Silver car in an auto accident, ambulance on the scene

What Kind of Damages Are Available in an Auto Accident Injury Case?

If you have been injured in an auto accident, you may not just be in pain, but you may be suffering extensive financial losses as well. The cost of medical care can quickly hit astronomical levels. You may have needed to take time off from work resulting in lost wages. You may even have needed to quit your job due to the nature of the injuries you sustained. When you are injured due to the negligence of another, the law provides a way for you to seek compensation for the harm you incurred. Through an auto accident injury claim, you may recoup monetary compensation for the losses you incurred due to the accident.

What Kind of Damages Are Available in an Auto Accident Injury Case?

In a tort claim, such as an auto accident injury claim, damages are intended to compensate the victim for the impact the injuries have had on his or her life. While money may never adequately compensate a person for the extreme impact accident injuries can have on his or her life, the damages awarded are intended to set things as right as possible

Damages, for the most part, fall into one of two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages, also referred to as “special” damages, are those damages that are fairly easy to quantify. These damages can usually be assigned a value by using documentation like medical bills and pay stubs. Even future economic damages may be calculated with relative ease through utilizing resources such as medical experts. Economic damages may include:

  • Cost of medical care
  • Nursing care
  • Cost of future medical care
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical therapy

Non-economic damages, also referred to as “general” damages, are much more difficult to value. They are the intangible, but still very real, losses that are sustained as the result of an accident. Non-economic damages include things such as pain and suffering. Mental anguish as well as loss of relationship with a partner, or “loss of consortium,” are also included in non-economic damages. Assigning a dollar value to suffering and loss of this kind is difficult. A number of different factors are evaluated in an attempt to put a dollar amount on non-economic damages.

In addition to economic and non-economic damages, there may be, in very rare cases, punitive damages available to the victim in an auto accident injury case. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate the victim like economic and non-economic damages are. Instead, punitive damages are intended to punish the at-fault party. California limits awarding punitive damages to those cases where the at-fault party acted with malice, oppression, or fraud.

How much a victim will receive in a successful auto accident injury case will widely vary depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. It is important to know, however, that some injured parties may have damages limited pursuant to California’s “pure comparative negligence” law. In pure comparative negligence states, parties involved in an accident are assigned a percentage of fault in causing the accident. If an injury victim is found to be 20% at fault in causing an accident, recovery will be limited to 80% of the damages. For instance, if he or she was entitled to $10,000 in damages, then he or she would be able to recover $8,000.

Personal Injury Attorneys

Through an auto accident injury claim, victims are able to pursue just compensation for the losses sustained as a result of the accident. At SoCal Injury Lawyers, we zealously advocate on behalf of our clients to help ensure they receive the full compensation to which they are legally entitled. Contact us today.