What Does Car Accident Injury Compensation Include?

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Personal Injury Settlements

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, you may receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering, loss of quality of life, and other damages. Various factors may come into play, such as who was at fault, jurisdiction, insurance coverages, supporting evidence, and other variables. Car accident injury compensation can vary significantly from claim to claim, so we’ve compiled a list to help you understand what it takes to get the most out of your car accident injury claim after a collision and familiarize yourself with the variables that may affect your claim.

After you get into a car crash, whether you work with the insurance company directly or whether you decide to hire an attorney to represent you, the claims adjuster will gather information regarding your claim and will consider the following factors:

  • The accident report taken by the responding police officer
  • How quickly medical attention was sought, if at all
  • Whether or not you had any pre-existing injuries that have become worsened by the accident
  • Any DUI or DWI charges related to the accident
  • Statements made by you, the driver, and any passengers after the accident
  • Testimony from any witnesses
  • Photographs taken at the scene of the accident
  • Records and documents indicating any lost wages related to the accident
  • Insurance policy coverages

There are several things that you should keep in mind several things regarding what you should do after an accident. It is advisable to visit an emergency room or your doctor as soon as possible after an accident. If you have any pre-existing conditions that have become exacerbated by the accident, you should have your doctor take notes and run tests such as new x-rays or ultrasounds to indicate pre-accident to post-accident comparisons. It is also very important to bear in mind that although you may have intense emotions after the accident and may be pressured to make a statement, you should avoid assuming guilt or making statements until you have had time to settle and receive legal counsel should you desire to seek it.

Evidence and Documentation

To have a solid claim, it is imperative that you have solid evidence. It is advisable to gather as much documentation as possible when preparing to submit a claim. Evidence may be gathered in the days following a car accident. You should:

  • Attempt to take notes on anything you can remember about the accident as soon as possible.
  • Attempt to take photos at the scene of the accident of the vehicles, injuries, and the vehicles in relation to any surrounding cross-streets (this can aid in accident re-creation simulations).
  • If you are unable to take photos at the scene of the accident, you should return to the scene of the accident to search for and take pictures of any evidence. Factors such as dirty traffic signs, traffic impediments, and construction could be noticed. Additionally, you should take photos of your vehicle after the accident as soon as you are able, such as in the body shop, if you were unable to take them at the scene.

Contact Witnesses

Always try to collect the personal information of any witnesses to the accident. After the accident, you should contact them as soon as possible to get a statement from them or any photos they may have.

Document your Injuries

Get as much documentation of your injuries as possible. This includes medical evaluations, case notes, a journal of symptoms, and photographs.

Damages in Personal Injury Cases

Damages in a personal injury claim refer to the cost of the injuries you sustained in the accident. Damages may include:

Direct Financial Cost/Specific Damages

Compensatory damages, also known as specific damages, are damages that have a direct financial cost with specific valued amounts related to an accident-related injury or loss, including:

Medical Expenses

Any medical expenses you incurred as a result of your injuries that had to be paid out-of-pocket may be eligible for reimbursement. This may include hospital bills, medications, physical therapy, mental health therapy, physician charges, medical equipment, and modifications made to your home to accommodate serious injuries.

Lost Wages & Loss of Earning Capacity

If you were forced to take time away from work to recover from your injuries after an accident, you will be eligible to receive payment for any lost income, even if you received sick pay, vacation pay, or utilized any other PTO to cover the time spent at home recovering. It may also be possible for you to receive benefits for lost promotion opportunities, benefits, or loss of earning potential. Your age and working capacity prior to the accident will be taken into consideration.

Property Loss

Property loss compensation covers expenses related to repairing or replacing your vehicle. After sustaining any injuries after an accident, the last thing you want to worry about is having to pay for costly repairs for your vehicle or wonder how you will get around. You may also be compensated for any items that may have been damaged in the accident including phones, laptops, and more.

Emotional and Indirect Costs

General damages, otherwise known as emotional or indirect costs, are damages that are not easily calculable and are subjective, including:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Quality of Life
  • Loss of Fertility or Unborn Child (related to accident-related injuries)
  • Loss of Consortium

These examples of subjective damages often require a highly skilled attorney to argue for maximum compensation on your behalf. Pain and suffering compensation is often challenged because it isn’t definitive and does not have an easily calculable dollar amount.

Punitive Damages

In rare events, if the defendant’s actions were exceptionally wanton and reckless, you may be able to receive punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant and are imposed by the court.

Contact an Attorney Today

The best way to get a thorough understanding of the legal process and what compensation you may be eligible for is to discuss the nuances of your case with an experienced personal injury attorney. At Tatum & Atkinson, our firm has over 65 years of experience handling complex personal injury car accident cases and is one of the most reputable car accident law firms in North Carolina. Contact us today for a free case evaluation by calling 800-LAW-0804 or filling out our contact form here.