It’s common to hear, “We will make sure your injuries are taken care of!” when it comes to pursuing compensation after a car accident. This is because physical injuries are often the main focus of a car accident. While it’s crucial for your recovery to take care of your injuries, there are many other things that may be lost in a car accident.
A dedicated Memphis car accident lawyer at Gatti, Keltner, Bievenu & Montesi PLC Can go over your damages in great detail to ensure every loss is taken into account when calculating the value of your claim. Contact our office for a free consultation today to find out how much your car accident claim could be worth and what damages you could recover.
Recoverable Damages in Car Accident Claims
“Damages” refers to the dollar value a victim receives to pay for expenses directly resulting from the accident. After your accident, if you’ve sustained injuries, you may be able to pursue compensation for:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
- Punitive damages
Economic damages relate to any financial losses that the victim has taken on due to the accident, including:
- Hospital bills
- Medical treatment (therapy, rehab, etc.)
- Diagnostic imaging costs
- Ambulance fees
- Medical equipment, including prosthetics, wheelchairs, and hospital beds
- Accommodations to your home
- Lost wages
- Loss of future wages, including 401(k) contributions and salary increases
- Costs of increased insurance premiums
- Unexpected child care expenses
- Costs of household maintenance and upkeep
- Costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle
Serious accident injuries often leave the victims unable to work for an extended period of time. Time away from work and costly medical treatment may cause medical bills to pile up quickly. This is why it is important to seek the compensation you deserve by working with an experienced Memphis auto accident attorney.
Non-economic damages refer to the damages that arise after the accident. These damages have a direct impact on the victim’s quality of life (QOL) and are often much deeper than physical pain. Some of the most common non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of love and support
- Loss of companionship and advice
- Loss of society and protection
- Loss of guidance
- Diminished quality of life
- Skin scarring and disfigurement
- Reputational damages
Think of these damages as a way to compensate the victim for their diminished quality of life after the accident. Although no amount of compensation will change what you have been through, the financial award could help ease your burden as you recuperate from your injuries.
In certain situations, there is a third form of compensation, which is known as punitive damages. These damages are sparsely given and act as a form of punishment towards the at-fault party when excessive recklessness or gross negligence is shown.
One example would be if you were in an accident with a driver who was going 40 MPH over the speed limit. The driver was acting reckless, and you may be able to pursue punitive damages.
It is important to note that punitive damages will only be awarded at the court’s discretion. They may be issued when the court system finds it necessary to punish the defendant beyond the compensatory damages you are entitled to recover.
For a free legal consultation, call (901) 526-2126
How Are Damages Paid Out in a Car Accident Claim
After you have been involved in a car accident, you may be wondering how you are going to recover the compensation you will need to get through these tough times.
Fortunately, there are multiple ways in which you could recover the compensation you deserve. Two of the most common ways include filing a claim with the insurance company and bringing your case to court. Here is more:
Filing a claim with the insurance company is one of the top ways you can recover compensation for your damages. Tennessee is a fault state for car accidents and insurance purposes. This means when you are involved in an accident, instead of filing a claim with your own auto insurance provider, you will file a claim with that of the liable parties. If the liable party does not have auto insurance, you will be able to file a claim with your own insurance company if you purchase personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
Otherwise, you may not have the opportunity to file an insurance claim. If you do have the opportunity to file an insurance claim, do not count on it to cover your damages in their entirety. Insurance settlements often compensate victims for certain types and amounts of economic damages. This might include coverage of your medical expenses or the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle.
However, the amount the insurance company will be required to cover can vary widely based on the amount of coverage purchased by the policyholder. This means if your medical expenses exceed the state minimum limit, and the liable party only purchased the minimum amount of bodily injury liability coverage as required by law, the insurance company is not required to cover the access. Any damages you cannot recoup through an insurance claim, whether they be economic damages or non-economic damages, can be sought after in your civil lawsuit against the liable party.
Negotiating with the Insurance Company
It is also worth noting that dealing with the insurance company is not going to be easy. Even though insurance companies are designed to compensate claimants after an accident, since it will cost them money, many insurance companies will do everything in their power to reduce their financial obligation wherever possible.
It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to take advantage of injury victims by delaying the processing of their claim, placing unwarranted fault on them, tricking them into accepting a lowball settlement offer, or denying their claim in bad faith entirely.
Shared Fault Impacts Your Right to Compensation
Under Tennessee law, sharing liability for your injuries will not necessarily prohibit you from covering compensation for your damages. This is because the state operates under a modified comparative negligence system with a 50% threshold. This means you could be as much as 50% responsible for causing the accident and still recover compensation for your damages.
However, if you share fault for your injuries, your injury settlement will be reduced to reflect your portion of the liability. If the insurance company can get away with placing unwarranted blame on you, they may be able to reduce their financial obligation and subsequent profit losses.
This is not something you should have to worry about when dealing with your claim. Your attorney can handle the negotiations process on your behalf while you recuperate from your injuries.
If you hope to protect yourself from profit-driven insurance companies, your best option may be to get an experienced legal advocate on your side who will never pressure you into settling for less than you deserve.
When the liable party is not covered by an insurance policy or the insurance company is not required to compensate you beyond the existing policy limits, you may still be stuck with a wide variety of economic damages and non-economic damages. However, when you bring your case to court, you have the right to be made whole.
This means you should be repaid for every way your life has been affected by your car accident in Memphis. Any medical expenses the insurance company did not cover, including any property damages, can also be recouped in your claim.
Although insurance companies do not compensate car accident victims for non-economic damages, you can recover your non-economic damages in full through a personal injury claim against the liable party. Your attorney will carefully evaluate the details of your case to determine how much your car accident lawsuit is worth.
Get Help from a Car Accident Lawyer Today
Don’t get stuck living a lesser version of your life because of the negligence of another person. At GKBM, our team of experienced Memphis car accident attorneys has been helping injured victims pursue the maximum possible compensation for countless years.
Call our office today to learn more about how we can help ensure the pursuit of a proper recovery. or complete our online contact form for a no-cost, risk-free consultation and get started on your claim as soon as today.