What Damages Can I Collect After a Car Accident?
The kind of damages you can collect after a car accident will vary depending on how the car accident affected you personally, such as whether it caused you bodily injuries, extensive financial setbacks, and emotional pain. In general, medical expenses, lost wages, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering might be available.
Other factors may also affect what kind of damages you can claim, such as whether you are filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, whether you qualify to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit for a loved one’s death, and whether you were partially at fault for the car accident. This article will discuss these differences in more detail below.
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A Lawyer Can Help You Determine Which Damages You Might Be Entitled to Collect
Car accident cases can vary greatly, so you may want to consult a legal team and explain the kind of losses you experienced during and after your car accident to determine how much compensation you might be entitled to collect. Below are some damages you may be able to claim.
Economic damages are generally easier to calculate because they have monetary value and can be backed by financial documents. Your lawyer can help you gather materials to calculate the total amount of financial damages you sustained since the car accident occurred, which might include:
- Medical treatment costs, including emergency care costs
- Post-treatment costs, such as for physical rehabilitation
- Out-of-pocket costs for your injuries, such as paying for crutches, bandages, and prescription medications
- Vehicle-related expenses, such as repair costs or the cash value of the vehicle if it got totaled
- Loss of wages due to your injuries or lack of transportation
- Costs for services needed due to limitations from your injuries, such as cleaning and childcare services
- Reduced earning capacity
Non-economic damages do not have a strict financial value because these losses are more subjective. Florida Statutes §627.737 limits what kind of non-economic damages a plaintiff may be qualified to demand compensation for. These losses may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Inconveniences you experienced due to your injuries from the accident
- Scarring and disfigurement or any significant changes in your appearance
- Permanent injury or disability or loss of bodily function
Wrongful Death Damages
If you lost a loved one in a car accident, you might be able to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit on their behalf. Florida Statutes §768.21 describes which surviving persons may qualify for wrongful death damages and the kind of damages they can pursue.
If you are the surviving spouse, child, or parent of the decedent or the decedent’s personal representative, you may be entitled to collect damages for:
- Funeral expenses, including costs for burial or cremation services
- Loss of earnings since the date of death
- Medical expenses related to the decedent’s fatal injuries
- Loss of support and services from the decedent
You may also be entitled to collect damages for your pain and suffering since their passing.
Florida is a comparative fault state, meaning if the plaintiff is found partially at fault for the car accident that caused them damages, this might affect how much compensation they are legally entitled to collect. According to Florida Statutes §768.81, a plaintiff’s compensation award may be reduced by their percentage of fault.
For example, if a plaintiff was found 30 percent at fault for the car accident, any compensation they are awarded may be reduced by that percentage, meaning they collect 70 percent of damages. Though you will not be barred from collecting compensation even if you were partially negligent, this can affect how much financial recovery you might be able to achieve.
You Must File by the Statutory Deadline to Claim Damages
Regardless of which damages you are entitled to collect after a car accident, in order to collect these damages via a lawsuit, you must file your case by its statutory deadline, which differs if someone was injured or killed in the accident.
If you intend to file a personal injury lawsuit, Florida Statutes §95.11 (3)(a) generally gives you four years from the date of the accident to file your case. However, if your loved one passed away in a car collision and you qualify to file a wrongful death lawsuit, Florida Statutes § 95.11 (4)(d) generally gives you two years from the date of their death to file.
Look to Distasio Law Firm for Help with Your Car Accident Case
After a car accident, contact Distasio Law Firm to see if you might qualify to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver or any other party potentially involved. Our team has been serving clients in Florida for 31 years, and we would love to extend our services to you.
If you have any more questions about what damages you can collect after a car accident, call our firm at (813) 259-0022 for a free consultation. In this call, a member of our team can assess how damaging the car accident was to you, your life, and your finances, then explain which kind of awards you may be able to pursue when claiming compensation.