Types of Damages You Can Claim in a Car Accident

types of damages you can recover in a car accident claim

It’s not always easy to know if you can qualify for compensation in a car accident claim. If it’s your fault, there may be no hope of getting any compensation.

On the other hand, if it wasn’t your fault, you might still have difficulty proving that the other party was at fault for their part in causing the collision.

However, if you have full evidence that the other driver was at fault, you might be able to get them to compensate you for damages suffered. But the big question is: what types of damages can you get in a car accident claim?

Typically, there are three main types of damages that you can qualify for in a car accident claim: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.

Read on to learn more about each type of damage and how it might apply to your case.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the most straightforward type of damage to understand. They are simply the financial losses you have suffered as a direct result of the car accident.

This can include medical bills, lost wages, damage to your vehicle, and any other out-of-pocket expenses you have incurred.

To recover economic damages, you will need evidence to back up your claim. This can include medical bills, pay stubs, car repair estimates, and any other documentation that shows the financial losses that you have suffered.

How Are Economic Damages Calculated?

Economic damages are relatively easy to compute since an exact dollar amount can be assigned to each loss.

For example, if you had $5,000 in medical bills and your car was damaged to the tune of $3,000, your economic damages would be $8,000.

damages in a car accident claim

It’s important to note that future economic damages can also be included in a car accident claim. For example, if you will need ongoing medical treatment or are unable to return to work, those future damages can be included in your claim.

To calculate future economic damages, an expert witness will typically be used. This could be a vocational rehabilitation specialist or economist who can testify about the expected cost of the future damages.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more difficult to understand since they don’t have a specific dollar amount attached to them.

Instead, these damages are intended to compensate you for the more intangible losses you have suffered due to the car accident.

This can include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.

How Are Non-Economic Damages Calculated?

Unlike economic damages, there is no set formula for calculating non-economic damages. Instead, the amount of damages will be based on the unique facts and circumstances of your case.

For example, if you suffered severe injuries in a car accident that left you with permanent physical or mental impairments, you would likely be entitled to a higher amount of damages than someone who only suffered minor injuries.

The court will use a multiplier method to calculate non-economic damages in some cases. This involves taking the economic damages and multiplying it by a number between 1 and 5, depending on the severity of the injuries.

compensation in car accident claims

For instance, if your economic damages were $50,000 and the court decided to use a multiplier of 3, your non-economic damages would be $150,000.

However, this is just one method that can be used to calculate non-economic damages, and the court is not required to use this method in every case.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are slightly different from economic and non-economic damages since they are not intended to compensate the victim.

Instead, they are meant to punish the at-fault party for their negligence and deter them from engaging in similar behavior in the future.

Punitive damages are only awarded in rare cases where the at-fault party’s actions were particularly egregious. For example, if the at-fault driver was speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, they may be subject to punitive damages.

How Are Punitive Damages Calculated?

There is no set formula for calculating punitive damages since they will vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the case.

We Help Our Clients with Their Legal Needs by Connecting Them with Skilled Attorneys

However, some states have enacted laws that place a cap on the maximum amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in a car accident case.

For example, in California, the maximum amount of punitive damages that can be awarded is $250,000.

What If the At-Fault Driver Has No Insurance?

If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you may still be able to recover damages through your own uninsured motorist coverage.

Uninsured motorist coverage is a type of insurance that is required in some states and optional in others.

If you have this coverage, it will provide compensation for your damages up to your policy limit, even if the at-fault driver does not have insurance.

Types of Damages You Can Claim in a Car Accident

It’s important to note that not all uninsured motorist policies are the same. Some policies will only cover certain damages, such as medical expenses, while others may cover all of the damages you incurred.

Before you file a claim with your insurance company, it’s essential to carefully review your policy to know what types of damages are covered.

What If the At-Fault Driver Is Underinsured?

If the at-fault driver has insurance, but their policy limits are not high enough to cover all of your damages, you may be able to recover the remaining damages through your own underinsured motorist coverage.

Like uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage is a type of insurance that is required in some states and optional in others.

If you have this coverage, it will provide compensation for your damages up to your policy limit, even if the at-fault driver’s insurance does not cover all of your damages.

It’s important to note that not all underinsured motorist policies are the same. Some policies will only cover certain damages, such as medical expenses, while others may cover all of the damages you incurred.

Before you file a claim with your insurance company, it’s essential to carefully review your policy to know what types of damages are covered.

What If the At-Fault Driver Is Uninsured or Underinsured and I Don’t Have Insurance?

If the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured and you don’t have insurance, you may still be able to recover damages through a personal injury lawsuit.

You will need to prove that the at-fault driver was negligent to recover damages.

If you are successful in proving that the at-fault driver was negligent, you may be able to recover economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

You will not be able to recover punitive damages since these are only available when the at-fault party has insurance.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

The statute of limitations is the time limit you have to file a claim.

If you do not file a claim within the statute of limitations, you will be barred from recovery.

In most states, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is typically two years from the date of the accident.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you were injured in a car accident caused by a defective product, you may have a longer period to file a claim.

how long do you have to report an accident

It’s important to note that the statute of limitations can vary from state to state. We have a comprehensive list of the statute of limitation in every state here.

For this reason, it’s essential to consult with an experienced car accident attorney in your state to determine the applicable statute of limitations.

What Kinds of Damages Can You Claim? Talk to a Car Accident Attorney to Find Out

If you have been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to different types of damages, depending on how the accident has impacted your life.

However, you need to act swiftly to protect your rights and increase your chances of recovering full compensation. Be sure to contact an experienced car accident lawyer near you as soon as possible to discuss your case.

Disclaimer: Legal Giant is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice. We connect you with a network of attorneys applicable to your legal needs. The information provided on this site is not legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top

Legal Giant’s mission is to connect you with highly experienced attorneys when you need legal help, just like it’s our own family.Our team of experienced writers and legal editors is fully committed to providing high-quality content and accurate information.

Our content is fact checked and approved by our team of editors and practicing attorneys. Should you find an error within any of our website content, please feel free to contact us and let us know.