It’s one of the questions virtually everyone who has been in a car accident asks. After all, if another driver is at fault for the accident, it is only natural to consider a lawsuit to recoup your costs.
However, before you start making assumptions about the amount that may be due to you, it is important to know that your car accident case is unique. The circumstances of the crash, the type and extent of the injuries you suffered, and the dollar figure of your damages are all completely different than what someone in a similar situation might face. As a result, their demand for compensation would be different than what you pursue.
During a complimentary consultation, the Karl Truman Law Office will evaluate your case and advise you how to obtain the best possible recovery. Please call us in Louisville, Kentucky, at (502) 222-2222 or contact us at (812) 282-8500 for service in Jeffersonville and southeastern Indiana.
As a general guide, the following factors may be part of the damages available in your car accident claim:
The cost of medical care is very high, and treatment for an unexpected injury or illness is one of the leading causes of financial jeopardy. With serious injuries a common outcome in car accident cases, the medical bills are often steep and overwhelming.
Common medical expenses you may face after a car accident include:
Depending on the injuries you sustain and their severity, you may face ongoing medical care and rehab for years or even the rest of your life. As a result, you will continue to encounter not only physical and emotional burdens but financial burdens as well.
Your car accident claim should account for all of the medical expenses you have incurred for diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care associated with the crash. Your lawyer can also work with the doctors and specialists who are treating you as well as other medical experts to calculate the anticipated cost of ongoing care for your injuries.
Compounding the financial pressures associated with medical bills from the accident is the fact that you may be unable to work. Severe accident injuries may prevent you from returning to your profession long-term, or even render you incapable of doing any type of work that fits your experience, education, and skills.
Your car accident claim should include not only the earnings you have lost by being out of work but the long-term or lifetime income you forfeit on account of your injuries. In addition to lost wages, it is important to account for the benefits, bonuses, and other compensation you would have accrued had it not been for the accident.
The pay you have missed to date can be calculated through examination of pay stubs and tax records that show how much you make. Lost income going forward, however, will require additional calculations based on your salary, your age, your occupation, and a host of other factors.
Although it sounds straightforward, the term “pain and suffering” can be difficult to define. Unlike medical bills and lost wages, it is a type of non-economic damages; these losses refer not to monetary costs but other impacts on the quality of your life and overall well-being.
Pain and suffering can take many different forms after a car accident. Broadly speaking, examples may include:
Everyone faces unique challenges in recovering from a car accident. Pain and suffering and other non-economic damages strive to compensate victims for the physical, emotional, and mental effects that are not easily quantifiable.
Loss of consortium is the legal term for losses associated with adverse impacts on a familial relationship as a result of an accident. The Kentucky Revised Statutes define consortium as “the right to the services, assistance, aid, society, companionship and conjugal relationship between husband and wife, or wife and husband.”
Although the wording may seem confusing, loss of consortium basically refers to the inability to provide the same intimacy and care in a marital relationship. This may include household and parenting support, sexual relations, and more.
In both Kentucky and Indiana, damages for loss of consortium are available to spouses in car accident claims. In Kentucky, parents and children may also pursue loss of consortium damages for the impact the accident has on their familial relationship with the victim.
Although punitive damages may be awarded to you in a car accident case, they are not tied to your economic or non-economic damages. Instead, punitive damages are a jury’s way of cracking down on a defendant who willfully caused harm or behaved in an especially reckless manner.
The decision to award punitive damages and the amount are both at the discretion of the jury. Generally, they are only awarded in extreme circumstances.
In order to avoid disproportionate jury awards, some states have introduced caps on the amount of punitive damages available. In Indiana, punitive damages are restricted to whichever of the following is the greater amount: $50,000 or treble damages (triple what you are awarded in compensatory damages). Kentucky imposes no cap on the punitive damages that may be available in your car accident claim.
To improve the likelihood of receiving the full compensation to which you are entitled, it is important to contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after you have been injured. Doing so will enable you to focus on your recovery, and you can communicate with your lawyer on the medical bills you receive, your daily pain, the impact on your ability to make a living, and much more.
When searching for a lawyer, it is important to look not only at the verdicts and settlements the firm has achieved but what the clients have to say. You will be working with your attorney for a significant amount of time on your car accident claim, and it is important to find someone who excels not only at winning cases but providing consistent, hands-on service.
Contact the Karl Truman Law Office for a free evaluation of your car accident case. We serve clients in Louisville and throughout Kentucky (call (502) 222-2222) as well as southeastern Indiana from our office in Jeffersonville (call (812) 282-8500).