A car accident can turn your life upside-down. In the following days, months and even years, many people continue to feel the effects in various aspects of their lives.
Pursuing a lawsuit can help you get financial compensation for several types of losses. Speaking with an attorney about the potential value of your case can help you understand what to expect.
Pain and suffering
Even though not all harm from a car accident is financial, the law has no other way to make you whole for damage you suffer due to physical pain, emotional trauma and effects on personal relationships. Thus, a damages award often includes a portion to address non-economic harm.
The bulk of most award amounts typically consists of compensation for financial damage. An accident can cause your expenses to rise and your income to plummet. You may face bills for medical treatments, medication and assistive devices. If your injury prevents you from taking care of your normal daily living tasks, you may need to hire someone to help you with them.
At the same time, injuries can involve disabilities that may prevent you from working temporarily or permanently. Some people may continue to work but have to cut down their hours, pass up promotion opportunities, or receive training for work in a different and potentially lower-paying field.
Economic damages may be easier to calculate than those for pain and suffering, but the process is not always straightforward. When dealing with expenses you have already sustained, you can total up invoices and receipts. However, calculating likely future damages may involve getting opinions from experts in various fields who can describe your predicted medical progress and needs as well as how much you would likely have earned over the remainder of your life had the accident not occurred.
In some fairly rare cases, you may also have grounds to request punitive damages, which aim to punish wrongdoers rather than compensate their victims. These damages may only be available if the defendant caused the accident through intentional and particularly bad conduct rather than mere carelessness. For example, impaired driving may qualify as intentional wrongdoing that may give rise to punitive damages.