We often read news articles about why serious car accidents happen. We learn that millions of drivers are staring at their phones instead of the road, and that defective steering columns can lead to loss of control. We read statistics showing that a fatigued driver can be just as dangerous as a drunk driver.
While this is all certainly important and can help us become better drivers, the information does not necessarily help victims who have already been hurt in a crash. In this situation, it can be vital to acknowledge the various ways in which a car accident has affected person’s life.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of damages people experience after a serious car accident: economic and non-economic.
Crash victims and their families can experience financial or economic damages as a result of an accident.
They often have to pay medical bills and take time off work, potentially leading to lost wages and benefits. Victims may need to pay for in-home care and equipment to make it easier to get around. It is also possible that they could see an increase in childcare and transportation expenses.
Damages that cannot necessarily be calculated and won’t come with a receipt typically fall into the non-economic damages category.
These damages include pain and suffering, as well as the emotional distress victims experience as a result of their injuries. There may also be damages associated with disfiguring injuries, loss of opportunity and loss of enjoyment.
What about punitive damages?
In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded to victims of car accidents. However, these damages are in place specifically to punish recklessness and egregious behaviors; they are not damages suffered by a victim.
Legal guidance crucial when seeking damages
Assessing the full extent of damages after an accident can be challenging for victims, particularly when they are focused on recovery. As such, it can be helpful to work with an attorney who can help you understand the compensation that may be available after an accident and build a claim to pursue what you deserve.