What Damages Can I Recover After a Car Accident? 2 Types and How They Might Affect an Accident Victim
Damages is a legal term you may hear about regarding a car accident case.
Damages are the amount of money awarded to a plaintiff following a lawsuit.
There is no set or predetermined amount of damages one can receive. It usually depends on factors like the type of injury suffered.
Car accidents frequently give rise to the claims brought in personal injury cases. From the 405 to Hollywood Boulevard, car accidents seem far too common in Los Angeles.
According to the Transportation Injury Mapping System, there were over 20,000 car crashes across Southern California in 2022. This includes an average of around 1,800 fatal or serious injury accidents in the city of Los Angeles.
Damages from a car accident are broken down into two categories: compensatory and punitive.
Compensatory damages are divided even further into two additional categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are more tangible and itemized. They can include:
- Medical expenses – Bills pile up fast. From surgeries to ambulance fees, these costs are generally not cheap. Damages may include past, present and future medical bills related to you case.
- Loss of wages – If you get injured and cannot work, you may be enduring a loss of wages. With new medical bills on top of your normal payments needed for rent, groceries, etc. fresh layers of stress seem inevitable.
- Loss of use of property – Encompassing any costs incurred while property was unusable. For example, your property is your car, and costs could be a rental car, vehicle repairs, etc.
- Loss of employment or business opportunities – If you lose your job, or any major chance to strike a business deal, these losses may be compensatory.
Some of the more frequent injuries included in economic damages are:
- Neck injuries such as a pinched nerve
- Broken bones
- Head injuries like a concussion
- Fractures, strains or sprains
- Back injuries like a herniated or damaged disc
- Severe cuts and deep wounds
- Internal organ injuries, such as punctures to your kidney or internal bleeding
- Loss of mobility or movement in one or more areas of your body
- Wrongful death
Non-economic damages are more subjective, and can include:
- Pain and suffering – The effects of an accident may not be only physical. The mental toll it takes can be devastating. Many people injured in accidents may go through depression, anxiety, or more.
- Loss of enjoyment of life – If you find yourself no longer appreciating activities you once loved, unable to work due to anxiety, or falling out of relationships with close friends and family, you may be experiencing loss of enjoyment of life.
- Emotional distress – Any negative emotional response to a traumatic incident can be designated as emotional distress.
- Loss of consortium – Refers to any loss of companionship, moral support or intimacy issues following an injury.
You may also be able to recover punitive damages.
Punitive damages are usually awarded for one or both of the following reasons –
- To punish the defendant for fraudulent, malicious, or reckless actions
- To set an example so that others will not follow in these actions.
Punitive damages are an addition to your economic or non-economic damages. They cannot be recovered independently. Similar to non-economic damages, they may not be as tangible.
Furthermore, just because someone acted fraudulently, maliciously, or recklessly, punitive damages are not always warranted.
An injury from a car accident can be physically and mentally painful.
You may be unable to work or complete simple household tasks. You might miss time with your family and friends. You could find yourself feeling lost with no direction.
Our Los Angeles injury attorneys believe they can help you recover damages. We have experience helping clients recoup compensation from injuries such as: