Every year, millions of car accidents occur in the U.S causing death, injury, and property damage. When minor accidents occur, the parties involved may simply file reports with the police, contact their insurance providers, and pay their losses out of pocket. When an accident is more than minor, however, the parties who are not at fault should know that they can be compensated for damage to their vehicles and property as well as for other damages.
Those injured in car accidents are likely to face expenses related to the accident. Expenses such as bills for medical treatment, rehabilitation, vehicle rentals or other alternative transport expenses can all build up very quickly even before an accident case is settled.
What’s worse, accident victims are likely to lose income due to their inability to work at the same time as their expenses are piling up. Many car accident attorneys find that victims are often convinced to sign over their rights long before their injuries have healed. They may also lose their ability to perform many of the normal activities of daily living- either in the short term or permanently. Long term pain is another possible result which can make long-term therapeutic care necessary.
The need for rehabilitation therapies can last for years and become an essentially permanent necessity for those injured in a car accident. Needless to say, the pain and suffering that goes along with such incidents can be difficult to measure.
Accident victims can be compensated for all of these types of injuries and all related expenses. Auto accident victims may receive what are called compensatory damages. Compensations of this kind are intended to restore the injured party to as near to their previous state of well-being as possible, what the law refers to as being made whole.
There are two varieties of compensatory damages for which victims can be awarded; economic damages, as well as non-economic damages. Economic damages are those awarded to restore all of the ‘out of pocket’ expenses incurred as the injured party has worked to endure the incident.
These include all the extra expenses of day to day activities which can be said to be responses to the damage caused by the accident. Taxi fare over time, lost wages, and replaced property fall into this category. Non-economic damages are awarded for the pain and suffering experienced by the injured party.
Both forms of compensatory damages may be available to victims of automobile accidents once the value of their claim has been determined. In extreme cases, where an assault or negligence is involved, punitive damages may be awarded. In cases where violence, reckless behavior, collisions resulting from an auto manufacturer’s defective products, or a fault with the roadway caused the accident- the victim may receive funds made available via punitive damages.