You were injured in a car accident that was not your fault. What are your rights to compensation for car accident injuries? You probably know that you are entitled to money damages from the person who caused the accident. But how is the amount of the award determined? What losses can you be paid for? Knowing the answers to these questions makes it more likely that you will be able to get the money that you need to take care of yourself and your family after an injury accident.Damages in an injury claim are either special damages or general damages.SPECIAL DAMAGESSpecial damages are based on money you spent or lost as a result of the accident. The amount of money is different for each case and includes the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, cost of repairing or replacing property, and any other monetary loss attributable to the accident. The following list includes the most common types of special damages:
- The cost of car repair or replacement: Money for the damage to your car is actually payment for the decrease in the value of your car as a result of the accident. The insurance company will usually calculate this by having an “adjuster” look at the damage and determine what it would cost for the repairs. You will have the option of taking the money that it would cost to have the repairs done or actually having the repairs done.
- Medical bills-- current and future: Your damages include the cost of any medical treatment that you receive for injuries caused by the accident. This includes expenses for immediate care as well as the cost of future medical treatment for such things as scar revisions or surgery. Getting a check up by your doctor is necessary even if you feel that your injuries are minor. If a part of your body feels different after the accident, then you want to know why. Talk to your doctor about it. Make sure that your injury is included in your medical records. The insurance company will only pay damages for injuries that you can prove were caused by the accident. Medical records are your best evidence.
- Lost income: Injuries from an accident often cause you to miss time from work. Your damages include the money that you would have earned if you had not been injured. If you are off work for a week, you should get a week’s wages. You may be able to take vacation or sick time so that you do not actually miss a pay check. Benefits from your employer should not be deducted from your lost earning. Your damages should still include the wages for the time that you could not work.
- Household expenses and maintenance costs: Injuries may prohibit you from doing jobs around the home such as yard work or housekeeping. Your damages include the cost of having someone take care of the lawn and do laundry or other household tasks that you would normally have taken care of.
GENERAL DAMAGESGeneral or compensatory damages are non-monetary losses that are generally accepted as being associated with an injury. The amount or value of loss is based on the severity and type of the injury. The amount and nature of general damages suffered may be different for each case and may include, without limitations, the following:
- Pain and suffering: There will be little problem establishing that you suffered pain as a result of your injury. Medical records describe your injury and prescriptions for pain medication help to show the amount of pain. The real problem comes in determining the amount of money that will fully compensate you for your pain. Family members and co-workers can be witnesses as to how you reacted to the pain and the impact it had on your normal activity. If you are still in pain but need to return to work, you may not be able to take the medication while you are at work so you work with pain in order to keep your job. Suffering is also a part of general damages. It is different from pain. Suffering may come from not being able to enjoy your family because you are unable to function while on your pain medication. Suffering may be the result of being embarrassed by the scar on your face or the fact that the injury to your arm keeps you from being able to do some of the fun activities that you enjoyed before the accident.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: When you are not able to provide for your family because you are unable to work or are working but earning less money, you can become depressed. Life is not as enjoyable when you are in pain. You may no longer enjoy trips or hobbies. Sports may have been part of your life. When you are not able to participate because of some disability, you have lost some joy from your life.
- Loss of consortium or companionship: If you are married, your spouse suffers when you are injured. Consortium refers to all aspects of the relationship that a husband and wife share. Inability to share a sexual relationship is often what is thought of when loss of consortium is mentioned, but the loss includes much more. Your relationship includes being there for your spouse. If you are taking medication that makes you sleep or fogs your thinking, then your spouse suffers a loss. If you are angry or you are in a bad mood because you are not able to work, your spouse suffers a loss. If your spouse has to take care of you and do the things around the house that you would normally help with, he or she suffers a loss. Your spouse has a claim for money damages for these losses.
TIPS FOR CAR ACCIDENT VICTIMS
- If you are injured in an accident, get proper medical care and then contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Haytham Faraj have years of experience evaluating accident cases. They know what damages you are entitled to and how much your losses are worth.
- Get the names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
- Get a copy of the police report as soon as possible and make sure that the report is accurate.
- Take pictures of the scene of the accident. If you are not able to do so, have a family member or a friend do this for you. If you have an attorney, your attorney will arrange to have the pictures taken.
- Get checked out by your doctor. When you see the doctor initially and for follow up visits, don’t be a hero or a tough guy. If you are having discomfort, let the doctor know. If it has been three weeks and you are still experiencing discomfort, don’t say that you are better. The doctor may conclude that “better” means you are no longer having any problems when all that you mean is that you are not in as much pain as last week.
- Keep a diary that describes in detail how the accident has affected your life. Include important events that you miss such as birthday parties and trips that you had planned but had to cancel.
Injuries from accidents caused by someone’s careless driving can be life changing. Insurance companies will do all that they can to pay as little as possible for your losses. Saving money on a claim means that the company makes more money and they are very good at making money.Haytham Faraj will work for you. He knows your rights to compensation for car accident injuries. He has the skill and experience to protect those rights. Insurance companies have experienced professionals working for them. Your attorney is the professional on your side.If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident, call The Law Offices of Haytham Faraj, PLLC at (323) 902-0730 or (312) 635-0800 to schedule a consultation.