J&Y Law Firm discusses what kind of damages you should seek after an auto accident.

What Types of Damages Can I Seek After an Auto Accident in California?

An individual injured in an auto accident in California may suffer a variety of physical, emotional, and financial damages. If the other driver or another party is responsible for the case of the accident, the individual might receive compensation for these damages. The types of damages you can seek after an auto accident depends on numerous factors. An experienced California car accident attorney can evaluate your case and explain what types of damages can be included in your accident claim.

Common Damages Included in Auto Accident Claims

Three types of damages might be included in an auto accident claim. The third type of damage is rare and not available for a typical accident claim.

1. Financial or Economic Damages

The first type of damage included in an auto accident claim covers the financial losses and expenses related to the accident and your injuries. If the other party is completely at fault for the cause of the accident and there is sufficient insurance coverage to pay the claim, you should receive full compensation for your financial damages barring other mitigating factors.

Common examples of financial damages in an auto accident case include:

  • Damage to your vehicle and other personal property
  • Medical bills and expenses, including hospitals, health care providers, medications, medical equipment, therapy, etc.
  • Loss of income, including bonuses, commissions, wages, and other forms of compensation
  • Travel expenses to and from doctor appointments
  • Personal care, including help with household chores or childcare
  • Future damages, such as ongoing medical or personal care, future loss of income, or a diminished earning capacity
  • Other out-of-pocket losses or expenses related to the accident, your injuries, or your recovery

2. Noneconomic Damages or “Pain and Suffering” Damages

Noneconomic damages relate to your physical pain, emotional stress, and mental anguish caused by the accident and your injuries. Pain and suffering damages may also include compensation of loss of enjoyment of life or loss of quality of life. We also include compensation for permanent impairments, such as scarring, disabilities, and disfigurement, in noneconomic damages.

Because each person suffers differently after an accident and injury, noneconomic damages vary greatly by case. There are several factors that we use to calculate the value of pain and suffering damages for an auto accident claim:

  • The severity and type of your injuries
  • The length of your recovery
  • Whether you sustained permanent impairments
  • The amount of financial damages

In some cases, medical experts may be required to testify as to the severity of your injuries and the impact your injuries will have on your life.

3. Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are only awarded in cases involving negligence or recklessness that is willful and wanton. These damages are intended to “punish” the defendant for extremely reckless behavior that blatantly disregards the safety of others. An example might be a DUI accident case.

Contact a California Personal Injury Attorney for Help

Valuing an auto accident claim can be difficult. The insurance company for the other driver will attempt to pay as little to settle the claim as possible. The company may employ one or more insurance tactics designed to gain evidence against you to undervalue or deny your claim. 

Contact us today for a free consultation with a California car accident attorney to discuss your case and what your case is worth before talking to an insurance company about an auto accident claim.