Types of Compensation Available in Car Accident Claims

May 31, 2024

Navigating the outcome of an auto accident can be daunting, especially when it comes to damages, injuries, and the difficulties of insurance claims. Understanding the types of compensation available is vital to making sure you get what you fairly deserve for your pain and suffering.

Economic Damages

The first type of compensation involved in an auto accident claim is what is referred to as economic damages. This damage affects you financially and can be decreased to a particular financial burden. The more frequent economic damages included in vehicle accident claims include:

Medical Expenses

Your medical expenses will probably make up a huge portion of your claim for damages. You could be entitled to get compensation for the medical expenses you incurred right after the collision including:

  • Hospitalization
  • Emergency room treatment 
  • Ambulance costs
  • Prescription medications
  • Surgery 
  • Mobility aids like crutches, a cane, or a wheelchair

If you need follow-up care due to the injuries you suffered, you can also request compensation for this treatment.

Pain and Suffering 

While it’s complex to put a price on emotional and physical suffering, pain and suffering damages aim to deliver compensation for the intangible costs of an auto accident.

Physical Pain

Compensation considers the seriousness and extent of physical pain and discomfort suffered due to injuries. Courts know that you could endure physical pain because of the accident. Even though it’s difficult to put a number on this type of suffering, you still have a right to get compensation for it. 

We recommend you keep a written journal of how the accident has affected you, keeping a record of your pain and suffering throughout the life of your claim. An insurance adjuster or jury might later study these notes to determine what is a sufficient amount for your pain and suffering.

Emotional Distress

Emotional distress compensation addresses the psychological toll of an auto accident. Emotional trauma and psychological distress are significant factors in determining compensation. Compensation could be higher for those who experience extreme emotional distress. Family members can get compensation for the emotional distress caused by the loss of a loved one.

Anxiety and Depression

Compensation may account for the development of anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions because of the accident. Moreover, it is somewhat anticipated that you will probably need medical care in the future for physical and mental injuries. You could get compensation for your future medical expenses.

Because it can be hard to gauge the full extent of your injuries immediately after a car accident, you should get prompt medical attention and follow all doctors’ orders. 

In some cases, car accident survivors might develop PTSD, requiring treatment and therapy.

Lost Wages and Income

If your injuries cause you to stop working, you could be entitled to compensation for lost wages. This includes the income you might have earned if the collision had not happened. If your injuries cause long-term or permanent disability, impacting your future earning ability, you might also be eligible for compensation indicating this loss.

Auto accidents can disrupt someone’s ability to work, creating a financial burden. Lost wages and income compensation intend to lessen this impact.

Temporary Disability

If you can’t work temporarily due to injuries, compensation should include your regular pay, bonuses, and any other kinds of income you would have earned.

Diminished Earning Capacity

If you suffer permanent injury, compensation could account for diminished future earning capacity. This contemplates how the accident affects your capacity to earn a living.

Property Damage Compensation

When your vehicle gets damaged in an accident, property damage compensation is critical. 

Repair or Replacement Costs – Compensation should cover the expenses of repairing or replacing your vehicle, including cosmetic and mechanical damage. A repaired vehicle could lose resale value. Compensation may account for this.

Punitive Damages – In some cases, if the carelessness of the other party was very egregious, punitive damages could be awarded. These are not linked to a particular loss you suffered but are meant to punish the at-fault driver and prevent similar conduct in the future.

Wrongful Death and Survivor Benefits

If an accident results in a wrongful death, the surviving family members could pursue compensation. This can include emotional distress, loss of the deceased’s expected earnings, and funeral and burial expenses. 

Loss of Consortium

Loss of consortium compensation identifies the impact of a car accident on personal relationships:

Spousal Relationship – The stress on a marital relationship due to the accident could result in compensation for loss of intimacy, support, and companionship.

Parent-Child Relationship – In cases involving injuries to parents, compensation could include the effect on the parent-child relationship, including emotional support.

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation 

When an accident happens, the individuals in the vehicle feel the full force of the vehicles involved. This extreme force may injure the body, causing serious injuries like:

  • Fractures
  • Internal injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Amputations

Disfigurement and Impairment

Some vehicle accidents could lead to disfiguring injuries, like those involving explosions. In these accidents, you will probably have extensive medical treatments as well as devastating pain and suffering. You might also be left with cuts, scars, or other physical reminders of the collision. You could be able to get compensated for the disfigurement.

Furthermore, accident victims who experience impairment because of the accident could be able to get compensation. A mental or physical impairment may have a serious effect on your life, your relationship with others, and your outlook on life. As such, accident victims are usually able to get compensation for impairment.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages function as a punishment and deterrent for the negligence party’s wrongdoing:

Gross Negligence – These damages are usually given when the at-fault party’s behavior is especially malicious or reckless.

Civil Penalties – Besides compensating the victim, punitive damages enforce a fine on the responsible driver.

Negotiation and Settlement – Negotiating a decent settlement requires a thorough consideration of strategy and evidence.

Gathering Evidence – Gathering convincing evidence such as accident reports, witness statements, and medical records improves your negotiating position.

Legal Representation

Working with an experienced Denver personal injury attorney may be helpful in negotiations, as they know the complexities of the legal process.

Litigation and Legal Action – When negotiations don’t result in a fair outcome, pursuing legal action might be necessary:

Filing a Lawsuit – Filling a lawsuit entails legal proceedings in which both parties explain their cases in court.

Court Proceedings – Litigation includes depositions, hearings, and possibly a trial where a judge or jury decides the outcome.

Time Limitations and Statutes of Limitations – Filing claims within the required timeframe is vital. Every jurisdiction has a statute of limitations that establishes the deadline for filing a claim. Missing the deadline could result in missing the chance to receive compensation.

Lost Career/Business Opportunities

Not everyone hurt in an accident has a stable income and a career. Students, small business owners, entry-level employees, and children may have a hard time showing the real value of their future losses. Numerous courts understand all about lost career and/or business opportunities as types of resulting damages. A financial expert is usually needed to determine the fair value of lost career/business opportunities. 

For example, if you can’t finish college due to an injury, if an injury stops you from getting a huge promotion, or if an injury causes you and your business to lose a big contract, you could be entitled to recover for the total financial impact of these losses. This is known as a “but for” analysis (i.e., “but for” your car accident, you would have received a promotion). However, the insurance company will dispute efforts on your part to claim missed opportunities, which is precisely why you need to partner with an expert Denver auto accident lawyer immediately. 

Lost Fringe Benefits

Very few claimants consider the total value of non-monetary benefits connected with lost career opportunities and lost wages. Lost fringe benefits include part of the following reimbursed or paid by your employer:

  • Health insurance premiums
  • Life insurance premiums
  • Disability insurance premiums
  • Transportation benefits
  • Employee stock options
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Pension and retirement benefits
  • Daycare reimbursement
  • Travel reimbursement
  • Employee discounts
  • 401k matching
  • Healthy savings account contributions

These are usually considered consequential damages, but some losses could be direct. A financial expert will analyze the monetary value of future lost fringe benefits as well as future lost wages. These benefits can add up to a considerable amount lost throughout your work life. Again, an insurance adjuster will dispute any of these losses if you try to negotiate on your own without a lawyer.

Contact Us Today

Our law firm serves auto accident and personal injury clients throughout the Denver, Colorado area. If you or a loved one needs legal assistance with your Denver car accident case, call us today or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm | Website | + posts

The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm is a team of personal injury attorneys in Denver, CO serving victims of car, truck and motorcycle accidents. Each of our lawyers is licensed with the Colorado State Bar (CBA) and specialize in injury law.

We've recovered tens of millions of dollars in personal injury settlements and verdicts for our clients. For 13+ years we've helped thousands of people get back on their feet after experiencing serious injuries. We will take your case to trial and get the maximum settlement possible.

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