Learn how to receive compensation after a car accident injury
No matter how much you practice safe driving habits and pay attention to all the road precautions, the chances of getting involved in a car crash in California are high. According to a recent study by the California Highway Patrol, 193,564 motor vehicle crashes caused 277,160 injuries in 2017.
With such alarming figures, the unfortunate truth is that many of us will be involved in a car accident at some point in our lives, often leading to significant damages and injuries. Fortunately, if you were injured in a car accident because of someone else’s negligence, you should be able to submit a claim to recover damages.
This article will explain the different types of car accident damages you can recover in California.
The term “economic damages” refers to compensation you can recover for financial losses. Below are the most common recoverable economic damages after a car crash.
Property damage refers to the destruction caused to your vehicle after a car crash. Still, other items in your car may also be damaged during the crash and may be covered, including:
- Car seats
- Valuable luggage
Therefore, any compensation offer you get should sufficiently cover your car repairs and any other related property damages.
These are costs you incur while recovering from your bodily injuries. Your medical bills will vary depending on the severity of your injuries. Sometimes, these costs can quickly add up. For instance, if you sustained severe or catastrophic injuries, you might need extra money for ongoing medical care.
Any car accident settlement you receive should be enough to cover all of your medical expenses. These should include past, present and future medical bills. Examples of medical bills arising from a California car crash include:
- Physical therapy
- Ambulance fees
- Occupational therapy
- Medical devices and accessories
- In-home services
- Doctors appointments
- Long-term care
If you suffer severe injuries during a car accident, it may limit your ability to work or prevent you from returning to work if you sustain permanent injuries. An inability to earn a paycheck can cause you and your family significant financial stress during an already stressful time.
Any compensation you accept should cover your lost earnings while you recover as well as any loss of future wages. When calculating compensation for lost future wages, several factors come into play, including your:
- Skill level
- Injury severity
- Life expectancy
An experienced personal injury attorney can give you an estimate of the potential future earnings compensation you may be entitled to based on your individual circumstances.
Non-economic damages provide compensation for more subjective, non-monetary losses, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium or companionship, and loss of the ability to participate in your regular household, marital and parental duties.
Determining how much money you deserve for your pain and suffering and emotional distress after a car crash is difficult as it’s somewhat subjective. Damage amounts vary depending on the type of injury and its effect on your quality of life.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine how much compensation you may be entitled to for the emotional, physical and mental pain or stress you sustained during and after a car crash.
Damages in a wrongful death claim
Sadly, about 3,482 fatal car crashes caused the death of 3,904 Californians in 2017. If you lose a loved one in a fatal car accident caused by an at-fault driver, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit, which is a type of personal injury lawsuit. Wrongful death benefits are similar to those in personal injury cases and may include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical treatment expenses before death (surgeries, doctor’s appointments, hospital stay, medications and other medical devices and services)
- Lost potential future earnings
- Loss of consortium (companionship)
- Pain and suffering and emotional distress
- Value of household contributions
In California, certain individuals and dependents of the deceased may be eligible for compensation in wrongful death cases caused by a fatal car accident. The dependents eligible for a wrongful death claim may include:
- Domestic partner
If none of these people exist, other eligible parties may include parents, stepchildren or a “putative spouse,” defined as a partner who was not legally married but had an established, long-term relationship with the deceased.
Punitive or exemplary damages are awarded in cases in which the defendant's behavior was particularly careless or malicious. They're not meant to punish the wrongdoer for their actions and deter others from similar acts.
Punitive damages are rare but may be applicable in cases where you can prove that a defendant's reckless or intentional behavior caused the accident.
Contact a California car accident attorney
Personal injury and car accident cases can be complicated. In order to recover compensation, it’s essential that you follow the necessary procedures and adhere to all filing deadlines, known as statutes of limitations. Failing to file the correct paperwork in a timely manner could keep you from receiving the compensation you deserve.
Always consider contacting an experienced personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement from an insurance company. Insurance companies rarely make you a fair initial offer, as their goal is to pay you as little as possible. A personal injury attorney knows how to negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive the full compensation to which you’re entitled.
If you’ve been injured in an accident in California or Texas, the experienced personal injury attorneys at MVP Accident Attorneys are here to help. Our firm has recovered millions of dollars for our clients across California and Texas, and we'd love to help you too.
Contact us today for your free, no-obligation consultation. There’s never a fee unless we win your case.