When a motorist causes a car accident due to his or her negligence, he or she should compensate the injured victims for the several damages that result. The recoverable damages that you can get depends on the extent of your injuries and other losses that result from the accident. Since these damages rely on facts, injured victims should seek help from a personal injury law firm to acknowledge the type of damages that are available and their value. Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm commits itself in ensuring that its clients get compensated for their car accident damages.
Types of Damages Available in a Car Accident
When it comes to the type of damages that are available after a car accident, two categories come into place. There are those damages that are compensatory, while others are considered as punitive damages. By definition, compensatory damages are designed to compensate a victim from injuries and damages sustained in an accident. They do not cover the losses and damages that one has incurred, but is meant to provide an incentive that would cover the loss that the defendant has suffered.
On the other hand, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant from the action that led to the car accident and your injuries. Now let’s explore both compensatory and punitive damages in detail.
As stated above, compensatory damages can be defined as a form of compensation to a plaintiff to cover any losses resulting from an accident. There are two types of compensatory damages, namely economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the specific damages that are designed to compensate a plaintiff for the actual and measurable losses. Most economic expenses can be reimbursed out of pocket due to the injuries sustained by the victim.
On the other hand, non-economic damages or general damages can be referred to as damages that are not measurable. This means that it is hard to calculate them by adding receipts and documented bills. Therefore, they are non-monetary and are not readily quantifiable losses. Here is a detailed view of both economic and non-economic damages.
Car injuries vary from minor whiplash to a permanent disability. Therefore, several medical expenses apply from emergency medical attendance until one gets full recovery. However, if the victim does not recover fully and gets a permanent disability, there are medical expenses that will apply over the victim’s lifetime. Such victims will require physical therapy, take prescribed medication, undergo regular diagnosis, rely on mobile devices, and so on.
When a person is seeking medical services after the accident, one might require to get professional nursing, find a doctor’s appointment, undergo surgery, and probably seek home health care services. In short, all the medical expenses can be summarized as follows:
- Emergency care
- Urgent care
- Professional care such as doctors, nurses, assistant, technicians
- Diagnostic costs
- Home health care expenses
- Physical therapy expenses
- surgery expenses
- Rehabilitative expenses
- Purchase and maintenance of mobility devices
- Home care treatment supplies such as band-aids, braces, and wraps
On average, the medical cost after a car accident in the United States is $820. However, the price usually varies depending on the extent and nature of accidents that you incur. For instance, a severe injury such as spinal cord injury has a lot of expenses compared to minor accidents such as whiplash.
There is a significant financial toll that results from a car accident even after recovering from an injury. You still need to cater to your monthly expenses. In that case, the negligent party that led to your injuries should compensate you for the lost earnings.
The insurance adjuster should consider your total income compared with your hourly wages to make it easier for the at-fault party to compensate for the expenses. When determining the total lost income, your insurance adjuster should consider your wages, benefits, and perks included in the complete compensation package.
Some of the lost income that you might consider are:
- Base Pay
- Sick Days
- Vacation days
- Bonuses and Commissions
- Pay Rise
- Retirement Fund Contribution
How to Prove Your Lost Income
Your insurance adjuster will need to prove your reimbursement for the time off that is medically necessary and related to your injuries directly. You can request a work slip from your employer, but that will not be enough to prove your medical expenses. Here is a detailed view of the things you need to verify your medical expenses.
Your Doctor’s Narrative
The best proof needed to show that you were out of work is your doctor’s narrative. The narrative should tell a direct story about your injuries, including your prediction for recovery and diagnosis. It should also provide information about the prescribed treatment and the period that you have been out of work.
If the doctor accepts your return to work after a short while, the narrative should explain your work restrictions. If your employer cannot afford to accommodate the limits that you need for your work, you will be forced to continue until you recover fully. You are still entitled to the days that you missed work.
You should also give your narrative about the claim. This will ensure that the description is as detailed as possible and will provide you with the chance to be paid without arguing with your adjuster.
Proof of Income
You need to prove your income lost during your treatment and recovery. You should ask the human resource manager to provide a written document of all the benefits that you could have received during your recovery.
The verification from your employer should be written and must be a signed document with the company’s letterhead. Emails are unacceptable, but a scanned copy of the signed document can be considered.
Some of the income verification that the employer should consider are:
- The period that you were absent
- Your hourly pay or salary during the time of your injury
- Any overtime you could have worked during your recovery
- Any unique project that you were working on and would have led to additional compensation
- A possible promotion that you were supposed to get throughout your recovery
- Any lost prizes or commission that result from your work performance
- Any perk that you could have lost
Lost Income in Self-Employment
Someone self-employed has similar rights to recover lost income just like any other person. However, one must provide enough proof of the lost revenue, although it can be challenging. Some of the documents that you have to give out to prove your self-employment include:
- Business documents that show the existence of your business
- Tax forms
- Loss statement and profit
- Tax return
Future Loss of Earning Capacity
If your lost income is made out of a minor injury, it is easy to conclude a settlement once a victim returns to work. However, when there is a permanent disability, it means that you will have lost your earning capacity. Several factors will be used by your attorney to narrow down on your future earning capacity. These factors include:
- Your earning history
- The period that you have worked before your retirement
- Residual capacity, such as the capacity to learn a new trade
- Your previous education and training before the injury
You are entitled to seeking reimbursement from the at-fault party who damaged your vehicle in a car accident. Also, you should find recompense for your lost personal belonging. When your attorney is seeking compensation, the following vehicle-related property damage might be considered.
- The vehicle repair cost
- The fair market value of your vehicle if it resulted in a total loss
- Rental expenses that will arise while your car is in the repair shop
- Replacement cost that you will use when upgrading your vehicle
Other than your vehicle, you can recover your mobile phone, jewelry, sunglasses, and laptops as your property.
Proving Your Property Damage
A successful claim should have relevant aspects to prove it. A successful claim starts at the accident scene. The first thing that would help you is calling the police. Based on your location, police officers will be dispatched to the scene to offer their assistance.
With the police at the scene, they will file a report that will be suitable when proving your damage. Also, they will investigate the accident by speaking with you, the other driver, and the witnesses within the scene.
The other consideration that you have to make is collecting critical information. Therefore, you should write down information such as the other driver’s contact information, information about the other vehicle, admissions made by the driver, and the insurance information of the other driver.
You should also take a photograph and videos of the scene of the accident. This includes the damages to both cars, the vehicles’ position, any damage to your personal property, broken glasses, and skid marks.
Finally, you should write down a claim diary. This is a chronological list of all that happened during the accident. This will help you keep the necessary information at your fingerprints. This includes facts about the date and time of your accident, weather conditions, and the police officer’s names and report number.
Car accidents usually affect the lifestyle of the victim temporarily or permanently. Therefore, you might be expected to seek replacement services, which are typically the household service benefits. To fully recover your replacement services, the victim should provide the following as proof of your compensation. This includes the physician referral certificate that shows your inability to handle these services, a list of all replacement services that you need, and the name of the person providing the services.
Once your replacement services claim is honored, you will be able to focus on your recovery without worrying about your household task. Household tasks include:
- Housekeeping services such as dish-washing, ironing, laundry, and many more
- Meal preparation such as clean up and cooking
- Maintenance of your lawn
- Taking care of your pets
- Investment income
- Car and vehicle maintenance
- Driving family members to school or any other appointments
Many car accident victims do not put a lot of focus on the emotional distress that results from an accident. Emotional distress is common to victims who suffer from severe injuries and have to deal with issues such as physical disfigurement for the rest of their life.
Proving Emotional Distress in a Car Accident Claim
When a victim is suffering from emotional distress, he or she will portray different symptoms such as:
- Mood swings
- Anger bouts
- Sleep issues
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of interest in usual activities
Victims involved in a car accident might end up undergoing mental conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Post-traumatic disorder or PTSD can cause substantial effects on the life of a person and might exhibit symptoms such as terrifying nightmares. These flashbacks can result in blackouts, recurring involuntary memories about the accident that are intense, depression, and self-harm.
An accident victim should find counseling services to alleviate all the above-stated symptoms. This will include some expenses in which the at-fault party should compensate you. Your counselor is in a good position of providing the right documents that prove your emotional distress and the expenses that follow.
Disfigurement or Disability
Accidents can result in disfigurement and can end up causing both emotional and psychological trauma since everyone is attached to their physical appearance. Some of the common disfigurement injuries in Nevada include:
- Burn injuries from electrical burns, explosion, and chemical burns
- Deep cuts and lacerations
- Road rushes when an accident victim is ejected from the vehicle
- Loss of limb and bodily function
- Deep scarring and facial injuries
Disfigurement can lead to job loss and difficulty finding employment. In that case, most victims cannot manage to work and provide for their families due to the injuries. This would call for compensation from the at-fault party.
Proving Disfigurement in a Car Accident Lawsuit
If you have suffered disfigurement or a scar, you should ensure that your doctor mentions that in your medical records and note that it causes a permanent or residual effect. Your doctor should as well note whether the disfigurement has any impact on your mobility.
Pain and Suffering
Two types of pain and suffering accompany any claim for bodily injury. The first one is pain and suffering, whereas the second one is mental anguish. There is always a presumption that an injury is painful. For instance, if you have a broken bone, this will involve severe pain, especially when there are things such as screws and pins that need to be inserted to heal your bone.
When your attorney or insurance company is evaluating your injuries, you must have sought medical intervention to prove that you were in pain. The extent of damages depends on the treatment of your injuries. If your injuries took a lengthier time to heal, the insurance adjuster would assume that you suffered great pain and suffering compared to a minor injury.
Nevertheless, if you did not seek any medical intervention, the adjuster will assume that the pain and suffering were not real to you. Therefore, you must have a medical corroboration of your injuries with your doctor. This means that the doctor must record that you complained of your pain in certain parts of your body in your medical record. This will help your attorney and insurance adjuster to ascertain that you suffered pain and suffering from your car accident injuries.
Apart from the medical records, there are other pieces of evidence that you need to prove that you suffered pain and suffering. These pieces of evidence include:
- Receipt from over-the-counter pain management medications
- Photographs of your injuries
- Medical bills
- Documentation from your employer that prove that you missed work
A physical impairment or physical disability can be explained as a disability that inhibits you from performing regular work duties or engaging in typical daily activities. They will end up affecting your life in several aspects.
Permanent injuries lead to extensive treatment and comprehensive medical, cascading expenses, hospital stays, and unpredictable future expenses. Each case is unique and must be precisely evaluated to determine the kind of losses that one has suffered. Some of the permanent disabilities that can result from a car accident include:
- Paralysis due to spinal cord trauma
- Complete or partial limb amputation
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Limb deformation that leads to mobility impairment
- Psychological trauma
Such conditions are catastrophic since the victim cannot support his or her family or friends. Therefore, it is essential to seek compensation to alleviate the effect that results from permanent disabilities.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium is also referred to as loss of companionship or affection. It refers to the deprivation of love, benefits of marriage, and parenting as a result of an accident. The injured party must have sustained severe injuries and could no longer provide the same care, parenting, companionship, love, and affection as before.
Proving Loss of Consortium
It is quite challenging to prove the loss of consortium if you are seeking compensation for your injuries. However, the following factors would help you establish your loss of consortium.
- Whether or not your marriage was stable and loving
- The living arrangement of your spouse
- The extent of companionship or care that you provided to your spouse
- The life expectancy of your spouse
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Loss of enjoyment of life is a term that refers to the suffering of physical or mental injury, and the situation causes the inability of the victim to perform activities that gave him or her enjoyment before the injury. Examples of activities that explain the loss of enjoyment of life include:
- Certain recreation activities or hobbies
- Volunteer opportunities
- Family bonding activities
- Social encounter with friends
Proving Loss of Enjoyment of Life
A plaintiff will prove damages related to loss of enjoyment of life through a testimony. The plaintiff’s statement and probably one from the significant others can be suitable evidence of your loss of enjoyment of life. The plaintiff and his or her significant other will testify how past activities have been affected by the injuries.
In extreme cases, a victim can be awarded punitive damages as a punishment to the defendant. Punitive damages are decided when the defendant acted to hurt the plaintiff and did the action out of gross negligence. This kind of damage is meant to teach the defendant a lesson and other drivers about the effects of gross negligence.
Several factors determine the amount that one will be awarded in punitive damages. These factors include:
- The nature and character of the conduct of the defendant
- The value of the defendant’s asset
- The probability and extent of harm that other people would have suffered if the defendant is not punished
- The actual harm that the plaintiff would have suffered from the incident
Calculating the Worth of Your Non-economic Damages
It can be difficult to determine your non-economic since there is no monetary value that you can associate such damages as compared with economic damages. There are specific methods used to determine the value of non-economic damages. The two methods used to determine how much to compensate a victim for non-economic damages is the multiplier and the daily rate method.
The Multiplier Method
This is the easiest process used to determine the value of your non-economic damages. To use this approach, you need to multiply the total of your economic damages to a specific number. The number that is used varies from 1.5 to 5, and the value is determined based on the circumstances of the case.
This is usually a fair and reasonable way to determine your non-economic damages, but ultimately, calculating the value of your damages through an arbitrary numeric factor should not be the best approach.
The Daily Rate Method
This method is also referred to as the per diem method. It depends on concluding on a fairly daily rate that represents the value of living with an injury. It is challenging to be precise on the daily rate, but in most cases, the plaintiff’s daily earning is usually used.
Please note, the court uses this method on a case-by-case basis. This means that there is no precise method to determine the actual value.
Find a Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me
Car accident victims have the eligibility to be awarded for their damages in Nevada. If one decides to seek compensation all alone, it can be difficult based on the legal requirements that follow. That’s why it is recommendable to find legal services to ensure that you get compensated as required by the law. Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm guarantees credible legal services to its clients seeking compensation after a car accident in Las Vegas, NV. Contact us today at 702-996-1224 for a case evaluation.