What Damages Can Be Recovered After a Car Accident?

Posted by Jared Pehrson | Dec 21, 2022

If you have been hurt in a car accident in Arizona or New Mexico, you may be able to recover damages from the negligent, or careless, party. However, it is important to note that you only get one chance to pursue the financial compensation you need to recover from your injuries. Once you have accepted a settlement or a verdict has been given in your case, you cannot go back and obtain more, even if the damages you received were not enough to fully cover the cost of your losses.

It is for this reason that it is critical to work with a car accident attorney in New Mexico and Arizona. A personal injury lawyer will have the experience necessary to understand the full range of damages you can claim and the skill to help you obtain them. Below, our personal injury lawyer in New Mexico and Arizona explains the most common types of damages you may be able to recover after a car accident.

Past, Current, and Future Medical Expenses

Medical expenses often make up the bulk of damages in personal injury claims after a car accident. Medical expenses cover a wide range of costs, including hospitalizations, surgeries, physical therapy, doctor's visits, and all treatment expenses you incur. Many people understand that they can include their current and past medical expenses in a claim, but they fail to understand that they can include their future medical expenses, as well. 

This is why it is often necessary to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before filing a claim. Reaching MMI means that your injuries will not become any worse, but they will not become any better, either. Only after you have reached MMI can you fully understand the total cost of your injuries now and in the years to come.

Past, Current, and Future Lost Income

The injuries sustained during a car accident may prevent you from working, perhaps for a long period of time. Regardless of how long you are out of work, you deserve compensation for the wages you lost during that time. 

Recovering lost income includes much more than your wages. You can also recover any benefits, bonuses, vacation pay, or sick pay you lost as a result of being unable to work. As with medical expenses, it is important to not only claim your past and current lost income, but any losses you may face in the future, as well.

When a car accident is particularly severe, you may never be able to return to the same line of work again. The positions you are now eligible for may also not pay as much as the type of employment you had before the accident. In these cases, you can pursue damages for the loss of earning capacity. These damages essentially entail the difference between your new wages and your old salary.

Damages for Pain and Suffering

A car accident will leave you in an immense amount of pain as you try to recover from your injuries. Your life may also be greatly affected, and you may no longer be able to enjoy the hobbies and activities you once did. You may suffer from post-traumatic stress and other psychological injuries, such as developing a fear of driving or even being a passenger in a vehicle. 

Calculating damages for pain and suffering is not as easy as determining the amount of other losses, as these losses do not have a monetary value. A personal injury lawyer in New Mexico and Arizona can review your losses and use an appropriate formula to accurately value your damages for pain and suffering.

Damages for Permanent Scarring and Disfigurement

Paralysis, burns, and broken bones are just a few types of injuries that can result in permanent scarring and disfigurement after a car accident. These injuries differ from others, as they can cause accident victims to suffer a lifetime of shame, embarrassment, and chronic pain. These are losses like any other, as victims would not suffer from them had the accident not occurred.

Damages for Loss of Consortium

Damages for loss of consortium are typically claimed by spouses and partners of accident victims. These damages compensate spouses and partners for the loss of a romantic or sexual relationship due to the severity of the victim's injuries. Although these damages are claimed by the spouse or partner, they are included in the same claim.

Damages for Out-of-Pocket Expenses

After an accident, you will incur many out-of-pocket expenses. These can include the childcare you must hire because you can no longer watch your children on your own, housekeeping services if you can no longer care for your home, and even the cost of transportation to and from doctors' appointments. It is critical that you keep all receipts and invoices so you can make sure you obtain the full and fair compensation you deserve.

Punitive Damages

Unlike the above types of compensation, punitive damages are not common in personal injury claims. In fact, they are rarely rewarded. This is because punitive damages are meant to punish the negligent party, and not to compensate the accident victim. 

Punitive damages are only awarded when the defendant displayed gross negligence, or a wanton disregard for the safety of others. For example, if the driver that hit you was drunk, that could present an argument for punitive damages to be awarded.

Caps on Damages

Many states around the country place a cap on the damages one can receive after being hurt in an accident. Fortunately, neither Arizona nor New Mexico has these caps in place, making it easier for you to claim the full and fair damages you need to recover from your injuries.

Contact Our Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys in New Mexico and Arizona Today

If you have been hurt in a crash, our personal injury lawyers in Arizona and New Mexico can help. At Impact Legal, our seasoned attorney can accurately value your claim so you recover the settlement to which you are entitled. Call us now at 602-835-5491, or contact us online to speak to our knowledgeable attorney.

About the Author

Jared Pehrson

Jared is a lifetime boater that has spent countless hours boating all over the left coast. His favorite lake is Lake Powell. Lake Powell reminds him of years past when he starting boating with his late grandfather. 

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