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Determining damages in an accident seems easy from a distance. However, once an accident occurs, the different types of damages and the calculation of those damages can feel overwhelming.
When trying to bring a lawsuit for injuries arising out of an accident, people need to understand the different types of damages available and how to calculate them. Therefore, hiring an attorney for a personal injury case is important.
What are Special Damages?
Special damages, also called economic loss, means money lost by the injured person resulting from the accident. These types of monetary damages come in a variety of forms.
Medical expenses are one of the most obvious special damages. With the high cost of healthcare, seeking medical attention for injuries and any ongoing related doctors’ appointments can add up.
Therefore, collecting all the hospital and doctor bills is important if someone wants to make a strong claim. In Arizona, you are typically entitled to collect the full amount of all billed charges, regardless of whether your own health insurance has already paid the bills or the health care providers have taken insurance write-offs.
Property damage is the second most obvious claim. In a car accident, the cost to repair the car is easy to quantify.
However, since insurance companies will try to minimize the amount of damage and try to argue the mechanic’s price, having an attorney to help get the most money back is important. You may also have a claim for diminished value if you suffer substantial property damage and your car is repaired.
Funeral and Burial Expenses
Funeral and burial expenses count as an economic damage. While no one wants to think about this, some car accidents lead to death.
Despite the emotional pain stemming from the loss of life, people involved in accidents that result in a death will be financially burdened. Hiring an attorney helps by distancing the raw emotion from the monetary aspect.
Lost wages count as a special damage. If an injury leads a person to being out of work, the lost income can be recovered. While this is clearer for those who work an hourly wage, salaried employees who are out of work long term may also have an economic loss.
If someone needs to go on disability, their workplace may only pay a percentage of their salary. In Arizona, you typically are entitled to recover for all lost time away from work, even if you have disability insurance that pays some or all of your lost income.
Lost Earning Capacity
Related to lost wages, lost earning capacity is also something for which compensation may be available. This damage applies if the injury keeps someone from being able to continue in their current job forever.
The amount of money that could have been made over a lifetime is calculated and compared to the earning capacity going forward.
For example, if an attorney were to have a traumatic brain injury, he/she might not be able to continue working as an attorney. This would lead to a significant decrease in their ability to make money and a substantial claim for lost earning capacity.
Physical Pain and Suffering
Physical pain and suffering means all the physical and emotional stress that comes from an injury. This can include general aches, pains, suffering, limitations on activities, or emotional distress/depression. For example, if someone broke their leg in a car accident and can no longer coach their child’s soccer team for a year during rehabilitation, the emotional stress of disappointing the child could be counted in this category.
Humiliation and embarrassment
Injuries resulting from an accident can lead to disfigurement and/or scarring.
For example, facial scars from shattered windshields can lead to someone feeling embarrassed and humiliated in public. These are hard to quantify but are valid damages.
Shock and Mental Anguish
Shock and mental anguish are different from physical pain and suffering. While pain and suffering can incorporate emotional stress, the psychological issues need to stem from a physical injury.
Meanwhile, shock and mental anguish stand separate from the physical injury. If after a car accident, the victim is afraid to drive or becomes fearful of leaving the house, these may be emotional problems for which compensation is available.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium is defined as a loss of interpersonal relationships resulting from an accident. If someone is hurt or killed in an accident, the spouse can seek remuneration for the love, affection, companionship, comfort, society, or sexual relations available before the accident.
These damages are only available for the spouse of a victim who dies or has a severe and enduring injury. This type of injury would include paralysis, amputation, or incontinence.
Call Yearin Law Office Today
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, we invite you to give Don Yearin at the Yearin Law Office a call at 480-526-9386 for a free consultation.