Nobody expects to be in a car accident. A motor vehicle collision comes out of the blue and is over in the blink of an eye, but the repercussions can be devastating. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in San Antonio or anywhere else, you may be able to recover damages from the at-fault driver with the help of a good car accident lawyer. Let’s take a look at all the potential damages to include in your claim.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover After a Car Accident?
Damages are the sums of money an injured party may seek to recover from the party responsible for their injuries. Following a car accident, the at-fault party is usually the driver who caused the accident because they were driving negligently or recklessly.
In Texas, the injured victim may file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and potentially also file a lawsuit to pursue compensation in court. An attorney can investigate the accident, study the insurance policy, and calculate the damages you have a right to claim. There are three broad categories of damages in a car accident case: special, general, and punitive damages.
Any economic damages that are easily quantifiable are called special damages. The value of these damages is typically straightforward to prove because you have a hospital bill, pay stub, or estimate from the auto repair shop to prove it.
Any medical costs incurred while recovering from your injury should be included in your special damages. This would include ambulance fees, emergency room and hospital bills, personal physician fees, medication costs, diagnostic testing fees, surgery fees, and physical therapy expenses.
You can also seek compensation for any assistive equipment you need such as crutches, wheelchairs, scooters, or prosthetic devices. In-home care or vehicle modifications to help with your injury may also be included. Just be sure to save doctor’s records and receipts for everything.
Future Medical Expenses
For severe injuries that require long-term or permanent treatment, you may also seek compensation for future medical expenses. These damages must be estimated carefully to ensure you don’t run out of money before your medical bills finish. Your attorney may call upon medical specialists to help calculate future medical bills.
Most car accidents involve some degree of vehicle damage. Any damage incurred to your car, truck, or motorcycle may also be recovered in your special damages.
You’ll usually need a bill or signed estimate from the mechanic to prove the costs of repairs. And if your vehicle has been written off altogether, you may need to prove its market value with comparable sale prices, recent expert evaluations, and details of the vehicle’s history.
One of the most disruptive impacts a car accident has is tearing the victim away from work without warning. If your injury has caused you to miss out on any income at all, you may seek to recover it in your special damages.
Lost income damages may include a missed hourly wage or salary and also lost commissions, bonuses, promotions, paid leave, retirement and insurance contributions, transportation allowance, free meals, and any other work-related benefit or perk at all. Proving these damages might require letters from your employer and physician, past pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, and more.
Future Lost Income
If a catastrophic injury has left you incapacitated and unable to work in the future as well, your attorney can estimate the total lifelong loss of income you’re facing. Calculating this figure accurately might require the help of forensic accountants, medical experts, and vocational rehabilitation experts.
The detrimental impact a car accident has on a victim’s life usually goes far beyond the direct financial costs alone. The crash and your injury can cause a great deal of emotional and psychological harm and also damage to your life in other ways that lack a clear-cut monetary value.
These subjective non-economic damages are called general damages. Despite being harder to place a dollar amount on, general damages can add up to a sizeable portion of a victim’s total damages. Their value is usually calculated as a multiple of your special damages; the size of the multiple corresponds to the severity of the general damages.
Car crashes and the injuries caused can often leave accident victims with some degree of emotional suffering. This might include anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, mood swings, depression, or embarrassment and humiliation.
The stress of the entire ordeal is also emotional distress. Even if you’ve only suffered mild emotional upset following your accident, it’s a detriment to your life that you may seek compensation for in your general damages.
Physical Pain and Suffering
Needless to say, physical injuries can be extremely painful. Mild whiplash, bruising, or bone fractures involve some pain. The most severe of injuries, such as spinal cord damage, permanent nerve damage, or catastrophic brain trauma, can cause a lifetime of struggling with chronic pain.
As the injured victim, you have a right to seek financial compensation for any pain you’ve been forced to experience. During your recovery, be sure to keep your doctor fully informed of all the pain you’re experiencing, as your car accident lawyer will often use doctors’ records as evidence of these damages.
Scarring or Disfigurement
Any permanent scarring from burns, wounds, or surgery may be included in your general damages. And more serious disfigurements or deformities such as a missing limb or facial reconstruction should certainly be included.
Impairment or Disability
When an injury has caused a body part or organ to stop functioning as usual, it’s referred to as impairment. When an impairment prevents you from working or performing other activities, it’s a disability. Either of these losses may count as general damages.
Loss of Enjoyment in Life
Any reduction in your ability to enjoy life as a result of a physical or mental injury may be included in your general damages. Loss of enjoyment in life is usually judged by the degree to which you can no longer enjoy hobbies, pastimes, or other pleasurable activities around San Antonio as much as before. To prove this, friends, family members, and coworkers may be called upon to testify as to how your life has changed.
Loss of Supportive Relationships
If a car accident has disrupted your important relationships and social support structure in any way, you may also seek compensation for this loss. The loss of relationship-related benefits is usually called “loss of consortium” and is frequently included in wrongful death claims in fatal car accidents.
Both special and general damages are compensatory damages designed to recover losses. There is also an additional category of damages designed purely to punish the defendant for their wrongful behavior: punitive damages.
Punitive damages may occasionally be awarded in a car accident lawsuit when the at-fault driver was acting with gross negligence or reckless indifference to the safety of others. Drunk driving, excessive speeding, or street racing may count as recklessness and warrant the inclusion of punitive damages.
How a Car Accident Lawyer in San Antonio Can Help You
An experienced attorney can evaluate your case and explain your legal options. They can determine your full damages, ensuring nothing is left out, and prepare the evidence and expert witness testimony required to prove the value of your damages and win you the full compensation you deserve.
If you’d like an experienced San Antonio car accident lawyer to handle your case, contact Gamez Law Firm
at 210-951-2024 for a free consultation. Over the past 50 years, our attorneys have won over $100,000,000 for our clients; they can fight tooth and nail to achieve the best possible resolution to your car accident claim as well.