If you have been involved in a car accident, you may be considering hiring a personal injury lawyer and filing a case in court. It’s typical to have questions, namely: How much is my case worth? Some people avoid filing a lawsuit, believing that the settlement they have been offered by an insurance company is fair. Others hold tight to the feeling that they aren’t “the type” of person to sue someone. The truth of the matter is that insurance companies aren’t out for a victim’s best interests, and the type of person who files a lawsuit is one that wants what’s fair.
When you file a lawsuit after a car accident, you may be awarded different types of damages. There is no cookie-cutter approach to determining the amount of damages a victim will be awarded. The amount you are awarded could be negotiated before your case goes to trial, or it could be awarded by a judge after hearing the facts of the case. No matter how you are awarded damages, there are two general types you can expect: compensatory and punitive.
Compensatory damages are those awarded to compensate a victim for what was lost. Some of these damages are fairly easy to add up; these are called economic damages. Medical bills and the repair or replacement of property can be quickly calculated with receipts and estimates. Other types of compensatory damage, called noneconomic damages, may be subjective. Here are the different types of these kinds of damages:
- Medical treatment
- Property loss
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
When a judge awards compensatory damages, they are attempting to help the victim get back what has been spent and what has been lost. A person can expect to be compensated for medical bills, property loss, and even wages that have been lost due to an inability to work. Victims may also be compensated if they are unable to enjoy life as they once were or if they cannot maintain a personal relationship with a spouse or partner like they did before the accident.
Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim, but to punish the at-fault party. Punitive damages are rarely awarded in any but the most egregious of cases. Punitive damages are capped in almost every state, eliminating the possibility of a judge “punishing” someone by hitting them with a massive charge to their pocketbook that they can’t afford.
The amount that a person may receive after an accident is based upon many factors. A judge will consider the amount of medical expenses the victim has already paid and how much they may have to pay in the future. The judge may also consider the time a victim is required to spend recuperating, whether or not the victim is able to return to work, and if the victim’s ability to enjoy life has been diminished.
If you have been hurt in a car accident in Charlotte, reach out to Auger & Auger Law. One of our experienced personal injury attorneys will review the details of your case at no cost to you and help you determine the type of damages you may be awarded in a court of law.