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If you were recently hurt in a car accident, you are probably going through a challenging and painful time. Piles of medical bills and lost income from lost work time as well as emotional stress often compound the pain that you experience from the injury and recovery. Filing a car accident claim or lawsuit against the other driver, if the accident was caused by another party, can reduce some of your stress. Money does not eliminate the fact of the accident or undo your pain and injuries, but car accident compensation can provide you with the resources you need to get your life together. 

Car Accident Compensation for Economic Losses

Your economic losses after a car accident are the foundation of the money you can ask for in your car accident claim. Below are the common types of car accident claim compensation you can ask for: 

  • Medical costs: Includes ambulance and emergency services, surgery, rehabilitation, surgery, nursing services, and prescriptions. 
  • Rehabilitation expenses: Physical therapy, assistance devices such as wheelchairs and crutches, canes, and artificial limbs. It also will pay for assistance technology for people who suffer catastrophic injuries that damage body sensory functions, such as hearing or speech. 
  • Future medical costs can be awarded in some car accident claims. First, the car accident claim could be settled or go to trial before you fully recover. So medical experts must put a value on the remaining costs that are required for a complete recovery. This could include future surgeries, follow-up visits, and physical therapy. In other severe cases, accident injuries are so bad that the likelihood of a complete recovery is slim. Some car accident victims may have lifelong chronic pain, while others could have partial or full paralysis. In these cases, experts put a value on extended medical treatment or long term care that must be included as future medical expenses. 
  • Lost earnings: You may miss weeks or months of wages from your car accident and related injuries. A full recovery requires total rest so your body can heal. Brain injuries also require a lot of rest so it can heal. Depending on the type of injuries, accident victims may be unable to work for weeks or months. People who work in manual labor in their work may still be on work restrictions when they go back to work. They may still have lost wages due to reduced hours. 
  • Lost earning capacity: This is the lost income in the future due to catastrophic injury or permanent disability. Employment benefits also are included in lost earning capacity. If the car accident victim cannot go back to work, it is very difficult on families who relied on that income. 

Car Accident Compensation for Non-Economic Losses

When you file your car accident claim, you also can request compensation for your non-economic losses. This is the biggest reason to get help from a personal injury attorney. Putting a value on non-economic losses can be challenging, but your lawyer probably has access to many experts, such as medical experts and life care planners, who can help to put a dollar amount on your non-economic losses. Common types of non-economic compensation are: 

  • Pain and suffering: This includes physical pain and mental challenges after your injury. Victims experience physical pain from their injuries that continue as they recover and perhaps even for life. Emotionally, a temporary or permanent disability can make you feel depressed, anxious or embarrassed. For the court to award money for pain and suffering, some states require the victim to have an injury that medical professionals think is permanent. 
  • Scarring and disfigurement: This is a form of pain and suffering that is often addressed differently under state laws. Car accident victims who have deep burns, severe lacerations or amputations can get compensation for scarring and disfigurement. These injuries usually require a long recovery period that can last for months. Multiple surgeries may be required, as well as extensive rehabilitation. To get this type of car accident compensation, you usually have to have a permanent loss of a limb, or scars that lead to emotional pain, humiliation, anger, etc. 
  • Loss of consortium: This is the effect the car accident has on your relationship with your spouse or partner. In some states, loss of consortium only applies to people who are married. In many severe car accidents, injuries cause a loss of intimacy, both physical and emotional, which can affect the union on many levels. 

Punitive Damages in a Car Accident Case

Another type of non-economic damages that may be awarded is punitive damages. You are entitled to seek punitive damages for car accident compensation in limited circumstances. Most state laws require that the defendant be guilty of gross negligence or intentional misconduct: 

  • Intentional misconduct means the defendant chose to take action to cause injury or damage when he knew the accident would cause harm. 
  • Gross negligence: Careless conduct that was so dangerous and reckless that it was a complete disregard for the life, safety, or rights of people exposed to the dangerous conduct. 

Unless the car accident is minor and you had no more than a few thousand dollars in property damages and injuries, it is generally advised to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney in these cases. Hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you in your car accident compensation claim often will result in a higher car accident settlement or verdict amount.