You’ve been hurt in a car accident. While you would give anything to go back and avoid the crash, you can’t. Instead, you have to pick up the pieces and move forward with your life. You have to focus on the types of compensation you can recover if someone else’s negligent actions resulted in your car accident injuries.
You May Be Eligible to Recover for a Variety of Medical Expenses
Medical costs can quickly escalate if you’ve been hurt in an accident. Your fair and just recovery should include compensation for the medical costs that you have already incurred, the medical costs you are currently accruing, and the cost of your future medical needs. More specifically, you may be able to recover for your past, current and future:
- Ambulance trips
- Hospital stays
- Medical tests
- Doctors’ visits
- Rehabilitation therapies such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and psychological counseling
- Assistive medical devices such as prostheses, crutches, wheelchairs, braces, and other devices
- Cost of travel to get necessary medical care
- Other medical expenses
It will be easy enough to prove your past and current medical expenses because you should have bills that you can submit to establish your expenses. However, proving your reasonably-anticipated future medical expenses may be harder. In order to do that, you will likely need a doctor or other expert to provide specific information about what your future expenses may be and why.
Recovering Lost Income for Missed Work both Past and Future
Recovering lost income is similar to recovering for your medical expenses in that you may be able to recover for your past, current, and future lost income. Lost income can include:
- Wages. Likely future increases in wages should be accounted for when determining the amount of lost future income.
- Benefits. The cost of the benefits—such as health insurance or life insurance—that your employer is no longer paying may be considered lost income.
- Money you earned from your own clients or your own business. People who are self-employed may recover for the income they are unable to earn.
When building your case, it’s important to consider all potential sources of income and to have the necessary documentation to support your claim for compensation.
Recovering for Physical Pain and Emotional Suffering
The expenses you can put a specific number on—such as lost income and medical expenses—are only a small part of what your car accident injuries have really cost you. The physical pain you have to endure and the emotional suffering you live with are among the most significant damages caused by your accident and are worthy of compensation. Things that may be considered in your pain and suffering recovery include:
- The severity of the pain caused by your injuries.
- The types of things you can no longer do because of your injuries.
- Any disabilities or scarring that will permanently impact you as a result of the crash.
- Fear or anxiety that results from the accident.
- Changes in your personal relationships as a result of your accident injuries.
- A change in your life expectancy.
- Other changes in your lifestyle.
Of course, each case is unique and you will need to justify your demand for pain and suffering compensation.
Recovering Other Types of Damages
The goal of a car accident recovery is to compensate you for all of the injuries and expenses that were caused by someone else’s negligent or intentional actions. Thus, in some cases you may be able to recover additional types of damages such as:
- Property damage. You may be compensated for the damage done to your vehicle in the accident and to any other property you own that was damaged in the accident.
- Out of pocket costs. Any expenses that were caused by your accident injuries may be compensable. For example, if you had to hire someone to do the things you used to do before you were hurt such as housework, cooking, driving, or taking care of your kids, you may be compensated for these out-of-pocket costs. Additionally, if you have to make modifications to your home to make it accessible for you, those costs may be included in your recovery.
As with other damages such as medical bills and lost income, you will need to establish the specific value of these types of damages in order to be compensated.
Depending on the Circumstances, Even Punitive Damages Are Possible
All of the damages discussed thus far in this article are compensatory damages. The purpose of these damages is to reimburse you for the harm that was done by the other driver.
Punitive damages are different from compensatory damages. The purpose of punitive damages is not to compensate you, but rather to punish the driver who hurt you. In Georgia, a car accident victim can only recover punitive damages if the person responsible for the car crash acted with intentional, willful, wanton, or callous indifference to another person’s safety and the injured party can prove this with clear and convincing evidence. Punitive damages may, for example, be awarded if you were hurt by a drunk driver. South Carolina also allows a person injured in a car crash to recover punitive damages if the plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that the harm done was the result of the defendant’s willful, wanton, or reckless conduct. The amount of punitive damages may be limited by law.
It’s Up to You to Protect Your Fair Recovery
You are entitled to recover fair and just compensation for the unique injuries you suffered when someone else caused a car accident. However, first you are going to have to prove that the other driver is liable for your accident and resulting injuries and the value of the damages you are seeking.
While the burden is on you, you do not have to do it alone. Instead, you have the right to contact an experienced Georgia and South Carolina car accident lawyer to help you get the fair recovery you deserve. To find out more about your rights and about how an experienced attorney can help you, please start a live chat with us today and schedule your own free, no obligation consultation.