FAQ: What Damages Do Car Accident Settlements Cover?

Car accident settlements can cover a range of damages suffered by victims.

An experienced car accident lawyer can help advocate for fair compensation.

What Damages Do Car Accident Settlements Cover? Let's Discuss.

Question: What damages do car accident settlements cover?

Answer: While this can differ on a case by case by case baside, damages covered in car accident settlements typically include both economic damages and non-economic damages.

Economic damages include, but are not limited to, items such as:

  • Medical bills;
  • Property damage; and
  • Lost wages.

Non-economic damages include, but are not limited to, items such as:

  • Pain and suffering;
  • Emotional distress; and
  • Punitive damages.

On this page, we’ll discuss this question in further depth, review more extensive lists of items included in economic and non-economic damages, cover how a car accident lawyer can help you determine damages, and much more.

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A Guide to the Damages Covered by Typical Car Accident Settlements

Car accidents are unexpected and often life-altering events that can lead to physical, emotional, and financial turmoil for those involved.

In 2021, the National Safety Council (NSC) reported 5.4 million motor vehicle accidents, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded 42,915 fatalities.

Because of the frequency, severity, and unpredictability of car accidents, everyone must understand what type of damages the typical car accident settlement process may cover.

Damages refer to the losses or injuries sustained due to an accident.

Car accident damages can include economic and non-economic damages.

These damages are typically covered by the responsible party’s insurance company or paid out in a settlement agreement between the parties involved.

An experienced car accident lawyer can help victims through the legal process to secure a settlement.

If you have been involved in a car accident at no fault of your own, car accident lawyers can help guide you through the settlement process and ensure you receive fair compensation for your damages.

Contact TorHoerman Law today for a free consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for a car accident case instantly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Damages refer to the losses or injuries a victim sustains due to a car accident.

These can include both tangible economic damages (like medical bills and property damage) and intangible non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium).

Economic damages are quantifiable losses that victims of car accidents may experience.

These damages have a direct financial impact.

Examples include medical bills, therapy costs, lost wages, property damage, and future medical expenses.

Non-economic damages are more intangible and harder to quantify.

They relate to the emotional and psychological toll a car accident imposes on a victim.

Examples include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and lost quality of life.

Experienced car accident lawyers can help assess and calculate the extent of non-economic damages in car accident claims.

While this depends on the laws of your state, in many places, you can still claim damages if you are partially at fault.

However, your compensation might be reduced in proportion to your share of the blame.

It’s essential to consult with a car accident lawyer to understand your rights in such cases.

It’s crucial to factor in future medical expenses when negotiating a settlement.

If you have already settled and new bills arise, it can be challenging to claim additional compensation.

This underscores the importance of consulting with a lawyer before finalizing a settlement.

An experienced car accident lawyer can help assess all damages accurately, negotiate with insurance companies, gather and present evidence, protect your rights, and ensure that you receive fair compensation.

The expertise of a car accident lawyer can be invaluable in navigating the complexities of the legal process and ensuring you get the maximum compensation possible.

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Table of Contents

Common Economic Damages in Car Accident Settlements

Economic damages are tangible, quantifiable losses that car accident victims may incur.

These damages often have a direct financial impact and can be calculated precisely.

Primary economic damages included in car accident claims may include:

  • Medical bills
  • Property damage
  • Therapy costs
  • Lost wages or earning ability
  • Future medical bills

Medical Bills

Medical bills are one of the most significant economic damages in a car accident claim.

These expenses encompass a wide range of medical treatment and rehabilitation costs.

Medical expenses related to car accident claims may include:

  • Hospital bills
  • Doctor’s fees
  • Surgical costs
  • Prescription medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Medical equipment

In many cases, severe injuries may require ongoing medical expenses.

A car accident settlement should consider both current and future medical costs.

Property Damage

Property damage, including vehicle damage, refers to the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and any personal property damaged in the accident.

These damages include the cost of vehicle repairs and replacement of broken items inside the vehicle.

In some cases, the car accident settlement may also cover rental car expenses or alternative transportation while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced.

Therapy Costs

Car accidents can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health.

These emotional and psychological damages can lead to the need for therapy, counseling, rehabilitation, and other therapeutic interventions.

Such services may include treatment for:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Emotional distress 

The cost of therapy sessions and treatments can add up quickly, and a car accident settlement should include compensation for these expenses.

Lost Wages or Earning Ability

When a person becomes injured in a car accident, they may be unable to work or perform their regular occupational duties.

This loss of income can be significant and have long-term financial consequences, especially if the car accident victim is the primary earner in the household. 

Lost wages encompass the income you would have earned had you not been injured in the accident, including current and future lost wages.

The determination depends on the severity of your injuries and how long they prevent you from working. 

Suppose the car accident causes a permanent disability or impairs your ability to work in the future.

You may also claim compensation for reduced or lost earning capacity in that case.

This compensation may cover the difference between what you could have earned had the accident not occurred and what you are now capable of earning.

Future Medical Expenses

As mentioned, some car accident victims with severe injuries may require ongoing medical treatment, surgeries, or long-term care.

These future medical expenses must be included in a car accident settlement to ensure you are adequately compensated for the anticipated costs associated with your injuries.

This compensation can help cover medical costs, even if they may not have occurred yet, providing financial security for you and your loved ones in the future.

Non-Economic Damages in Car Accident Settlements

Non-economic damages are more intangible and challenging to quantify than economic damages because they involve the emotional and psychological toll of a car accident.

These damages aim to compensate victims for the intangible losses they experience.

Potential non-economic damages that a car accident settlement may cover include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost quality of life
  • Emotional damages
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering damages address the physical and emotional distress that a car accident victim experiences.

This compensation puts a dollar figure to the pain, discomfort, and emotional anguish resulting from injuries sustained in the accident.

It also considers the pain and suffering from future treatments or ongoing injuries.

Lost Quality of Life

Car accidents can drastically change a victim’s quality of life.

This change may encompass the inability to engage in hobbies or activities they once enjoyed, loss of mobility, and a diminished overall quality of life.

Whether it’s the inability to participate in athletic activities or complete daily tasks without assistance, a car accident settlement should consider these losses and provide compensation accordingly.

Emotional Damages

Emotional damages can cover various psychological and emotional distress, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the emotional impact of disfigurement or permanent injuries.

They can also include the emotional strain on relationships with family and friends.

These damages aim to compensate car accident victims for the mental toll of an accident, which can have long-lasting effects on their well-being.

Loss of Consortium

Loss of consortium refers to the loss or impairment of companionship, support, and intimacy between a car accident victim and their spouse or partner.

A car accident settlement may include this type of damage if the injuries sustained by one person cause significant changes in their relationship with their partner.

These damages aim to address physical and emotional changes in a relationship, recognizing the impact of the accident on the victim and their loved ones.

Punitive Damages

In some cases, a car accident victim may also receive punitive damages on top of economic and non-economic damages.

These damages are less common, and courts award them in cases of extreme negligence or intentional harm.

Punitive damages aim to punish the at-fault party and deter others from engaging in similar conduct in the future.

A judge typically determines the amount of punitive damages based on the severity of the at-fault party’s actions and their ability to pay.

Determining non-economic damages can be challenging as they are subjective and vary significantly from person to person.

An experienced car accident lawyer can help negotiate reasonable compensation for your non-economic damages in a car accident settlement.

The Car Accident Lawsuit Process

Understanding the process of pursuing a car accident lawsuit is crucial for car accident victims seeking to claim damages.

Here’s an overview of the typical steps involved in a car accident lawsuit:

  1. Consultation With an Experienced Attorney: The first step is to consult with an experienced car accident attorney from a reputable law firm. These legal professionals specialize in personal injury claims and can provide invaluable guidance and representation throughout your case.
  2. Investigation and Evidence Gathering: Your personal injury attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to determine liability and gather evidence to support your personal injury claim. Evidence may include pictures and videos from the accident scene, police reports, witness statements, medical records, and expert opinions.
  3. Assessment of Damages: Your lawyer will work with you to assess the damages you have suffered. This assessment involves calculating economic and non-economic damages, considering current and future costs.
  4. Negotiation With the Insurance Company: Most car accident claims involve dealing with insurance companies. Your attorney will negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company to reach a settlement that adequately compensates you for your losses.
  5. Filing a Lawsuit: If negotiations with the insurance company do not result in a fair settlement offer, your attorney may file a lawsuit on your behalf to pursue compensation. This formal legal action initiates the legal process.
  6. Discovery Phase: During the lawsuit’s discovery phase, both parties exchange information and evidence about the case. This process helps clarify the facts and issues in dispute.
  7. Settlement Negotiations or Trial: After the discovery phase, there is usually another opportunity for settlement negotiations. If the parties involved cannot reach a fair settlement, the case proceeds to trial, where a judge or jury will determine the outcome. 
  8. Judgment and Appeal: The court will award your damages if the judge or jury rules in your favor. In some cases, the opposing party may appeal the judgment, extending the legal process.
  9. Collection of Damages: Once a decision is final, the at-fault party must pay the awarded damages. Your attorney will work to ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Assess, Calculate, and Determine Damages

An experienced car accident lawyer is pivotal in helping you assess, calculate, and determine damages in your car accident claim.

Here are some ways a car accident lawyer can help you:

  • Evaluating the Full Extent of Damages: Car accident lawyers are skilled at assessing the full scope of damages you have incurred. They consider current and future expenses, ensuring you are not shortchanged in your settlement. They also know average car accident settlement amounts for cases similar to yours and can use that information to negotiate a fair settlement.
  • Negotiating Fair Settlements: Lawyers are adept at negotiation and will work tirelessly to secure a fair settlement with the insurance company or at-fault party. They understand common tactics that insurers use to minimize payouts and can counteract these strategies.
  • Providing Legal Expertise: Car accident attorneys have a deep understanding of personal injury law and the nuances of car accident cases. They can navigate complex legal processes, anticipate potential challenges, and provide sound legal advice.
  • Gathering and Presenting Evidence: Expert attorneys have the resources and knowledge to collect and present evidence effectively in your case. They are crucial for substantiating your claims and demonstrating liability.
  • Following Strict Deadlines: Each state has a statute of limitations that imposes strict deadlines for filing a car accident claim. Lawyers ensure that your case adheres to these timelines, protecting your right to compensation.
  • Protecting Your Rights: Your attorney will help protect your rights throughout the legal process. They will help you avoid common pitfalls and legal missteps that could jeopardize your case.
  • Advocating for Your Interests: Your lawyer is your advocate, representing your best interests at all times. They will fight for the compensation you deserve and help you achieve a fair outcome in your case. 
  • Maximizing Compensation: Lawyers are skilled at presenting evidence and arguments to maximize your credibility and strengthen your case. They will use their expertise to help you receive the full and fair compensation you deserve for your damages.

TorHoerman Law: Your Car Accident Lawyer

At TorHoerman Law, we understand that pursuing damages after a car accident can be stressful and overwhelming.

Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers is here to help.

We have a track record of advocating for our client’s rights and achieving favorable outcomes in car accident cases.

Our goal is to help you receive the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on your recovery.

We aggressively pursue all available legal avenues to secure the best possible outcome for our clients.

If you’re suffering from serious injuries due to a car accident, don’t hesitate to seek legal representation.

We are committed to helping our clients receive the maximum compensation for their damages and holding responsible parties accountable. 

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for a car accident lawsuit instantly.

Tor Hoerman

Tor Hoerman

Owner & Attorney - TorHoerman Law


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