If you are in a car accident, it is natural to wonder about damage compensation for your injuries or other harm done to you after the pain and trauma wear off.
Damage compensation is paid by parties who bear responsibility for harm to victims generally, and car accidents are no exception. If someone causes a car accident through negligent actions, they can bear responsibility for financial compensation to the victims. Negligence is a violation of the duty of care, such as driving recklessly or violating traffic laws.
Seeking Damage Compensation
In a fault state, you could approach either the at-fault party’s insurance company in a claim or bring a car accident lawsuit in court to obtain compensation for your damages.
To understand how much money a passenger could receive, it is important to know the structure for damage compensation overall.
- Medical bills, both current and expected in the future, for doctor’s care, emergency care, prescription medication, diagnostic tests, assistive devices, physical therapy, and more.
- Wages lost from work if the accident, treatment, or recovery necessitated time off of work.
- The lifetime value of earnings if the injuries sustained are disabling, meaning you are unlikely to work again.
- Personal property damage for personal property lost or damaged in the accident, such as clothing or possessions.
- Pain and suffering for physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering.
Compensation Depends on the Amount of Harm
The amount of money (damage compensation) a passenger in a car accident could get greatly depends on the amount of harm done to the victim. There is no menu of costs automatically associated with car accident injury as a passenger. Among other potential factors, it can depend on the value of the categories above.
The fact that you are a passenger does not change that. Damage compensation for passengers and drivers is determined the same way. In both cases, a negligent party (not themselves) must have caused the accident, and their injuries need to stem from the accident, and not some other cause.
A person who received a catastrophic injury, such as partial or full paralysis due to a spinal cord injury (SCI) will generally receive more money in damage compensation than a person with a sprained ankle, for example.
Why? Because the former’s medical bills, income from losing work, potential lifetime earnings, and pain and suffering are all likely much higher than the latter. Comparatively, a sprained ankle is a minor inconvenience, no matter how painful it feels in the beginning—and most resolve quickly. But paralysis can mean that lifelong medical care is required and, depending on the victim’s job, they may never again have the capacity to work.
In all damage claims, the economic losses such as medical costs, wages lost from work, and personal property damage are calculated by adding up the amount the victim lost. Because the victim is likely receiving bills, medical costs are considered a loss.
In the case of medical bills, all relevant bills are simply added together.
If your doctor expects you to need medical care related to the accident in the future, expert testimony is often used both to ascertain that the care is standard practice and how much it is forecast to cost. Lawyers often help victims obtain expert testimony to help support the claim amounts.
Generally, in the case of wages lost from work, the amount of hours you lost is multiplied by your current salary. Here, too, expert testimony is often sought if the victim needs time off from work in the future, or if the victim deserves a lifetime value of earnings, as a result of their injury.
If you sustained property damage, the claim can include the replacement value of the property.
Pain and suffering damages receive slightly different handling. For one thing, no one can place a price tag on pain and suffering in the same way they can economic losses. For another, no one can firmly say just how much pain and suffering any given injury causes. Non-economic losses are subjective and hard to calculate. Generally, the worse your injuries, the more non-economic compensation you can obtain.
If you want more information on damage compensation amounts, contact a car accident lawyer today.