Accidents can impact several areas of your life. From property damage to chronic physical injuries to post-traumatic stress, a car accident can be quite serious. Filing a car accident claim provides opportunities for plaintiffs to recover or to become “whole” again. Becoming whole isn't strictly a monetary concern. For this reason, non-monetary damages exist, too. In this article, we'll discuss the various types of compensation that may be be factored into your car accident settlement, including both financial and non-financial damages.
If you have suffered from injuries due to someone else's negligence, give our accident attorneys a call today. We're ready to help you take back control of your life. To schedule a free consultation, call or text us at (602) 345-1818, or fill out our convenient online form.
What Are Financial Damages?
If you suffered from injuries in a vehicle accident, you may be eligible to receive compensation to facilitate your financial and physical recovery in the form of financial compensation. Financial or economic damages are a form of compensatory damages, which are legal remedies that can be calculated in monetary terms. These damages are intended to make injured people whole again, as if the car accident never happened.
Some examples of economic damages after a car accident include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Medication costs
- Home renovation expenses related to your injury
- Home health services
- Home maintenance services
- Physical therapy/rehabilitation costs
- Vehicle repair costs
- Rental car costs
How to Prove Economic Damages
Make sure that you collect documentation for all associated expenses, and bring them to your lawyer during your initial consultation. Generally, to prove certain economic damages exist, you'll need to present different types of evidence, such as:
- Medical bills
- Medical reports
- Receipts (rental car receipts, etc)
- Invoices (car repair, home maintenance, home renovations, etc)
- Pay stubs
In addition to the above documentation, other forms of evidence may be used to support the determination of financial injury, including video footage and photos of the accident scene, property damage, sustained injuries, etc. Note that the above examples have been given on a general basis. Every case is unique, so be sure to work with your accident lawyer to get the necessary evidence.
What Are Non-Financial Damages?
Unfortunately, in an auto accident, financial injuries are often accompanied by non-economic injuries. The devastating effect of an accident may leave the people involved with a variety of emotional and psychological trauma.
Some examples of non-economic damages include:
- Emotional distress
- Anxiety and depression
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Severe physical pain
- Pain and suffering
Certain elements will be considered when determining non-economic damages, such as the extent and severity of the injuries, level of physical impairment, level of vocational impairment. How the accident affected the victim's daily life will also be included in the determination, examining his/her post-accident ability to enjoy hobbies, perform daily tasks, and engage with family and friends. While non-economic damages are not as straightforward in calculation, an experienced accident attorney will help you assign a monetary value to the non-economic injuries you sustained.
How to Prove Non-Financial Damages
Be sure to keep a detailed record of your injuries. It's advisable to keep a journal, outlining your injuries and associated physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms as time passes. You should also record the steps you've taken to mitigate your symptoms (seeing doctors, therapists, etc), as well as the impact the injuries have had on your daily life (vocational capacity, income variances, etc). Be communicative with your health care providers about your emotional and mental health. They can direct you to resources that will help you recover, and provide medical documentation on the extent of your injuries.
Additional types of evidence that may help prove psychological/emotional distress include:
- Documented opinion of a mental health professional addressing your mental state before and after the accident
- Medical records highlighting your psychological symptoms
- Medication history, especially for medications intended to treat psychological symptoms
- Witness testimony from family and friends who have seen the emotional and mental impact the accident has had on you
Limits on These Types of Compensation
Typically, economic damages are kept at a reasonable and proportionate level to the losses sustained by the plaintiff. Economic damages are measurable, so, usually, limits are not imposed.
On the other hand, non-economic damages are sometimes capped, depending on your state and type of personal injury case. Neither Arizona nor New Mexico, generally, limits the amount car accident plaintiffs can collect in non-economic damages. In Arizona, it has been deemed unconstitutional to impose limits. The state constitution states that “no law shall be enacted in this state limiting the amount of damages to be recovered for causing the death or injury of any person.” Az Constitution Article II, Section 31.
However, in New Mexico, there is an exception to the general “no limits” on non-economic damages rule. The New Mexico Tort Claims Act limits non-economic damage compensation to $750,000 in cases against government entities or employees. As a general rule, these cases must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. It's always best to consult with an accident attorney in New Mexico to understand what your legal options may be.
Call or Text Us today
If you're ready to set up a free initial consultation to review the facts of your case and discuss potential legal compensation options, give us a call or text today at (602) 345-1818. We're experienced and trustworthy accident attorneys who are ready to fight for you. We are located in Arizona and New Mexico and conduct in-person and virtual meetings, depending on your location and preference.