If you’re injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for damages you incur.
After an accident, your top concerns are health and safety. But even when you are able to make a full recovery, the accident has still robbed you of your wellness and comfort for some extent of time. There is a good chance it has taken away your valuable time and money as well. That’s why all of these obstacles are factored in when you’re pursuing a car accident claim.
What are “Damages” in a Car Accident Case?
Damages are the compensation you can recover in your car accident claim. They are meant to make up for the financial and personal losses you’ve endured as a result of your injuries and trauma.
What Affects the Value of Damages?
Since Minnesota determines liability using comparative fault, more than one party can be held financially responsible for a car accident. For instance, if an accident happens between an intoxicated driver and a speeding driver, both negligent drivers could be assigned a percentage of fault totaling 100%.
The percentage of fault assigned to you affects how much you can collect. Say damages add up to $100,000 and you’re 10% at fault. You can collect $90,000. However, a driver who is more than 50% liable for an accident cannot collect compensation.
The severity of your injuries also impact the value of damages. Understandably, longer recovery times will warrant larger sums than shorter ones. Also, injuries that have an extreme or long-term impact on an accident victim’s life command a larger claim than less significant injuries. For instance, it’s clear to see that a passenger left in a coma would need more compensation than a person with a broken finger.
Minnesota drivers are required to carry no-fault accident insurance. If you’re involved in an accident, you’re required to collect from your no-fault policy first. Furthermore, you have to meet certain criteria to be able to move on to a lawsuit against the other party. These criteria include:
- Medical expenses surpass $4,000
- A permanent injury is sustained
- Injury victim is incapacitated for a minimum of 60 days
- The accident lead to death
In addition, Minnesota drivers must file no-fault claims within six months of an accident. If you don’t make the claim in time, you may not be able to include the amount you would have received in your claim against another driver.
Defining “Special Damages”
When it comes to health insurance, an estimated 72 million Americans are either underinsured or have no coverage at all. Since just one accident-related trip to the emergency room costs an average of $3,300, many don’t know how they’ll cover the expense.
Even those of us who are lucky enough to have coverage and savings can become quickly overwhelmed with the financial costs of an accident. Unexpected medical expenses like hospitalization, doctors’ appointments, therapy, and medication are some of the special damages, or economic costs, that pile up quickly.
In addition to medical expenses, special damages include other costs an accident victim wouldn’t have otherwise incurred. For instance, if you used to mow your own lawn, but you’re unable to because of your injury, you can include the amount you have to spend on someone else taking care of that chore for you.
Recovery time can range from days and weeks to months or years depending on the severity of an injury. Unfortunately, some are never able to return to work. Meanwhile, victims aren’t only unable to earn a living, they’re possibly missing out on career advancement opportunities. Your personal injury attorney will calculate your lost wages as well as your future earnings while working on your case.
When an injured party does not survive an accident, survivors can pursue compensation. For example, a surviving spouse who depended on his or her partner’s income suffers considerable damages.
Defining “General Damages”
While special damages have to be substantiated with receipts, bills, or other financial proof, general damages don’t have a clear dollar amount attached to them. They don’t affect your pocketbook, but general damages can impact your life in devastating ways. Pain and suffering, for example, is one damage many victims include in their claims. Even common injuries like whiplash that don’t appear to be too serious can result in pain lasting five years and beyond.
Injuries also have the power to create emotional turmoil in your life. Some emotional disorders result from physical injuries that alter the brain’s ability to regulate how we feel. Others stem from accident victims’ dissatisfaction with their overall quality of life. You may be unhappy with scars and disfigurements from a car accident, or perhaps depressed because of reduced mobility. Your personal injury attorney will speak to you in depth about your experience in order to consider and calculate your general damages.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a car accident because of another party’s negligence, contact the experienced legal team at Sand Law. Our attorneys have secured maximum compensation for our countless clients in a wide range of personal injury cases. We will evaluate the specifics of your case to get the best outcome for you as well. Reach out to us online or by phone at 651-291-7263.