Accident Claims and “Damages”
If you have spoken with a Denver personal injury attorney about an auto accident claim, you may have heard the phrase “damages.” While the phrase is thrown around a lot, “damages” are a fairly straight forward concept.
In personal injury cases, “damages” are a way of quantifying the consequences of an accident. Some damages are financial. Other damages are harder to quantify. For the purposes of this article, we refer to them as “economic” and “non-economic” damages.
The loss of money is the most straightforward of auto accident damages. These “economic damages,” can be measured by the amount money the victim of an accident has lost as a result. Some examples of losses that are calculated include:
The actual cost of medical treatment–including all related bills–factor into medical damages.
Common medical bills include ambulance and emergency room visits. In cases where there is lasting physical damage chiropractor and physical therapy bills are often included.
No two bodies are exactly alike. The extent of the injuries may vary from person to person and case to case. All medical bills necessary to treat the injured party will be included in the total damages. This is true even if the victim has health insurance.
If you were injured in an accident, you are entitled to compensation for the wages you lose as a direct result of your injuries. Many people who are injured in motor vehicle accidents miss work due to their injuries. The process of evaluating the extent of these “income” damages depends on your employment situation.
Hourly workers, for example, may need proof of missing work due to an accident. Often a doctor’s note, employer letter and a pay stub are collected and submitted to the insurance company.
Salaried workers require the same documentation. They will also have to prove that the work they miss cannot be made up at some other point in the year. This often requires additional documentation.
Freelancers and those who are self-employed have the most difficult time recovering income damages. A freelancer must prove that they missed out on potential work as a result of time off. The insurance company will demand a substantial amount of paperwork. In this case, a personal injury attorney will prove quite helpful.
Accidents tend to leave behind damaged vehicles.
If you vehicle was damaged in a motor vehicle accident, you should get compensation. The person who caused the accident has a duty to make it right.
Some accident victims elect to use their own auto insurance to recover property damages. If you decide to do this, the at-fault insurance company might even pay your deductible.
It is important to remember that most insurance companies hire different adjusters for different types of damages. Property damage claims may be handled by a different department of the insurance company that the one that deals with medical bills. In addition, some personal injury attorneys only take property damage cases.
You should find out if the attorney you are thinking of hiring will represent you through each stage of the process.
Non Economic Damages
There are some damages that just can’t be counted in dollars.
These damages are often called “non-economic damages.” Over the past few years, they have been the subject of much public debate and discussion. The public doesn’t always get the whole story about some of the truly heart-wrenching facts behind these cases. One of the best known examples of these less than quantifiable damages are “Pain and Suffering.”
Pain and Suffering
Pain and Suffering is a very common phrase that can mean a wide variety of things. It is also one of the least understood type of damages.
If someone has hurt you, they should have to make it right.
The hours that are spent after an accident in pain and agony are time that you will never get back. The difficulties you have adapting to life after the trauma one may experience in a crash, are real. The stress of making and following through on doctor’s appointments has a real cost. The visits to the physical therapist, the time you spend in traffic, and the work you do to get back on your feet are a type of damage.
Your attorney will help you decide what is best to claim, and how to best document your struggle.
You should receive restitution when you have been wronged.
Personal Injury cases are complex. If you or a loved one has been injured and need help finding a damages attorney, check out our guide to Denver Attorney Reviews HERE.