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After a car accident, victims may suffer from serious injuries and face financial burdens from medical bills, lost wages, and car repairs. One of the most common questions our firm receives from clients after a car accident is, “What determines how much I can recover after a car accident?” While each case is unique, there are several factors that are taken into consideration in order to help ensure that victims receive the compensation they deserve.
The personal injury attorneys at Zinda Law Group have experience representing victims and helping them determine the compensation they may be entitled to after a car accident. Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free case evaluation and initial attorney consultation with car accident lawyers near you.
Factors that determine recovery amounts
A car accident may leave victims with physical, emotional, and long-lasting damages. When another person is responsible for a victim’s injuries during a car accident, they may be held responsible and have to pay for the harm they have caused. Some of the most important factors that determine recovery amounts from such circumstances include:
Statements and Reports
Eyewitness statements and police reports can help paint a picture of what occurred leading up to the accident, which party or parties may have contributed to causing the accident, and who should be held responsible for the damages. These statements can be used as one of several factors to help determine recovery amounts.
Degree of Fault
Each state has its own laws on determining fault and how that fault affects recovering damages. In most states, even if you believe you may be partially at fault for causing the accident, you may still be entitled to recover money; however, this amount may be reduced depending on your degree of fault compared to the other party. Determining fault and recovery can be complicated, but an experienced car accident attorney can help navigate the process for you.
Degree of Care
In many cases, the degree of care that a driver displayed or failed to display during the accident will impact the recovery amount. For example, if it is heavily raining and visibility is poor, a diligent driver operating a car with appropriate care on the road would slow down and turn on their headlights. If a driver is found to have deviated from how other reasonable drivers on road would have behaved in a similar situation, they may be found more at fault for the accident.
Each state has specific statutes, or laws, that determine how much money an individual can recover for their damages. For example, some states have a cap on the amount of damage that a victim of a car accident and their family may be able to recover for pain and suffering.
Severity of Damage
One of most important factors in determining recovery amounts is the extent of the damages. This may include personal injuries, damage to your vehicle, and time taken off of work. The exact damages that are recoverable are unique in each case, but because of their importance in determining recovery, they are further broken-down below.
damages that may determine recovery amounts
Our clients frequently wonder how they can recover from the financial and emotional expenses after a car accident; they invariably ask, “What are the damages in an accident case?” There are different categories of damages, but in general, the amount of money victims may be able to seek in a car accident will depend on the extent of their injuries and damage to their property. Accident victims’ recovery amounts will depend on the extent of damages in the following areas:
When you’re injured after a car accident and need treatment, there may be many tests, appointments, and prescriptions that are needed. Medical bills may also include emergency room visits, follow-up appointments, x-rays, crutches, and prescription medication costs, among others.
Your injuries may require physical or occupational therapy to help you recover. It can take months or years of rehabilitation to help you achieve the level of health and mobility you had prior to your accident.
Mental Health Treatment
In some cases, victims may suffer from psychological injuries as well as physical injuries. If you have expenses related to treating PTSD, depression, anxiety, or other mental health injuries from your accident, the treatment you receive may be a recoverable expense.
When you have to take time off of work to recover from your injuries, you may miss out on a significant amount of money that you would have been able to earn if you weren’t injured. While you are recovering from your injuries and unable to work, you may be able to recover this money.
Loss of Earning Capacity
After a serious car accident, you may be unable to return to work or to return to your previous position because of the severity of your injuries. In many cases, experts will be needed to calculate the exact amount of the potential future income you could have earned, and you may be able to recover the amount you could have earned if you weren’t injured and able to work.
Pain and Suffering
A car accident can cause victims to suffer. The pain of resetting a broken bone, undergoing surgery, and extensive rehabilitation can all be considered when determining the extent to which a victim suffered.
Loss of Companionship
When a victim is seriously injured or killed, spouses, partners, children, and parents may feel as though their lives have been turned upside down. When victims cannot provide their family with the same level of love, affection, or comfort that they provided before the accident, there may be a loss of companionship or consortium claim.
There is a wide variety of damage that may be considered emotional distress, but it generally is designed to compensate victims for the psychological impact that their accident caused. It could include problems such as the inability to fall asleep or feeling anxious and depressed.
How to maximize the amount of damages you may be able to seek
After a car accident, the more proof that you can you provide of how the accident has affected you and your family, such as the amount that your medical treatment and injuries cost, time taken off work, and damage to your vehicle, the greater your chance is of recovering these expenses.
Whether you reach a settlement with the other party’s insurance company or go to trial, receipts and records will be relied upon to help determine a fair compensation amount. In order to help ensure you are able to seek the compensation you deserve, you should take the following steps after your accident:
1. Seek Medical Attention
If you do not receive medical treatment at the scene of the automobile accident, visit your doctor as soon as possible to determine whether you need medical treatment. After you leave the hospital or doctor’s office, be sure to watch for any additional signs or symptoms that occur in the days following the accident. Don’t ignore these, because you can experience the effects of an accident several days after it happens.
2. Report the Accident
After a car accident, you should immediately report the accident by calling the appropriate authorities or local police. An officer will fill out an accident report, which may include a description of the scene of the accident, the weather conditions, time of day, and other relevant details that may explain how the accident occurred.
3. Document Your Damage
As soon as possible, be sure to take photos of the damage to your car and any injuries you sustained in the accident. You should also take pictures throughout the healing process for any injuries you sustained in the accident in order to help demonstrate the severity and extent of your injuries.
4. Document Expenses Related to Your Accident
One of the most important items that you can do in order to help maximize the compensation you can recover is to document and track all of your expenses related to the car accident. This could include receipts and paperwork related to:
- Hospital and doctor bills
- Physical therapy invoices
- Chiropractor bills
- Documented time taken off from work due to any injuries
- Receipts for the repair or replacement of your car
- Receipts for a rental car while yours is being repaired
What Can a Car Accident Attorney Do for Me?
Our car accident personal injury attorneys are here to help walk you through every step of the process. If retained, they will ensure you receive proper medical treatment, investigate the accident, interview witnesses, collect crash reports, negotiate with the insurance company, file a lawsuit, and prepare to go to trial if necessary.
At Zinda Law Group, our personal injury lawyers can help you determine the damages you are entitled to by examining and weighing the factors listed above, such as the extent of your injuries, the amount of your medical bills, how severe are your pain and suffering, the value of your lost wages, and the expenses related to the damage of your vehicle.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
If you were injured in a car accident and want to file a lawsuit against the other party, you need to be aware of the time limits, or statutes of limitations, that are in place. Each state sets its own statute of limitations, which generally range from two to six years. However, it is best to contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible to help you navigate the filing timeline so that you may receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact a car accident lawyer today
At Zinda Law Group, our personal injury attorneys have helped many crash victims get the compensation they deserved after suffering an injury. Our attorneys are skilled at evaluating many of the factors that go into determining the amount you may be able to recover and will work to help ensure that you are compensated fairly for your damages and injuries.
Worried about affording an attorney during this difficult time? No need; we believe an accident victim should never have to worry about being able to afford legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we win your case; that’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
If you were injured in a car accident and are wondering how much you may be able to recover, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive your free consultation with one of our experienced car accident lawyers. We can help you find the answer.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.