After an auto accident, you may incur numerous expenses such as medical bills, vehicle repair, and rental car costs. You may be experiencing severe pain. You may be unable to work temporarily or permanently and are losing wages. It can all add up to an enormous financial and psychological toll.
However, if the other driver was partially or wholly at fault, you may be entitled to compensation. This compensation is known in the legal world as “damages.” There are several types of damages, and the amount you receive depends on numerous factors.
If the other driver was totally at fault, you should be able to collect 100 percent of the damages. When more than one person is at fault for the accident, Arizona follows the doctrine of comparative negligence. This means drivers are compensated according to the percentage they are at fault. So, if you were 20 percent liable and the other driver 80 percent to blame, you could collect 80 percent of the damages.
Let’s take a look at some of the damages you may be entitled to.
You can be compensated for medical bills such as the cost of an ambulance, treatment at a hospital, prescription medicine, and medical devices. You may also receive compensation for necessary follow-up visits with a doctor and prescribed physical therapy. The amount of compensation you receive depends on the extent of your injuries and costs.
After the accident, be sure to seek medical care as soon as possible. You may think you feel OK, but injuries such as whiplash can take a day or two to manifest. If you do not seek medical treatment and later wish to include injuries on your claim that weren’t immediately diagnosed, you may not be able to include them.
The process of getting compensated for health care can be arduous if you need various types of long-term care. If you were seriously injured and remained in the hospital for a while, you may have to file reams of paperwork and wait a while for reimbursement from the faulty driver’s insurance company.
Pain and suffering
Pain and suffering refers to physical or mental distress that occurred because of the accident. If you make a pain and suffering claim, the insurance company will take into account what type of injury or injuries you incurred, the severity of the injury or injuries, and your prognosis. Emotional and mental stress are very much a part of pain and suffering. If you have experienced mental and emotional difficulties because of a serious car accident, you may be able to receive damages for this traumatic experience.
If your car was damaged in the accident, you can be reimbursed for the costs of repairs. In some cases, your car may be so damaged that the price of repairing it would be greater than its value. In this “total loss” situation, the insurance company may give you a payment equivalent to your car’s worth prior to the collision.
Rental car coverage
While your car is being repaired, you may need to rent a vehicle. The faulty driver’s insurance company should reimburse you or initially pay for this cost. Alternatively, if you have rental reimbursement coverage, your own insurance company may compensate you. You can read more about this topic in our article “Who Is Responsible for Providing Me with a Rental Car While My Vehicle Is Being Repaired?”
If your injuries are significant, you may not be able to work temporarily. In this case, you could be entitled to “lost wages.” The insurance company will compensate you for the wages you would have earned were it not for the accident. For example, if your injuries have kept you from doing your job for six weeks, you could be reimbursed for six weeks of wages.
Severe accidents may render some people permanently disabled. If you are disabled and cannot return to work, you may be awarded a settlement to compensate you for a lifetime of lost income.
If you can go back to work but will make less money than you would have as a result of your injuries, you may be awarded a partial future lost income settlement. Determining the amount of future lost income is complex, and clearly a lot of money is at stake. If you find yourself in this situation, it is vital to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Consult with an experienced attorney
Calculating how much compensation you deserve for pain and suffering, lost wages, disability and other issues is extremely complicated. It is wise to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to make sure you receive the maximum compensation. The Lamber-Goodnow Personal Injury Law Team offers free, no obligation consultations. There are no up-front costs. We get paid only if you get paid.