What Car Accident Damages Can I Claim?

The car accident damages a victim can claim will vary, depending on the severity of the injury, and the financial and non-economic losses that are caused by the accident. Damages are the compensation that can be recovered in a claim after a car accident has occurred. Car accident damages do not just have to include medical bills or car repairs, but depending on the severity of the crash can include a wider range of financial problems caused by the wreck. 

This knowledge can help the millions of Americans who get into car accidents each year. Auto collision injuries ranging from minor to severe often require some level of medical care. Injury victims may also require time off work to recover. These and other consequences of motor vehicle crashes often put undue financial burdens on those injured. A personal injury lawyer that is experienced in personal injury lawsuits can help injured parties understand the damages they may be entitled to recover, including reimbursement or coverage of associated medical care and lost wages.

Types of Damages in a Car Accident Case

The recoverable damages in car accident cases vary based on several factors, including the type and severity of victims’ injuries, and the resulting financial losses.  

Some types of damages that might be included in a personal injury suit for car accidents can include:

  • Medical bills, which can include hospitalization and surgery costs, medications, and other recovery costs.
  • Lost wages from time lost at work, but also if an injury causes permanent damage, then also what wages they would have made if they have to get a lower paying job. Or if the accident caused a missed opportunity or advancement in a career that would have brought a higher wage.
  • Property damage and other repair costs to the car involved in the accident. This might also include any fees that had to be paid for public transportation, taxis or ride-shares companies that had to be used while the vehicle was being fixed.
  • Pain and suffering can include compensation for physical pain, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life, although these are only a few that make the list. A lawyer can advise what all falls under pain and suffering in a personal injury lawsuit.
  • Funeral and burial costs for the injured party if they died due to the accident. This may also include money to the family to compensate for the loss of financial support if the person who died was the head of household.
  • Punitive damages might also be awarded if the driver was found to be grossly negligent as well as the reason for the accident. Punitive damages can be added by the judge to punish the responsible party so that they will hopefully not do the same actions in the future.

It is best to go get medical attention immediately after the accident, instead of putting it off until later. Waiting to get wounds cared for can make it seem as if the injuries are not that serious, and that can be taken into account during court. 

Once medical attention has been sought, then it is important to ask if care needs to be ongoing or will be handled all at the time of the initial visit. Keep track of all bills, receipts and any other costs that can be associated with the accident so that all appropriate types of damages can be sought in the lawsuit if necessary.

How to Collect Damages After an Accident

For the injured party to be able to collect damages, they will have to prove that the other party was responsible for the accident. A claim should be filed through the responsible party’s insurance prior to attempting to file a personal injury lawsuit to attempt to get compensation from a car accident. This should be done even if the claim will be denied, which might be the case. 

Generally, insurance companies do not want to have to pay out a large sum of money if they are not obligated to do so. If the responsible party’s insurance does offer some sort of settlement, then it would be best to have a car accident lawyer look over the details to make sure it is the best offer. An experienced attorney may advise further negotiations or filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover car accident damages. 

In a lawsuit, an Arizona car accident lawyer will help you prove that the accident was the cause of your injuries. In order to recover compensation, your attorney will prove that the other party was negligent. To this end, your representation will present evidence showing that a duty of care was owed and broken by the responsible party. 

Evidence that may help prove your claim and entitlement to compensation includes:

  • Any police reports that were filed when the accident occurred, as well as any follow-up reports that might be on file
  • Medical bills that arose out of injuries from the accident and any follow-up visits
  • Repair bills from the mechanic or dealership where repair work was completed
  • Eyewitness testimony that can describe what occurred during the accident
  • Any camera footage that can show how the accident occurred
  • The most recent pay stub and the dates of missing work due to the accident

Additional evidence might be necessary depending on the case. A lawyer can help the injured party collect this evidence and attempt to get a car accident settlement prior to it having to go to court, but after the insurance agency is no longer involved. A lawyer can also help determine if the property damage should be handled in a separate case or can be added to the case for injuries. 

It is important after the accident to exchange all information, as well as knowing that it is important not to pay for costs that the injured party is not actually responsible, as Nevada law requires the responsible party to pay for the costs arising out of an accident. If the other driver was driving a company owned car, then their employer might have to pay out for some of the damages. This is information that the injured party should provide to their lawyer, as it can affect how their claim is handled and what money they will be able to receive and from which party.

How Long do You Have to File For Damages?

Typically, the injured party has two years to be able to file for damages in a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims may vary state to state, so it is important to know what the local rules are for filing these types of cases. 

If the deadline for filing has passed, the court may dismiss your lawsuit. . As such, it is a good idea to start looking into filing as soon as after the accident as possible if insurance is not going to pay an agreeable amount or the claim has been denied for some reason. This way if the responsible party does not want to settle then the injured party can begin to gather evidence and consult a lawyer to file a personal injury lawsuit. 

Keeping in mind that once the case has been filed, then this timeframe does not have to be taken into, account. This is due to the fact of how long the court process can take. Depending on where and when the accident took place can mean how easy it will to obtain enough proof to be able to file the case with confidence. 

It is best to start gathering evidence at the accident scene, including pictures of the location, the cars involved and any damage that was sustained. This is also the best time to get the information of any third parties who might have witnessed the event so that they can be contacted later.  

A car accident lawyer can help the injured party to discover possible cameras that might have recorded the accident and obtain a copy to submit as evidence. They will also be able to communicate with any eyewitnesses to give testimony in court to help prove the opposite party was the reason for the accident. They will be able to request any police reports that have been filed and communicate with the police on behalf of the filer if the case requires it. This may even include hiring an accident reconstruction team to prove who was at fault by reconstructing what happened at the time of the accident. 

Some of the court filing and hearing processes may take longer than expected. Therefore, it is best to begin as soon as possible after the accident. This way, the injured party will be able to get a fair amount of car accident damages, and not miss out due to attempting to file the suit after the allotted time period. This can be done without the aid of a lawyer, however, a lawyer will be able to advise on how to collect damages from a car accident of all types, which may not occur to the injured party.

Chris Burk
Chris Burk

Christopher D. Burk has been protecting the rights of injured victims in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Hawaii since 2004. He believes that when a person is injured because another person or company was careless, the negligent parties should be held accountable for the damages they’ve caused.

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