If you’re involved in a traffic accident and suffer injuries, one of the first things you’ll be asking yourself is how much you’re going to receive in compensation. Compensation is about more than making sure you receive money for your injuries. It covers damage to your vehicle, the pain and suffering you’ve been through and any possible future expenses related to the collision.
It is impossible to say exactly how much your claim is worth until seeing all the information about the collision. However, you can start to estimate what it’s worth by looking at things like:
- The amount of money that has been spent on medical care
- The money spent on travel or accommodations by your spouse or close family who are caring for you in the hospital
- The estimated recovery time of your injuries
- The need for physical or occupational therapy
You may be entitled to compensatory and punitive damages
Compensatory damages are better known as actual damages. These compensate you for any damages that have occurred, such as medical bills, damage to your car, lost wages and others. These damages are easy to calculate in most cases, since you will have receipts and bills as evidence.
You may also want to seek punitive damages depending on the kind of injury you’ve suffered. Compensatory damages help “make you whole,” meaning that they compensate you for the effect the injuries have had on your life. Punitive damages are used as a kind of punishment against the defendant. They are assessed to try to prevent the person who caused the accident from engaging in similar actions in the future. This tactic also helps prevent others from taking the same actions, since doing so would likely result in heavy fines for them as well.
There are often guidelines and limits that must be followed when awarding a personal injury victim. The only way to be sure of what you’ll be able to receive is to work with your attorney, keep receipts, look into the other party’s insurance and to discuss how you’ll get what you need moving forward.
If the other party’s insurance won’t cover your needs completely, then you may be in a position where you need to file a personal injury lawsuit as well (which helps you claim the difference). Your attorney will talk to you more about this if it’s unlikely that the insurance coverage will pay for all the damages.