We get this question a lot – “What am I entitled to in a car accident?” This is not a one-size-fits-all answer. Every car accident has its own unique circumstances, so the answer is that it depends. Below, our San Jose car accident lawyer explains common car accident damages and factors that can affect your case.
Common Car Accident Damages
There are generally three types of damages:
- Punitive damages
Economic Damages in a Car Accident
Economic damages are quantitative. The court can assess and calculate these damages through records, as many of these damages are out-of-pocket expenses you accrued after your accident. Economic damages generally include:
- Past and future medical costs. Medical costs can cover a wide variety of expenses, such as hospital bills, surgery bills, prescriptions and rehabilitation costs. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may need lifelong care. You can include this in your claim and the court will assess compensation for your future medical costs.
- Lost wages and future earning potential. If you missed work or cannot work due to your injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for your lost income. Additionally, if your injuries limit your job functions, you may be able to recover compensation for future earning potential.
- Property damage. You may be able to recover compensation to either repair the damages to your vehicle or to replace your vehicle if it is totaled. You may also be able to recover compensation for other personal property that was damaged in the crash.
Noneconomic damages are more difficult to calculate, because they are intangible. Noneconomic damages are non-financial losses you endured from your accident. They may include:
- Pain and suffering. Pain and suffering may include emotional anguish, PTSD and loss of quality of life.
- Loss of consortium. This type of damage is for loss of companionship. If you lost a loved one in the accident, then you may claim loss of consortium.
Punitive Damages in a Car Accident
Punitive damages are not as common in car accident cases. Punitive damages may be applicable if the other party was drunk or especially negligent. These damages punish the at-fault party for being reckless or committing gross negligence.
What Kind of Settlement Should I Expect From a Car Accident?
How much to expect from a car accident settlement depends on the circumstances surrounding your case. It is difficult to estimate what damages you may be able to recover after a crash without assessing your situation. We recommend that you speak to our San Jose car accident lawyer during a free consultation. He can review the circumstances of your accident and may be able to give you an idea what damages you may claim.
Generally, though, many factors can contribute to a settlement. Factors may include:
- The severity of your car accident and injuries
- Economic damages, such as medical costs and lost wages
- Noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering
Other factors you need to consider include:
- Accident fault. It is possible that the negligent party will try to blame you for some of the accident. California is a comparative fault state. This means you can recover compensation even if you are found partially at fault for the accident. However, the amount you receive will be reduced.
- The amount the negligent party and his or her insurance company is willing to pay. Even though your case may be worth more, the responsible party has to agree to it. Typically, there will be back and forth negotiation between both parties.
- The amount of compensation you are willing to accept. The insurance company may try to settle with you quickly after an accident. You should not sign or accept anything until speaking with an attorney. You want to make sure that you recover enough compensation for past, present and future costs.
- Trial. If you cannot come to a fair settlement, then litigating your case may be the best way for you to recover the compensation you need. Then, a local jury will decide how much to award in damages.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Maximize My Car Accident Claim?
An experienced car accident lawyer can assist you in many ways, including:
- Case evaluation. After discussing your situation, an attorney can help you understand whether you have a viable claim to recover compensation and the best way to proceed. Your lawyer may also be able to give you a better idea of what you are entitled to in a car accident.
- Case preparation. Case preparation may include investigating the accident scene, gathering evidence, establishing liability and building a strong case for you.
- Case presentation. Your attorney will work to negotiate a fair settlement for you. Our San Jose car accident attorney’s goal is to maximize the outcome for our clients. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, we litigate for our clients to obtain compensation they need to recover.
Contact Our San Jose Car Accident Attorney to Discuss Your Potential Claim
We understand the physical, financial and emotional turmoil and devastation that car accidents can cause to victims and their families. Our experienced San Jose car accident lawyer may be able to help you recover the compensation you need to recover. Call our office today at (408) 650-8955. You can also fill out our online contact form and we will be in touch with you soon.