What types of damages may victims recover after a car accident?

Victims of car accidents may be aware that compensation for damages suffered as a result of another party’s negligence may be available when a victim has been harmed. Some car accident victims may wonder, however, what different types of damages are available following a car accident. The answer is, essentially, that the legal system seeks to help victims recover compensation for losses and damages they have suffered as the result of the negligent actions of another party.

To better understand what types of damages may be available to a victim of a car accident, it is important to understand that damages may be awarded based on the breach of a duty or violation of a right. When a driver has behaved negligently, and harmed another party, the driver has breached a duty of care to reasonably provide for the safety of others. There are a variety of different ways a party can be negligent.

When a party has breached a duty, the negligent party may be liable for damages the victim has suffered. The types of damages most commonly awarded to victims in these circumstances are what are referred to as compensatory damages. As their name might suggest, compensatory damages are designed to compensate victims for the harm suffered which can include injury or some type of loss. Damages must, however, be definite to be compensable.

What this means to victims is that keeping careful track and retaining all records of damages following a car accident is important. Damages that may generally be available following a car accident include medical expenses; future medical costs; permanent disability damages; lost wages; lost-earning capacity; loss of companionship; loss of enjoyment of life; pain and suffering damages and some others depending on the circumstances. Victims of car accidents may have legal recourse for damages through a negligence claim. Because of this, knowledge of the process and the different types of damages that may be available, and the importance of documenting them, can be helpful during a difficult time period.

Source: Cornell University School of Law Legal Information Institute, “Damages,” Accessed Oct. 29, 2014