Types of Damages in a Car Accident

If you have been in an accident, you are able to recover money for the damage to your vehicle and the injuries you sustained. The types of damages available for recovery vary from case-to-case, but can generally be categorized as property or bodily injury damages. If your vehicle has been damaged, you may be entitled to recover the value of the vehicle, the cost of repairs, and loss of use. You may also be able to recover for any personal property that was damaged in the accident. If you have been injured, you may be entitled to recover past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of earning capacity, past and future mental anguish, past and future pain and suffering, disfigurement, physical impairment, loss of consortium, and exemplary damages.

If any of your personal property (cell phone, purse, etc.) was damaged in the accident, you may be able to recover the current value of the item. If your vehicle was damaged in the accident, the types of recovery are slightly more complicated. If the vehicle is found to be a “total loss” – meaning the cost to repair is greater than the current value of the vehicle (pre-accident) – you can recover the current value of the vehicle. On the other hand, if the vehicle is repairable, you can recover the cost of the repairs, the cost of a rental car to use while your vehicle is being repaired, and loss of use damages. Loss of use is an amount of money meant to compensate you for the time you were without your vehicle.

Bodily injury damages are broad, and the types of damages available depend on the nature and severity of your injuries. Past medical expenses include medical bills you have already paid or incurred (still owe). Conversely, future medical expenses are medical bills you expect to pay in the future. In order to recover for future medical expenses, you must present evidence showing you will require the future treatment “in all reasonable medical probability.” Loss of earning capacity operates in much the same way. Past loss of earning capacity includes wages you lost as a result of your inability to work because of your injuries. Future loss of earning capacity is wages you expect to lose in the future due to a continued inability to work. This could be due to permanent disability, continued treatment, or other reasons.

Mental anguish and pain and suffering are harder damages to define. Mental anguish compensates you for the emotional pain you experienced as a result of the accident and your injuries. On the other hand, pain and suffering is meant to compensate you for the physical pain you endured as a result of your injuries. Disfigurement and physical impairment both relate to permanent injuries you sustained as a result of the accident. Disfigurement focuses more on burns, scarring, or loss of limbs while physical impairment compensates permanently diminished physical abilities (limp, decreased range of motion, etc.).

Lastly, loss of consortium and exemplary damages are types of damages that only apply in special situations. Loss of consortium is a type of recovery only available to an injured person’s spouse and occasionally children and parents. Loss of consortium compensates for things like loss of love, affection, protection, emotional support, companionship, care, and society. Exemplary damages are meant to penalize a defendant for outrageous, malicious, or otherwise morally culpable conduct and to defer such conduct in the future. These damages are only available in cases where a defendant’s actions go beyond ordinary negligence.

Where Zinda Law Group Practices:

We were founded in Texas and have a team of Austin personal injury lawyers as well as attorneys in Dallas and Fort Worth.

 As we’ve grown we expanded out west to El Paso, Texas subsequently into Arizona adding Tucson Personal Injury Lawyers to the firm, as well as adding offices in Colorado including Denver Personal Injury Lawyers and the surrounding cities such as Colorado Springs.

Types of Cases We Handle:

We also have a team of attorneys that have experience serious injury cases such as car accidents, wrongful death and truck accidents.   We also have experience handling more complex cases such as gas explosions and drug injury cases, such as the Taxotere® Lawsuits.