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Car Accident Compensation - How Much Money Are You Entitled To?

Posted on Dec 26, 2019

Life is difficult after someone experiences a car accident, but at the Hershewe Law Firm, we strive to make things as comfortable for victims of auto accidents as possible. You can call us at any time of the day or night, and if you are unable to come to our offices, we will go to you. The car accident attorney that will meet with you will be trustworthy, honest, and caring. 

Were you injured in an auto accident? Are you wondering how you will receive car accident compensation? If you were injured in a collision that you did not cause, you are entitled to receive compensation from the guilty party. 

Accident victims need a Joplin car accident lawyer in this instance because they need to prove to the court that the at-fault driver was negligent in the collision. Then, they have the right to ask the at-fault party to pay damages to compensate them for their injuries. 

Common Losses in Motor Vehicle Accidents

After an auto accident, victims suffer several losses, including: 

Medical Expenses: After a collision with another vehicle, passengers are likely to have been injured. Common injuries include broken bones, cuts and bruises, and even paralysis. Since people do not realize how injured they are right after the accident occurs, they must go to the emergency room to make sure they aren't suffering from any severe injuries. When they do this, the medical staff will begin to keep detailed records of their injuries. Their attorneys will need this information to fight for fair compensation for them. Victims will also need to keep a record of all their medical expenses, and this includes medical bills for the hospital and the doctor, medical equipment, fees charged by the ambulance, care that they receive in their home, and physical therapy. 

Property Damage: After a collision, the vehicle may have been "totaled" by the insurance company, or it may just need some repairs. Our Joplin car accident lawyer will add these expenses to the amount the client is seeking in court. 

Lost Wages: Because they were so badly injured in a car collision, the victim may not be able to work. In this case, they would be entitled to payment for lost wages. Their employers will have the duty of informing the court that the accident victim would have been at work if he/she hadn't experienced the accident and that he/she would have earned their salary. 

Pain and Suffering: Victims may be entitled to payment for pain and suffering if the automobile accident caused them to lose their quality of life, including emotional as well as physical injuries. 

Miscellaneous Expenses: The accident can also result in several miscellaneous expenses, such as the amount paid for a rental car or a taxi, over-the-counter medications, and other medical supplies. 

Types of Damages in Car Collisions

After an auto accident, victims are entitled to what are known as "damages." Damages are the losses victims incurred because of the accident, and they include the two following types: 

  • General Damages - General damages are for noneconomic injuries. They compensate victims for the noneconomic losses that were suffered and may continue to cause pain into the future. Examples of general damages are emotional distress and pain. 
  • Special Damages - Special damages are economic damages that victims incur because of the at-fault driver's negligence. These damages include past, present, and future medical bills and any lost wages. 

 Examples of General and Special Damages

General damages include sleeplessness, the inability to concentrate, loss of consortium, anxiety, and depression, physical aches and pains, and emotional distress. 

 Special damages include lost or damaged personal items, costs that replace childcare, housekeeping and yard work, costs for crutches, medications and transportation to medical appointments, all medical bills, and past and future lost wages. 

How Does an Attorney Calculate Damages?

Calculating general damages is difficult because it is hard to put a price tag on things like pain and suffering. Each person's pain and suffering has to be calculated individually because the amount of pain the driver experiences can be very different from the pain his passenger experiences. For example, the same accident can cause one person to begin to experience anxiety attacks, but the other passenger may not. Also, the same type of injury may mean that one person is not able to go to work, but it may not mean the same for another. 

Pain and suffering is the physical pain that the automobile accident caused, but it can also be the emotional pain the victim experiences because of the accident. If a victim was burned in the collision, a car accident attorney would ask for money to compensate the victim for the burn, but he would also receive compensation for having to endure treatment for the burn, any discomfort that he experiences because of the burn and limitations on his lifestyle. If there is a permanent disfigurement, this would also be a reason that the client would be entitled to payment. 

Insurance companies don't argue when lawyers calculate general damages by multiplying by one or two. These same companies will balk if the victims' attorneys suggest that their clients deserve a much higher settlement, therefore auto accident victims need an auto accident attorney to fight for maximum compensation. 

Calculating an amount for special damages is much easier because victims will only need to add up the costs of all the expenses related to the accident. 

Calculating for pain and suffering presents challenges for attorneys. Insurance companies will protest having to pay high levels of compensation for injuries that aren't severe. When the-fault driver's insurance company determines how much they must pay an accident victim, they multiply the victim's medical bills by a number between one and five. If the victim's lawyer chooses a higher number, more evidence will be required to demonstrate that the more significant amount of money is fair. 

Presenting the Case to Court

Before any plaintiff sees a dime in a car accident personal injury claim, his auto accident lawyer must present the case in court or a settlement negotiation hearing. The attorney will need to demonstrate that the following four elements are true:

  • The at-fault driver had an obligation to drive carefully so as not to cause harm to anyone. 
  • The at-fault driver breached that duty of care by engaging irresponsibly.
  • The at-fault driver acted negligently, and this led to the accident that caused the plaintiff's injuries. 
  • The at-fault driver is responsible for paying compensation for the plaintiff's injuries. 

If all four of these elements are met, the attorney has sufficiently shown that the at-fault driver was negligent. The next step in the process is to "make you whole again." That is the purpose of monetary compensation for auto accident injuries, and sometimes, the law doesn't entirely succeed, but it tries.

Obtaining Compensation for Auto Accident Victims

Insurance companies are notorious for trying to get out of paying accident victims for their injuries, and they employ several tactics to avoid doing so. Some of the most common strategies are the following: 

  • The at-fault party's insurance company and lawyers will claim that the injured party caused the collision. If their driver is not the negligent party, they are not responsible for paying the victim's bills. 
  • The at-fault party's insurance company and lawyers may also claim that the victim shares responsibility for the collision. Insurance companies can avoid paying the injured party anything if they claim that the injured party deserves 50 percent of the blame for the accident. 
  • Attorneys for the other side often claim that something other than the accident caused the injuries suffered by car accident victims. They may even accuse the victims of exaggerating their injuries. They also suggest that the treatment the victim received was unnecessary. 
  • Attorneys also employ delay tactics that are meant to force the victims to become frustrated and take a lower settlement to end the process.

Hiring a car accident attorney is the way to combat the nefarious tactics that at-fault drivers' attorneys use. The insurance companies hire these attorneys to deny the victims' claims. They also depend on their lawyers to reduce the amount of money that accident victims receive. Our attorneys have experience fighting lawyers such as these, and they will fight hard to make sure that no one takes advantage of their clients. They will thoroughly investigate their clients' cases, and they will present enough evidence to ensure that negotiations end on the side of their clients. They will not stop until their clients receive what is rightfully theirs.

If you are looking for an auto accident lawyer in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas or Oklahoma, we are here for you and have been since 1977. 

For more information about auto accidents, visit our practice area page. To schedule a FREE consultation, please contact us at (417) 999-9999.

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