What Types of Damages Can You Seek After Being Injured in a Car Accident?

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Being injured in a car accident can be devastating to your health, finances, and way of life. If another person’s negligent or reckless conduct caused your injuries, you could potentially recover something called “damages.”


In legal terms, damages are considered a financial remedy designed to compensate the accident victim for their injuries. The goal of damages is an “attempt” to make someone whole in the aftermath of the incident. However, putting a dollar amount on a life-changing accident, catastrophic injury, or wrongful death can be incredibly challenging.


In an attempt to ensure that all aspects of a victim’s injury are compensated for, the courts have divided damages into three categories:


  1. Economic damages
  2. Non-economic damages
  3. Punitive damages


Economic Damages


Economic damages, also called pecuniary damages, can be calculated. An insurance company or an attorney can review the facts of your case, evaluate records, and determine what specific economic losses you’ve sustained. The goal of a personal injury attorney will be to ensure that every possible expense is accounted for in your settlement or verdict.


Economic damages can include:


  Lost wages: This includes both your income and vacation days, accumulated sick time, and retirement contributions.


  Future lost wages: If you cannot continue in your current profession due to the accident, you may be able to receive compensation to make up for the difference in salary between your previous career and your new job.


  Medical expenses: These expenses include current and future treatment, surgery, prescriptions, equipment and supplies, transportation to appointments, and more.


  Lost services: Any services you provide in the home or for your family that you can no longer do can be considered for compensation as part of your car accident damages. For example, not being able to tend to the garden, clean your house, or care for your child could be compensable expenses.

Non-Economic Damages


Also referred to as pain and suffering, non-economic damages are meant to compensate an accident victim for injuries that can’t be accurately quantified.


These damages include:


  Pain and suffering: As you recover, you’ll likely experience physical pain and discomfort, and you can be compensated for that.


  Mental anguish: Similar to experiencing physical discomfort, mental anguish is also a form of pain. It can include stress, anxiety, depression, and embarrassment from being unable to perform as before.


  Physical impairment: If your injury has left you unable to do physical tasks, you can also receive compensation. The amount designated here will depend on how severe the restriction is, how it affects your life, and the prognosis for a full recovery.


  Disfigurement: A physical change to your body as a result of a car accident can be particularly devastating. Examples of disfigurement include losing a limb, losing one or more fingers or toes, having a burn or scar, or losing eyesight or hearing.


The amount of non-economic damages varies widely based on an individual’s circumstances. The courts will look at the overall impact an injury has when determining what car accident damages are appropriate. Here, an attorney can be invaluable in arguing for the maximum amount possible by presenting persuasive arguments that demonstrate how your life has been affected.


Punitive Damages


Punitive damages work differently than economic and non-economic damages. The other damages discussed in this article are compensatory, meaning that they compensate an accident victim for their injuries.


Punitive damages, on the other hand, are more of a punishing measure for the person responsible for your injuries. As the term suggests, the purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant for particularly terrible behavior.


Though rarely awarded, they can significantly increase your damages award. In Florida, there is a limit to the dollar amount of punitive damages that can be awarded to a victim. The limit is three times the damages award, up to $500,000.


Are Damages Affected by Florida’s No-Fault Law?


As a no-fault state, a car accident victim will first file a claim with their own insurance company to collect funds from the personal injury protection (PIP) policy.


If your damages are in excess of what your insurance covers, you can then sue the other driver who is at fault for the accident. You can also potentially sue another party whose negligence played a part in the injury.


Therefore, you can still be awarded the same compensation in Florida for car accident damages that you would be eligible for in any other state.


Contact Us to Discuss Your Case


If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, the party responsible should be held accountable for your injuries. At Aigen Law, we have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. Contact us at 305-851-7195 for a free consultation. There is no fee for us to represent you unless we recover money for you.