What types of damages are available after a car accident?
If you’ve been in a car accident that was caused by someone else, you probably know that you are entitled to compensation for the crash. You probably know that you are entitled to the money that you’ve spent or that you owe for your medical bills, and you’ve also probably heard of pain and suffering.
But what other types of damages are you entitled to after a car wreck?
Below, we will go through most of the categories of damages that you are entitled to after a car accident in SC, including:
- Economic and non-economic damages,
- Property damage,
- Current and future medical costs,
- Lost wages,
- Pain and Suffering,
- Loss of Consortium,
- Scarring and Disfigurement,
- Mental Anguish and Emotional Distress,
- Punitive Damages, and
- Damages for survival and wrongful death.
Types of Damages After a Car Accident: Economic Damages
Economic damages are a broad category of damages that you can easily put a dollar figure on because there are bills, invoices, or estimates that say exactly how much you have spent or that you owe.
If you have spent or owe money for anything that was directly caused by the other driver’s negligence in a car accident, it may be compensable. The most common types of economic damages, however, are property damage, medical costs, and lost wages.
Property damage after a car accident is often taken care of by a separate insurance adjuster and quickly – it is usually okay to settle your property damage claim without the assistance of an attorney, provided:
- They give you the full value of your property damage claim, including diminution in value,
- You do not give a statement to the adjuster or answer questions about liability or your injuries, and
- You are comfortable that you are not being taken advantage of.
In some cases, it is necessary for your attorney to get involved and help to settle your property damage claims – if you are unsure, ask your car accident lawyer before signing any documents or accepting any settlement for property damage.
You are entitled to recover all medical costs that were incurred because of the other driver’s negligence, including:
- Emergency room costs,
- EMS and ambulance bills,
- Doctors’ bills,
- Medical equipment,
- Future medical costs, and
- Long-term care when needed.
You should never settle a car accident claim until 1) you have completed your treatment and your doctor does not think there will be any more expenses, or 2) your attorney has gotten an expert opinion on the costs of your future medical expenses.
You are entitled to receive compensation for the time that you missed from your job because of the car accident, and you are entitled to receive compensation for future lost wages or a reduction in your earning capacity due to ongoing medical problems or disability.
Types of Damages After a Car Wreck: Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages often cannot be quantified by a bill or an invoice, although they sometimes require expert testimony to establish. Although there is no bill from a doctor or hospital, you are entitled to them, and you should never let an insurance adjuster discount them or tell you that they cannot compensate you for them.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is a type of damages that you are entitled to after a car wreck – the pain and the suffering that you endured because of an injury is always compensable.
How much is pain and suffering worth? That depends on the severity of your injuries and the extent of pain that you suffered. You are also entitled to compensation for future pain and suffering if your injuries will continue to affect you beyond the end of your car accident case.
Loss of Consortium
Your spouse can sometimes bring a separate claim for loss of consortium if they have been deprived of the benefits of your family relationship because of the injuries caused by the other driver. This can include the loss of your companionship, affection, and sexual relations.
Scarring and Disfigurement
If the car wreck caused scarring or disfigurement, you are entitled to compensation for either 1) medical procedures to repair the damage or 2) the effects of having to live with the scarring and disfigurement if it cannot be repaired.
Mental Anguish and Emotional Distress
Another important type of damages after a car accident is mental anguish and emotional distress.
In some cases, accident victims will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other emotional distress after a car crash, and, when diagnosed and documented, PTSD is a compensable mental injury.
Punitive damages are not “compensatory” – unlike the other types of damages after a car wreck, they are not intended to “make you whole again.” Instead, they are intended to punish the bad actor, to prevent them from repeating their actions, and to deter others from doing the same thing.
You are entitled to punitive damages if the jury finds that the defendant acted with gross negligence or if the defendant acted intentionally. Although there are caps on punitive damages in SC, there are no caps if the defendant was intoxicated at the time of the accident or if they have been convicted of a felony based on the car wreck.
Wrongful Death Damages After an Auto Accident
When a careless driver kills someone in a car accident, the victim’s family is entitled to survival and wrongful death damages to compensate 1) the family for their losses and 2) the decedent for their suffering before their death, including:
- Funeral expenses and burial costs,
- Medical costs,
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of consortium and companionship,
- Lost earnings,
- Property damage, and
- When appropriate, punitive damages.
Questions About Types of Damages After a Car Accident?
If you are hurt in an auto accident caused by another driver in Conway or Myrtle Beach, SC, consult with an experienced trial lawyer immediately who can help you to gather the evidence you need to prove liability and damages, to settle your claim for full and fair compensation, and to try your case to a jury if the insurance company doesn’t pay.
Call Johnny Gardner Law now at 843-248-7135 or send us an email through our website to find out how we can help.