Being involved in a serious car accident can cause significant unexpected expenses, like medical bills and damage to your vehicle. If the accident was not your fault, you deserve compensation for your losses. With the help of an auto accident attorney in Casper, Wyoming or Cheyenne, Wyoming, you stand a good chance of recovering all losses. Here is a summary of the kinds of damages you can claim.
What Compensation Can You Get From an Accident That Wasn’t Your Fault?
The term “accident” correctly implies that the vast majority of car crashes are unintentional. That said, a driver who causes an accident through negligent behavior should be held accountable for the consequences. If you have proof that another driver injured you on the road through negligent behavior, you may be eligible to collect:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Emotional damages
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
- Property damages
Additionally, in the case of severe injuries and wrongful death claims, the victim’s loved ones are sometimes able to collect compensation for loss of consortium. Consortium refers to the loving, supportive aspects of a close relationship.
What Qualifies As a Medical Expense?
Given the high cost of care, medical expenses can quickly become unaffordable after a serious accident. A ride in an ambulance, time spent in the ER, appointments with specialists, continuing treatments, and medications can cost upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the injuries. On average, a person treated for car accident injuries in Wyoming incurs medical bills totaling a little over $15,000.
On the bright side, you might be able to receive compensation for the cost of all of the tests, appointments, treatments, medications, and medical equipment directly related to the accident. While financial compensation cannot undo the injury, your recovery will feel a lot less stressful when you know how the bills will be paid.
Can I Be Compensated for Medical Expenses If I Have a Preexisting Condition?
Yes. The compensation you receive after a car accident should cover the cost to treat your new injuries as well as old injuries that worsened after the crash. While it can be a little tricky to distinguish between the effects of the preexisting condition and the effects of the crash, a skilled lawyer will work with you to gather evidence that your preexisting condition had stabilized or was expressing itself in less severe ways before the accident occurred.
If you have a preexisting condition, you will need to be especially careful about the information you give the insurance company. Their representatives might ask you pointed questions with the aim of finding evidence your preexisting condition caused your medical expenses. Your lawyer can help you understand when you are within your rights to decline questions from other parties and how to prepare any statements you might be required to give.
What If I Will Need Treatments for the Rest of My Life?
If you suffered extreme injuries in a crash and are not expected to ever fully heal, your attorney will fight to have your ongoing medical expenses included in your payout. Claims involving future medical expenses tend to be very costly for the insurance company, so you will need to work with a strong attorney who can prepare to meet their counterarguments.
What Are Lost Wages?
Lost wages are the income you did not receive while you were recovering from your injuries. Personal injuries often result in lost wages for people who do construction, professional sports, or other types of physical work, however, severe injuries can require anyone to take time off, regardless of what their job is.
The category of lost wages can include several kinds of income. On your claim, you can list:
- Salaried income
- Income from an hourly rate
- Missed benefits
- Bonuses and commissions
- Missed promotions
- Vacation and sick days
- Income from a second job or a small business
What If I Am Self-Employed?
If you are self-employed and have income from seasonal or freelance work, you are allowed to present a reasonable estimate of your lost wages. An accountant can help you go through your tax returns and correspondence with clients to find proof of your normal income for the time of year when the accident occurred. Oftentimes, lawyers are able to refer their clients to accountants who have experience with personal injury claims.
What If I Am Permanently Disabled?
If you are never able to return to the job you had before the accident, you can seek both current and future lost wages. Your lawyer will likely bring in an economist to provide expert witness testimony on your behalf. His or her testimony will include projections for the amount of money you would have earned over the course of your career if the crash had not occurred.
Car accidents cause a range of negative emotions that can cost you in ways that don’t appear on a bill or a credit card statement. If you qualify to receive compensation for stress, anxiety, or the loss of activities you once enjoyed, the court will put a monetary value on your emotional damages by assessing their severity.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering are similar to emotional damages because they cannot be calculated by simply adding up the money that you had to spend on your recovery. In personal injury law, pain and suffering are separate from medical expenses. They refer to the physical discomfort your injuries caused you, and they can increase the overall value of your claim.
Depending on how the accident occurred, you may be able to receive punitive damages from the person who hit you. Punitive damages are slightly different from the other types of damages because they are not compensatory. In other words, they are not designed to compensate you for any losses. Rather, they seek to punish the negligent driver for extreme recklessness.
Punitive damages can only be claimed in cases of gross negligence. Qualifying accidents include instances of drunk driving, driving while under the influence of drugs, and road rage.
Property damages include the loss of your vehicle or the cost to repair it. You can also claim property damages for items that were inside the car. These types of damages are usually listed separately from the personal injury expenses, and your lawyer can help you submit both claims correctly.
What Damages Can I Claim If I Was Partially At Fault for an Accident in Casper, Wyoming or Cheyenne, Wyoming?
If you are found partially responsible for the accident, you can still claim all of the usual compensatory damages as long as the other driver was more than 50% at fault. The amount of money you receive will be proportionate to the other driver’s role in causing the crash. For example, if your medical expenses totaled $10,000 and the other driver was 90% at fault, you would receive $9,000.
Talk With an Auto Accident Attorney About Preparing Your Claim
While you could be eligible for all of the damages we have discussed, actually receiving compensation requires you to identify your losses and demonstrate the validity of your case using proof. Working with an auto accident attorney in Casper, Wyoming or Cheyenne, Wyoming can greatly increase your chances of receiving the payout you deserve. To discuss your damages with a lawyer, contact Ochs Law Firm.