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How Damages Are Assessed From A Car Accident


Injuries suffered in a car accident can often go be slight or extensive physical injuries, and extend to mental or psychological injuries that can last as long or much longer. Further, the circumstances leading to the injuries, can vary from irresponsible to accidental to intentional. Therefore, calculating the damages due to a plaintiff in a car accident case, can get very complicated.

Money awarded in a car accident case is intended to fairly compensate plaintiffs. Here is an overview of the types of compensation and how it is calculated. It should be noted that these are general guidelines that will vary from state to state.

Types of Injuries and Compensation Soft Tissues Injuries

Soft tissue injuries are injuries of the tendons, ligaments and the muscles, and are extremely common in car accidents. Injuries relating to them include tears, sprains, strains and general soreness. Because they cannot be detected using x-rays and often require CT scans and other specialized equipment, it is more expensive and more complicated detecting these injuries and the extent of the damage to soft tissues. Therefore, the victim may be in continual discomfort with symptoms of pain, swelling and inflammation. Since rear-end and sudden impact collisions are such prevalent car accidents, the most common soft tissue injury is whiplash whose symptoms include neck pain, stiffness, headache, burning sensations, shoulder and back pain and dizziness. Whiplash symptoms may often get worse before they get better. Soft tissue injuries can often take a considerable amount of time to heal. Factors considered when assessing a claim involving soft tissue injuries include the extent of the injuries, the recovery time and if there will be permanent loss of function.

Broken Bones

The more serious issues, typically in a car accident are hard injuries which means broken bones. In the event of more and more serious breaks, particularly those that will require surgery, physical therapy and long-term recovery, will yield a higher value claim. In some cases damage from broken bones can lead to permanent loss of function and this is considered when assessing damages as well.

Whatever the extent and seriousness of your injuries, always keep in mind that any treatment plan may only be a recommendation from your doctor.

Types of Damages - Compensatory and Punitive

Damages are dollar figures assigned to injuries in a lawsuit. There are two primary categories of damages. They are: compensatory, intended to compensate you for your losses; and punitive intended to punish the defendant(s) for their actions.

Compensatory damages will cover physical injuries and a wide range of areas of other areas including: lost wages, medical bills, and loss of future earnings ability and are designed to restore you to the status you were in before the accident. If you prevail in your case, you will receive compensation for each form of injury you suffer. Many forms of compensatory damages are easy to prove through invoices, bank records and paychecks, and the figures associated with them are generally straightforward. However for areas like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment and others that are more subjective, it can be quite difficult to determine.

Punitive damages are still assigned a dollar figure, but they're designed to punish the defendant for their deliberate, vindictive, hateful, or otherwise cruel behavior that resulted in your injuries. Punitive damages are awarded in addition to compensatory damages and their amounts are sometimes determined based on state guidelines or by judges or juries who want to send a message.

How an Attorney Can Help in Determining Damages

Ultimately, the court decides what types of damages are awarded and the amount of compensation you receive, as the injured party or plaintiff. However, your attorney can go a long way toward influencing how the court views what happened. This is why it is important to hire a top attorney if you have been injured in a car accident. So whether you are in a big city like Chicago and are in need of a Chicago and just got run into, or in McAllen Texas looking for a McAllen car accident lawyer, the point is to hire the best.

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