What Are "Damages" for a Traffic Accident Injury?
A traffic injury could affect you in many ways. You may incur medical expenses. You might miss work or need to change jobs due to your physical limitations from an injury. You could even experience a decline in your quality of life.
When you pursue an accident claim, your damages will include all of your losses that were caused by the traffic accident. Specifically, your auto accident compensation will account for your economic losses and your non-economic losses.
Here is some information about the damages you can recover for an auto injury after an auto accident.
Types of Damages
Damages after a traffic accident typically fall into two categories:
Economic damages include all of the losses you suffer as a result of your injury that you can measure financially. Economic losses include:
You can recover past and future expenses related to your auto injury for:
- Medical treatment
- Physical therapy
- Mental health counseling
For past expenses, you will use your medical bills to prove the amount of your losses. For future expenses, you may need a doctor’s opinion letter outlining the treatment you still need to complete.
Your damages include the income you lost while recovering from your injuries. They also include any income you lost while taking time off from work for doctor’s appointments, therapy, or other treatment.
If you need to change jobs, take light-duty, or retire because of your injuries, your lost income includes your diminished earning capacity.
For example, if you need to switch from your normal job to a desk job after a permanent back injury, your damages include the difference in pay over the rest of your working life.
Your accident attorney can use your wage records to prove your lost income and diminished earning capacity.
Your damages can also include any additional expenses you incur due to your injuries. For example, if your injuries result in a loss of mobility and you’re required to use a wheelchair, you can include your costs to add ramps and grab bars to your home.
Non-economic damages compensate you for your diminished quality of life after your traffic injury. Injuries will alter many aspects of your life. Some of the losses that can support a claim for non-economic damages include:
Pain will alter your life. You may need to give up the activities you enjoy. You may need to schedule your life around your pain medication. You might lose sleep.
Your non-economic damages for your motor vehicle accident can include compensation for the diminishment in your quality of life caused by pain.
After a motor vehicle accident, you could experience mental suffering and anguish in many forms, including:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Panic attacks
As a result, you might develop insomnia, give up driving, and lose the ability to work.
Even a minor injury can cause inconveniences. You might need assistance to perform daily activities. You might even need to rely on others for transportation.
Calculating Non-Economic Damages
You can easily calculate your economic damages by adding up your financial losses. But non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify. Pain, insomnia, and depression do not come with a price tag.
Accountants have two primary models for calculating non-economic damages:
The jury or claims adjuster picks a multiplier between 1.5 and 5.0 based on the severity and duration of the injuries. For example, permanent quadriplegia might justify a multiplier of 5.0. On the other hand, a broken leg might only justify a multiplier of 1.5, since the fractured bone will heal.
The jury or claims adjuster multiplies your economic damages by the multiplier to calculate your total damages. For example, if you have economic damages of $10,000 and a multiplier of 2.2, your total damage award is $22,000.
Per Diem Model
In the per diem model, the jury or claims adjuster selects a daily value for your non-economic losses based on the severity of your injuries. The jury or claims adjuster multiplies the daily value by the number of days you suffered your injuries.
For example, the jury might value your non-economic losses at $90 per day. If you required 120 days to recover, you would have $10,800 in non-economic losses. If you also had $10,000 in economic losses, your total damage award would be $20,800.
Proving Non-Economic Damages
Your medical records can help prove your non-economic damages if you discussed your physical and mental pain with your doctor. Your accident attorney can also use your prescriptions for pain medication to prove the severity and duration of your pain.
You may need witness testimony to explain how your injuries affected your life. Friends and family members can describe your physical limitations. You can also testify to explain how your injuries diminished your quality of life.
To discuss the damages you can recover after your auto accident, talk with a legal professional. To be matched with a high-quality lawyer in your local area, simply complete our online consultation form or give us a call today.