Every personal injury case is different, and the individual circumstances of your accident will determine how best to proceed with your case — especially what kind of damages and losses (and how much compensation) the law allows you to claim. Generally speaking, though, the law is designed to allow you to seek a financial recovery to offset all of your harms and losses.
Some of these items, such as the value of a totaled vehicle or bills for emergency medical treatment, are fairly straightforward and simpler to estimate. However, there may be other expenses and losses for which you are entitled to compensation that you have not considered. For instance, many accident victims do not realize that they may be able to claim damages for future medical costs or loss of earning potential. Additionally, some harms and losses are very difficult to calculate, such as physical pain and impairment.
To help provide some insight on the issue, our expert Austin accident lawyers have compiled this list of common damages in personal injury cases that may apply to your case.
Many car accident victims experience damage to their vehicles. If it can be proven that the accident occurred due to another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for this damage. Victims in electrocution or burn accidents may be able to claim property damages if these incidents occurred in their residence and the cause can be traced back to another person’s neglectful behavior. Other valuables that are damaged in a personal injury case may also be claimed.
Most personal injury victims are able to pursue compensation for the treatment of their injuries, both immediately after their accident and even in the future. Estimating the cost of medical treatment can be difficult, which is why it is a good idea to speak to a personal injury lawyer before you pursue compensation for medical expenses. Proving future medical costs often requires expert analysis and opinion, which can be difficult to secure.
If you have been seriously injured in an accident, you may incur other miscellaneous expenses beyond medical treatment. For instance, you may have to pay for transportation or help accomplishing basic tasks. These types of out-of-pocket expenses can sometimes be claimed in a personal injury case.
Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Potential
When you have to miss work because of an injury, it can significantly impact your financial stability. In some cases, the law allows for injured victims to be compensated for wages lost during this period. However, your injury may impact your ability to earn a living in other ways as well. For instance, if you lose functioning in one hand, and you rely on that hand to do your work, you may be able to claim loss of earning potential for the future. Like future medical expenses, proving the amount of that future loss can be very complicated and often requires expert involvement.
Pain and Suffering, Emotional Distress, and Loss of Enjoyment
A personal injury case may also involve non-economic damages — that is, claims designed to compensate you for the emotional and physical toll of your injury. Pain and suffering damages address the physical pain and discomfort you experienced following your injury, as well as any future pain you will likely experience. Emotional distress, or mental anguish, compensation is the amount of monetary allowance that would compensate you for the psychological toll of your incident — for instance, anxiety, depression, or lost sleep. And loss of enjoyment is just that: the effect of your injury on your ability to enjoy life, by limiting your ability to participate in your favorite hobbies, social events, and so forth. Proving non-economic harms and losses like these can be difficult, which is why it’s best to at least consult with a lawyer before you begin pursuing compensation.
In cases where the defendant demonstrated gross misconduct — such as in a drunk driving accident — you may be able to sue for punitive damages as well. These damages are designed to punish the perpetrator for their negligence by demanding that they pay a sum of money as a penalty. These damages are separate from any fees or penalties owed from a judgment or plea in a criminal case.
It’s important to note that this is not a comprehensive list of damages that may be included in your personal injury case. Other examples of damages and losses include past and future disfigurement, loss of support, loss of household income, and more.
Understanding the damages that may apply to your case — and building a strategy to prove these harms and losses — can be difficult without the expertise of a legal professional. And building the best case usually requires you to thoroughly understand your rights and options as soon after the accident as possible. That’s why we recommend that you contact our office for a free case evaluation. During your consultation, you’ll receive valuable advice on how best to proceed with your case — with no obligation to engage our services afterward. Contact us today to speak with an expert Austin accident lawyer.