are often clearly defined, and an appropriate monetary compensation amount can be easily determined. However, intangible injuries, such as emotional trauma or a loss of reputation are more difficult to assess. Regardless, victims of car accidents are often entitled to compensation for these injuries.
Speaking with an experienced car accident lawyer is an excellent way to establish a monetary value for these intangible injuries. Some examples of pain and suffering that may be considered when seeking damages include:
- Emotional trauma
- Physical pain from injuries
- Permanent loss of function of body parts
- Anxiety and fear of future injuries
- Permanent disability
- Damage to personal relationships resulting from the accident
Property damage is one of the most straightforward types of damage after a car accident. The costs include repairs to or replacement of your vehicle and replacing any items damaged inside it because of the crash. This can include items such as eyeglasses, electronics and other personal items.
A sometimes overlooked cost included in property damage is associated with the loss of transportation if your car is undrivable. If you had to use public transportation or a rental car while your personal vehicle was repaired, then you can attempt to recover those costs as well.
You may incur financial losses associated with missing work because of injuries or medical care after an accident. For example, you may miss work while recovering immediately after the accident, or you may need to take time off to attend medical appointments. This compounds the financial strain of seeking medical care. In many cases, you can seek damages for these costs from the at-fault driver.
In addition to lost wages directly associated with the accident, your future earning capacity may be affected by injuries. Additionally, certain injuries may limit your ability to perform your work, which could impact future earnings. The at-fault driver may be liable for these damages, which can be significant.
When the at-fault driver in a car accident is found to be grossly negligent, you may be able to recover punitive damages. These are limited by state regulations. In South Carolina, limits are $500,000 or three times the actual damages recovered, whichever is greater.
Start your Car Accident Claim Today
If you were the victim of a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries, property damage, pain and suffering or the wrongful death of a loved one. Our accident lawyers at The Jeffcoat Firm will perform a free consultation to evaluate your case and determine the best way to proceed with seeking damages. Contact us to schedule your free case evaluation today.