If you suffered because of the defendant’s negligence, your lawyer could request compensation for property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and, in some cases, punitive damages. Here are the details about each type:
Property damage, which in most car accident cases means repair or replacement of your vehicle. It could also include money for other property damage, such as damage to your cargo, a boat or trailer you were towing, a bicycle or motorcycle you were riding, or to your home or other real property if a car crashed into your home.
Medical expenses, including reimbursement for ambulance transport, emergency room treatment, hospitalization, surgery, prescription drugs, rehabilitation therapy (physical, vocational, occupational), chiropractic care, medical and assistive devices (crutches, wheelchair, hospital bed, modifications to your home, etc.), in-home assistance and more.
Lost wages from not being able to work or for having to take a job that pays less because of an accident-related disability. Depending on your previous employment, job skills and education, a projection of future losses may take into account fringe benefits (including retirement fund contributions), and lost opportunities for bonuses, commissions, promotion and other career growth.
Pain and suffering, which considers the physical and emotional stress you experience because of your injuries separate from your actual financial losses. This decision is often based on a consideration of your medical damages, property damages and other more. In some cases you could also obtain compensation for disability, disfigurement and loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages are awarded under particular circumstances to punish a driver whose actions were particularly bad, such as a drunk driver or a hit-and-run driver who was later caught.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, immediate family members may seek the damages described above, as well as money for funeral and burial expenses, loss of household services, and loss of companionship, love and guidance.
A judge or jury would decide the actual amount of money awarded if your lawsuit went to court. Settlement negotiations would take into account what the courts would likely award.