Many of California’s main thoroughfares have heavy traffic. Auto accidents are common as a result.
Countless motorists have accidents annually that they walk away from unscathed. A small handful of them leaves motorists with significant injuries that forever alter their lives.
The injuries that a car accident victim may suffer may put an end to their ability to earn a living. Their significant other may not find them to be the same companion that they grew accustomed to having around. A car accident victim may also find that they require long-term treatment for the injuries they suffered in their crash.
You might know that you have rights to compensation for the bills you’ve amassed, but wonder if there’s more that you’re entitled to for all the other losses you’ve suffered. Know that you do have rights.
Damages you might qualify for after a car crash
When you hear the word “damages,” you might think that this term refers to any impact that your car has sustained, but it actually refers to the personal injuries and other losses that you’ve suffered.
You might suffer a myriad of personal losses in a serious wreck, and you might be able to recover compensation to pay for them. The two main types of damages that exist are punitive and compensatory.
Differentiating between punitive and compensatory damages
Compensatory damages are the ones that almost every car accident victim tries to recover from an insurance company. You may use these damages to cover:
- Current and future health care costs
- Transportation expenses related to your injuries or the wreck
- Lost wages while you’re recovering
- Damage to your vehicle or other personal items
You may also recover compensatory damages for the following reasons:
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium (your domestic partner or spouse may bring such a claim)
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of personal enjoyment
Punitive damages, by comparison, serve the role of discouraging drivers from copycat offenses. A judge may order a negligent motorist or manufacturer of a defective car to pay punitive damages only in rare situations where their actions are deemed especially reckless or even intentional.
Your ability to recover compensatory or punitive damages may be contingent on the nature of the accident and the severity of your injuries. Learning more about your options can help you decide on your next move.