A car accident can affect your health, family, and livelihood. You might worry about whether you can afford your medical bills and other expenses, especially if your injury prevents you from returning to work. Being injured in a car crash is a traumatic experience that disrupts your life and routine
Accident victims often wonder about the value of their cases. Wanting to know how much you can expect to receive from the insurance company is normal. Understanding how the claims process works and the factors that go into determining compensation could allow you to help maximize the value of your case.
COMPENSATION IN A CAR ACCIDENT CASE
The compensation you receive might cover various accident-related injuries and losses from the car crash. Two types of compensation, or “damages,” are available – economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are compensation that covers the expenses you incur due to your injury. Below are the losses you could claim after a car accident in Missouri.
Medical bills can be expensive. Some people face financial strain while treating an injury after a car crash. The money you recover in a claim or lawsuit might compensate you for the cost of your treatment. Common medical expenses include:
- Assistive medical devices
- Hospital stays
- Emergency room visits
- Prescription drugs
- Ambulance services
- Physical therapy, vocational therapy, and occupational therapy
- Home health care
- Medical supplies and equipment
LOST WAGES AND EARNING CAPACITY
Lost wages refer to the hourly pay or salary you no longer receive due to the injuries you suffered in an accident. This category includes bonuses, overtime pay, benefits, tips, and commissions. You lose more income the longer you can’t return to your job or can work at a limited functional capacity.
You can determine your lost wages by collecting your pay stubs, tax forms, or other documents to calculate your missed hours and lost pay.
Lost earning capacity is also compensable in a car accident case. Although calculating the wages you won’t make in the future is a bit more challenging, you can do it with the help of your pay stubs, doctors, and your personal injury attorney.
Your medical providers might inform you that your injury prevents you from working. Based on the recommended treatment plan, you can estimate how long you’ll be out of work. You must have proof of your inability to return to your job to secure compensation for lost earning capacity.
You might be entitled to compensation for your out-of-pocket expenses depending on the circumstances of your case. These expenses relate to your injury and the costs you incur other than medical bills and lost wages. Common examples include:
- Transportation to and from doctor’s appointments
- Household services, such as cooking, cleaning, childcare, and mowing the lawn
- Assistance in performing basic tasks, such as dressing, eating, and bathing
Property damage refers to the cost of repairing your damaged vehicle. A repair estimate can show the damage that occurred during the crash and how much it might cost to return the vehicle to a functioning condition.
Non-economic damages are more challenging to calculate. These damages are compensation for the intangible losses associated with an accident. Listed below are the kinds of non-economic losses your compensation might cover in a car accident case.
PAIN AND SUFFERING
Pain and suffering refer to the physical manifestation of symptoms caused by an injury. Mental anguish is often included in pain and suffering. It’s the emotional or psychological effects of an accident.
Common examples of mental anguish include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Panic attacks
LOSS OF ENJOYMENT OR QUALITY OF LIFE
An injury can significantly affect a person’s quality of life. You might not be able to participate in sports or other physical activities you enjoy because of your injury. The accident might have caused psychological issues that prevent you from doing your job, caring for your family, or leaving the house. The money you recover in a car accident case might help compensate for the impact the car crash has on your life.
PERMANENT IMPAIRMENT OR DISABILITY
You can seek compensation for a disability or permanent impairment resulting from the car accident. A permanent impairment is a significant loss, deviation, or loss of use of a bodily function or structure due to a disorder, disease, or health condition.
Your doctor can determine whether you have a permanent impairment and provide a disability rating. The rating can help you prove your physical limitations after the car crash to the insurance company or defense counsel.
Disabilities and permanent impairments often require ongoing treatment to manage symptoms or assistance completing routine tasks. Those costs can increase the value of your case.
CALCULATING COMPENSATION IN A CAR ACCIDENT CASE
Calculating your economic losses is simple. You can determine the value of your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses by looking at receipts, invoices, and other financial documentation.
Calculating non-economic losses is more complicated. Insurance companies often use the multiplier method to determine the value of pain and suffering. They multiply a number between 1.5 and five by your total economic losses.
Typically, a 1.5 multiplier indicates a minor injury. Catastrophic or permanent injuries can warrant using a multiplier of five.
HOW PARTIAL FAULT AFFECTS COMPENSATION
You might not receive the total compensation you need to cover your damages if you’re partially to blame for the car crash. In Missouri, a jury deciding on a lawsuit can diminish the plaintiff’s compensation by their percentage of fault under the pure comparative negligence statute. That means the value of your case can decrease if the jury determines you’re partly responsible for your injury.
For example, suppose the car crash caused you to sustain $100,000 in losses. The jury assigns the defendant 80 percent fault for driving under the influence of alcohol but determines you share 20 percent fault for texting while driving. Instead of recovering the total $100,000 to which you’re entitled, the most you can receive is $80,000.
INJURED IN A CAR ACCIDENT? CONTACT A CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER TODAY
A car crash can be a traumatic experience. However, you don’t have to pursue the compensation you deserve on your own. The legal team at The McCallister Law Firm has fought for injured clients since 1996. We will be your advocate and aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve.