What are Accident Damages?
The term “Accident Damages” usually refers to damages from a car accident, but can also involve other types of accidental injuries such as:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Defective products accidents
- Dangerous premises (such as faulty stairs, falling objects, etc.)
- Various other unintentional torts
Generally speaking, a “damages award” is a sum of money that is paid to the victim in personal injury case. In an accident claim, the award of money is generally proportionate to the degree of injury suffered by the plaintiff. Most accident lawsuits are based on a negligence theory, since the defendant likely didn’t act intentionally.
What Types of Losses are Covered by Accident Damages?
Most accident damages come in the form of a compensatory damages award. This is a general sum that is calculated to help the victim recover monetary losses that are directly caused by the defendant. These losses may include: hospital expenses, costs of medicine, general therapy or rehabilitation expenses, and property damage (for instance, damage to a car in an automobile accident).
Other damages may include special damages, which cover related costs such as lost wages or highly specific medical or therapy-related expenses.
Are Punitive Damages Allowed in an Accident Damages Award?
Punitive damages are an extra amount that the defendant has to pay in certain situations. This can sometimes be a very high sum, depending on the defendant’s conduct. However, punitive damages are not frequently issued in an accident case, because most courts only issue this to address intentional acts. Since accidents by nature are not intentional, a punitive damages award is usually out of the question.
However, some cases can result in a damages award, specifically in cases involving gross negligence or a high disregard for a person’s safety. An example of this is where the plaintiff was “joyriding”, and sped through a pedestrian crossing zone, accidentally injuring several persons. While the act may not have been intentional, the court may require punitive damages in order to address the grossly negligent act of speeding in a pedestrian zone.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With an Accident Damages Claim?
Filing for accident damages can sometimes present many challenges. It’s in your best interest to hire qualified lawyer in your area if you need assistance with a damages award. Your attorney can explain how the laws in your area work, as these may differ from state to state. Also, your lawyer will be able to represent you during the court meetings.
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Last Modified: 06-12-2013 11:44 AM PDT
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