Damage from an auto accident may seem limited to the harm done to the car, but there are many kinds of damages apart from those that affect the vehicle. In fact, there are a handful of damages that a personal injury lawyer can help you pursue if you are injured or harmed during an accident (even if you are at fault for some part of the incident).
Damages, in the legal sense, are issues that can have a dollar amount applied to them and are often described as a form of compensation. For example, you are compensated for property damages after an accident because your vehicle was harmed through no fault of your own (or at least not 100% your fault).
If your vehicle needs repair or replacement because of an accident, the costs to do these repairs or to buy a new vehicle are part of the damages you can pursue. They are not part of a personal injury case, typically, but are part of the compensation that you can claim against the at-fault driver (through their insurance provider).
Whenever you are in an accident, you are likely to sustain some sort of injury. It could be as simple as bruises and scrapes, but it could be a permanent disability due to the severity of the accident. And because some of the medical issues that can occur from an accident don’t show symptoms at the scene, it is possible to have medical expenses that arise afterward. This is why a medical exam after even, what seems to be, a mild accident is important.
Expenses for treatments such as therapies, consultations, in-home services, and issues like ambulance fees, all medical accessories, disfigurement or disability fall under this category of damages.
If an accident causes you to lose your ability to work in your pre-accident industry or field, even if it is temporary, you can pursue them for lost wages. The inability to do work because of a medical issue (whether it is time recovering, because you need physical therapy, because you lost your mobility or other impairments) requires compensation. Juries or judges consider your age, skill level, occupation and life expectancy to determine such damages.
Pain and Suffering
In addition to medical fees, an accident can cause someone to suffer physical and mental distress that may require financial compensation to address. As an example, a serious anxiety issue may result from an auto accident. While it may not manifest with physical symptoms that a doctor will see immediately after an accident, it is nonetheless a damage that the person who caused the accident should compensate.
Out of Pocket Expenses
Damages of this kind are a form of umbrella claim, and one of the most overlooked. It is a way to find compensation for all of those items that are essential and unavoidable, but difficult to categorize. For example, you may have to pay for OTC medications, a hotel stay during medical treatment, or transportation as part of ongoing medical care. These are all qualified expenses paid out of pocket, and your lawyer may pursue them as part of the damages.
A personal injury lawyer is essential when filing a claim for damages resulting from an auto accident and should be one of the first you contact after an incident has occurred.