Car collisions can be scary and startling, but often they’re nothing more than that. Most of the time, drivers are able to motor away after a minor fender bender. But what happens when you’re involved in something more than a fender bender: a serious collision that leaves you or somebody else injured? Should you claim damages? If so, how do you go about it?
What Damages Can You Claim?
Most people don’t ever become involved in a personal injury lawsuit, so they aren’t aware of how damages work when a claim must be made. If you’ve been in a car crash, you may wish to seek one or more of the following, dependent on the circumstances.
1. Medical Expenses
Medical expenses are the first item to consider. Depending on the extent of your injuries and the level of care you received, they may include surgical procedures, ambulance fees, physical therapy, cognitive therapy, medication, medical equipment and accessories, in-home services, and consultations with health-care professionals.
2. Pain And Suffering
“Pain and suffering is legally defined as mental or physical distress for which one may seek damages in a lawsuit. These damages are based on the type of injury, the seriousness of the pain suffered, and the prognosis for future pain associated with the injury,” FindLaw explains.
“Pain and suffering may also include mental and/or emotional damage stemming from the incident, such as anxiety or stress.” Pain and suffering is a little more difficult to monetize accurately than medical expenses, but it’s just as important.
Each state has its own methods for awarding pain and suffering. You will want to work with an attorney who has solid experience in your jurisdiction.
3. Lost Wages
If a car accident prevents you from returning to work in a timely manner — or otherwise limits your future earning capacity — you might be entitled to recover some of this money. Lost wages claims are typically based on past earnings.
4. Loss Of Affection Or Companionship
Though not as common as the previous three types of damages, your spouse may be able to claim a loss of affection or companionship — also known as loss of consortium — if you suffer from sexual dysfunction or an inability to maintain the same kind or level of relationship as you did prior to the accident.
When To Hire A Car Accident Attorney
“You can’t control what other drivers do. However, if you suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, you can control what you do next,” Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. explains.
If you’ve simply been in a car crash and nobody got hurt, you probably don’t need an attorney. But if there are pain and suffering, physical or emotional, you should definitely consider meeting with a lawyer to get expert advice on how to proceed.
You might believe the insurance companies have your best interests in mind, but honestly, they’re also going to be watching the bottom line. They might offer you a comforting sum of money as a settlement, but there’s a good chance it represents only a fraction of the total you might really be entitled to.
If you’ve suffered serious injuries and/or feel as if the insurance company is trying to take advantage of you, it’s in your best interest to seek legal counsel.
Watch Out For Your Best Interest
In the wake of a serious car accident, a lot of people may be involved. There are victims, insurance companies, doctors, loved ones, and attorneys.
It’s easy to become so overwhelmed by all the back-and-forth that you start to zone out. Although this may be a fairly stressful time for you, it’s imperative to lean in and watch out for your best interest.
Being educated on the situation is the first step. This article has presented some of the basic information you’re apt to need, but make sure you contact an attorney for adequate legal advice.
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