What Can You Expect to Recover? What Factors Affect How Much You Get?
When you’re hurt in an auto or truck wreck caused by the carelessness or wrongful act of another person, you have the right to file a legal claim to recover compensation for your losses. What types of losses can you seek to recover in a personal injury lawsuit? What factors will be used by the court to determine how much you receive?
The Legal Basis for a Motor-Vehicle-Accident Claim
When you file a lawsuit to recover for losses suffered in an accident, you must explain why you believe the defendant (the person you want to pay for your injuries) is responsible. As a practical matter, most personal injury claims are based on allegations of negligence or carelessness. Accordingly, the first factor a court considers when calculating a damage award is fault. Can you prove that the defendant’s conduct was unreasonable and that it caused the accident in which you were injured?
A related concept is comparative fault. What if you were also careless, and your carelessness contributed to causing the accident? The court then must determine the extent to which the defendant caused the accident and the extent to which your actions contributed. It will assign a percentage of fault to each party. The court will look at the total amount of your losses and reduce any damages you recover by your percentage of fault.
The Actual Losses You Suffered
In a personal injury lawsuit, you can recover only for actual losses. If your injuries were covered by insurance, or covered in some other fashion, you cannot recover them again.
The damages available in a personal injury lawsuit fall into two general categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages include those types of losses that can be precisely calculated, such as unreimbursed medical bills, property losses notcovered by insurance, and lost income. Non-economic damages are less concrete and include loss of enjoyment of life (the ability to do the things you love), loss of companionship or consortium, and physical pain and suffering.
Contact the Law Office of Howard D. Popper
At the Law Offices of Howard D. Popper, we can help protect your rights. For a free initial consultation to discuss your options after a work-related motor vehicle accident, contact our office online or call 973-993-8787 to set up an appointment. We have offices in Morristown and Newton. Currently, all our client communications are by phone, text message, or online videoconference.
We handle all personal injury claims on a contingent-fee basis. You won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover damages for your losses.