When a person suffers injuries due to the negligence of another driver, the at-fault driver is responsible for the damages caused by the accident. Through a negotiation with the liable driver’s insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party can claim both economic and noneconomic car accident damages. A court may also award punitive damages in Ohio auto accident cases, but this is rare.
What are economic damages?
Economic damages are the actual financial losses a victim suffers due to an auto accident. These include:
Medical expenses begin from the time of the accident and may continue throughout the rest of the victim’s lifetime. They include almost any injury-related cost you can think of, such as:
- Ambulance costs
- Medical care
- Ongoing nursing care
- Future medical needs
You should be able to prove most of these costs by supplying the court with copies of your medical bills and a careful review of your medical records. In the case of ongoing or future medical needs, your treating doctor or another medical expert may testify about the necessity of treatments and any associated expenses.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may have needed to take off weeks or even months of work, totaling hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Possible compensation for current and past lost wages, any missed opportunities, and any wages lost if you could not return to your job or had to take a demotion.
You can use your employment or tax records to calculate your to-date lost wages. Your lawyer can hire an expert witness to testify as to your loss of earning capacity and how much you would have earned in the future if the accident had not occurred. These experts may include an economist or human resources professional in your vocation.
Based on Ohio case law (Braum v. Kinderdine, 2015-Ohio-696), car accident victims can recover the cost of repairing their vehicles, as well as the difference in value if the accident decreased the overall value of the repaired car. Proving these losses usually requires documentation of the repair costs, proof of the previous value of the vehicle, and a current valuation of its worth.
You can also request compensation to cover other accident-related expenses. This may include costs such as parking or transportation for hospital visits, the cost of necessary home renovations (e.g., ramps, widening doors, installing chair lifts, etc.), insurance co-pays, and the expense of prescription medication. Receipts for these items are typically sufficient for proof of their cost, although some may require further explanation to show how they relate to the accident.
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What are noneconomic damages?
The value of noneconomic damages is not as easy to prove as economic damages, because they compensate emotional losses instead of financial ones. Possible noneconomic damages after an Ohio auto accident include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Other intangible losses
It takes a little bit of imagination to prove noneconomic damages, but ultimately the goal is to make jurors understand the emotional damages and intangible injuries the accident victim and his family suffered. You can do this in a number of ways, including:
- Testimony from the victim and family members
- Journal entries documenting pain and suffering
- Demonstrations of how the injuries affected the victim’s daily life
- Objective evidence showing inability to pursue hobbies or other activities
How can Bressman Law help?
Ensuring you get adequate compensation for your car accident damages can be difficult. The car accident attorneys at Bressman Law can help you file a claim, gather evidence, negotiate with insurers, and even bring your case to court.