In a legal sense, damages are the losses that you sustain as the result of a personal injury, such as a car accident. There are economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that have a precise numerical value that can be calculated. Non-economic damages are more abstract and do not have a precisely calculable numeric value, but this does not mean they do not have worth.
The following are the different types of damages you may suffer in a car accident, both economic and noneconomic.
1. Medical Expenses
A motor vehicle accident may result in traumatic brain injury and other serious conditions. These often require extensive medical treatment, which you may require for the rest of your life. Doctors and hospitals charge you for the medical services you receive. You then receive a bill requesting that you pay a specific amount. Your medical expenses are therefore economic damages for which you can receive precise reimbursement.
2. Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering sounds like it is related to medical expenses, but it is not the same thing. Even after medical treatment, it may not be possible for you to recover completely from your injuries. An award for pain and suffering compensates you for what you have lost as a result of your decreased quality of life. It, therefore, falls under the category of noneconomic damages.
3. Lost Wages
You are probably not able to work during your recovery from a serious injury. If the injury is serious enough, you may never be able to work again. Lost wages are an example of economic damages because it is possible to calculate how much money you would have made during the time you spent off work recovering from your injury. It is also possible to determine how much you would have made during the rest of your working life if you are off work permanently. Note that you can still claim lost wages as a result of a car accident even if you were able to use paid time off from your employer during your recovery.
4. Emotional Distress
Wounds from an accident are not always physical but sometimes psychological. For example, you may develop posttraumatic stress disorder as a result of the accident. Emotional wounds do not leave physical marks or scars, which makes them harder to compensate. However, it is possible to claim damages for emotional distress if you can produce psychiatric records that verify it.
If you were to lose your life due to a car accident, your spouse and/or surviving relatives may be able to claim damages such as wrongful death or loss of companionship.