Types of Damages in a Car Accident Lawsuit

By Osborne & Francis
July 18, 2024

In the aftermath of a Florida car accident, you may find yourself faced with many costs in terms of your physical health, financial stability, and quality of life. If a negligent driver is responsible for your injuries, you may be able to recover the value of these costs in a car accident lawsuit. In many cases, our injured clients are unaware of the full range of damages available to them for compensation. 

That’s where our experienced team comes in. The personal injury lawyers of Osborne & Francis can assist you in determining what type of damages apply in your car accident lawsuit. You can reach us at (561) 293-2600 to schedule a free consultation. You can also contact our Orlando or Boca Raton offices online.

What are Damages in a Florida Car Accident Lawsuit?

When we discuss “recovering damages” in a personal injury claim, we are typically referring to the losses the plaintiff has incurred as a result of the negligent party’s actions. These are known as compensatory damages. They are intended to reimburse the injured party for costs that were inflicted upon them. In rare instances, a judge or jury may also award punitive damages to the plaintiff. Punitive damages are typically reserved for cases involving gross negligence, especially if the negligence was persistent or resulted in catastrophic harm.

Types of Compensatory Damages in a Car Accident Lawsuit

The two types of compensatory damages are economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages encompass losses with a set monetary value. For example, the price of a new fender or the cost of a physical therapy session are agreed-upon values between the entity providing the service or item and the person receiving the service or item. Economic damages like these can usually be substantiated with records, bills, and receipts so there is no question of their value.

Non-economic damages are intended to compensate the injured party for their emotional and non-material losses. These damages are important because they acknowledge the true extent of someone's experience after being seriously injured by someone else’s negligent actions. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to assist you with calculating the value of your non-economic damages, as well as your economic losses.

Medical Expenses Related to Car Accident Injuries Can Be Recovered 

Even minor injuries can leave families on the hook for hundreds or thousands of dollars in medical bills. In addition to the immediate treatment you receive, many types of serious injuries require long-term care, such as an anti-rejection medication after an organ transplant.

You should always consult a car accident lawyer before agreeing to any settlement offered by the insurance company, as it is not always possible to anticipate the full range of costs that will occur as a result of the injuries.

Examples of Medical Bills in a Car Accident Case:

  • Physical therapy 
  • Medication
  • Surgery
  • Hospital stay
  • Mobility aids, like wheelchairs
  • Home medical equipment 

Lost Income and Loss of Earning Capacity May Lead to Financial Instability

Lost wages are often an unfortunate consequence of being injured in a Florida car accident. However, it’s often more than losing a few days' worth of pay to recover physically. After sustaining a serious injury, there are many reasons why a victim or their family may need to miss work. For example, families of car accident victims may take time off to transport a loved one to doctor’s appointments or assist them with household tasks.

Damages for lost earning capacity deals with the long-term financial losses associated with a severe car accident injury. If your injury is such that you can no longer perform the functions of your job and now have to take a lower salary or switch to a field that pays less, your ability to earn your previous wages has been compromised. Future reduced earning capacity can be accounted for as an economic damage.

Pain and Suffering Damages Are Subjectively Calculated

Pain and suffering are measured based on a detailed formula that accounts for the impact your injuries had on your individual lifestyle. Many of our clients come to us unaware that their physical pain and mental anguish can be compensated in a car accident lawsuit. For example, let’s say that a drunk driver ran a red light and T-boned your car, causing you to break your leg. You're stuck in traction in a hospital bed for weeks after an extensive and painful surgery, causing you to miss a family reunion. In a personal injury lawsuit, your lawyer would likely pursue pain and suffering damages to acknowledge that your losses went beyond the cost of surgery or the paychecks you missed while recovering.

Loss of Consortium Can Compensate Spouses

If you were severely injured in a car accident, there’s a good chance that your family has been negatively impacted. In cases where someone has sustained a serious or debilitating injury, they may no longer be able to contribute to their partnership. Loss of consortium is intended to compensate partners of injury victims for costs like the loss of their intimate relationship, contributions to household labor, and companionship. 

While these costs may not be as clear-cut as a medical bill for a new wheelchair, the invisible costs of having a partner who is out of commission can take a significant physical, emotional, and mental toll. For example, imagine that your spouse can’t cook dinner, drop the kids off at school, or maintain a sexual relationship while they heal. Loss of consortium damages can help reimburse the spouse of the injured party for these losses.

Disfigurement and Scarring Are Recognized Non-Economic Damages

Car accidents can leave permanent physical reminders. Even once the injuries heal, you may be left with a scar that signifies a car accident where you spent a stressful month in the hospital or lost a loved one. Scarring or disfigurement may have an effect on other facets of your life, including your self-confidence or even your career. You may have to deal with intrusive questions, social isolation, and a loss of self-esteem. This treatment can lead to serious mental health conditions such as depression. If you carry the physical manifestation of a traumatic accident and have suffered as a result, you may be able to seek damages in a car accident lawsuit.

Car Accident Lawsuits Acknowledge Damages Related to Loss of Quality of Life

How do you place a price tag on being able to write, use the bathroom independently, or drive? How much is it worth to you to be able to pick up your child, or have a functioning short-term memory?

Serious car accident injuries can irrevocably alter your ability to live your life as you once knew it.

You may face limited career prospects, have to radically change the way that you navigate day-to-day tasks, and rely heavily on family or paid professional services just to get by. Even a temporary loss of quality of life can have long-term ramifications for your finances and mental health.

How Much Will I Receive in a Car Accident Settlement? 

Settlements for car accident injuries can range widely. Their value is based on the extent of the property damage, the severity of the injuries inflicted, the level of negligence displayed by the liable party, and the magnitude of the impact on your individual life. For example, a broken arm would likely impact a plumber with a young child to a greater degree than the average white-collar office worker with adult children. The compensation they receive should reflect that.

It is your personal injury lawyer’s job to demonstrate why you deserve the settlement amount you are negotiating for. How effective they are in securing you maximum compensation will depend on their skills, as well as the evidence available to them. You can help safeguard your claim by seeking medical treatment as soon as possible after your car accident and documenting the accident scene. Don’t offer a statement to the insurance company without first consulting your auto accident lawyer.

Why Should I Hire Osborne & Francis to Represent Me?

After being seriously injured in a Florida auto accident, the smartest decision you can make is to hire a personal injury attorney who is known for being thorough and responsive. The auto accident attorneys of Osborne & Francis have garnered a reputation for outstanding results and consistent customer satisfaction. 

Our team has served car accident clients for the past 7 years, earning their trust and respect.

We know that when a catastrophic injury has changed the course of your life, every penny counts. The auto accident lawyers of Osborne & Francis will bring in expert witnesses, coordinate paperwork, craft negotiating strategies, and work diligently to secure a fair settlement offer from the insurance company.

Insurance companies are not inclined to offer more than the absolute minimum that is required. So, hiring a capable personal injury attorney can mean the difference between receiving maximum compensation and being left on the hook for thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages. The accident injury lawyers of Osborne & Francis are prepared to stand up to massive insurance companies to get you the maximum compensation you deserve.

Contact Osborne & Francis Today For Help With Your Car Accident Claim

Being seriously injured in a Florida car accident can leave you in a dire financial situation with compromised health. The auto accident attorneys of Osborne & Francis want you to know that you do not have to navigate the personal injury claims process by yourself. 

We have the knowledge and resources to mount an effective claim for damages on your behalf, while you focus on your recovery.

Our team is equipped to take your personal injury claim to trial in the event that the insurance company is unwilling to make a fair offer in negotiations,

If you have sustained serious injuries in a Florida car accident, you may have questions about what kind of damages you are eligible to collect. Our team of skilled personal injury attorneys is available to discuss your case with you in a free consultation. You can reach us at (561) 293-2600 or contact our Orlando or Boca Raton offices online.

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