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Recovering from a car accident is a difficult process. Even when a person escapes without injury, there is a psychological aspect that can linger. When a person has been injured, however, the recovery takes on a new meaning.
The more damages incurred by a car accident, the more difficult the recovery process becomes for the person injured. Property damage is almost never the main issue for a car accident victim, since a serious accident could leave someone with both physical and emotional damages that can prolong recovery time.
Unfortunately, the process of recovering damages is not an easy one, albeit it might seem as though it would be. If you are injured and are suffering after a car accident, you should be compensated, but it is rarely that simple. That is why it is important to understand how car accident claims work, and what you must do to ensure that you recover the damages that you deserve.
There are two types of damages that a person can recover from a car accident claim or lawsuit: economic and non-economic damages. There is another type called punitive damages, but that is less common and involves a court finding that the at-fault driver acted extremely recklessly or with malice.
Economic damages are the easiest of the two to recover. They can easily be accounted for because they have monetary value. Economic damages include medical costs, lost wages, future medical costs and wages, property damage, and out-of-pocket expenses.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to recover, because they are more subjective and more difficult to place a price tag on. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium.
Delaware is a no-fault car insurance state, but to recover damages in a Delaware court, a plaintiff must not be found more than 50 percent at fault. This is called “modified comparative negligence.” If the plaintiff is found 40 percent at fault, the plaintiff will receive 40 percent less than the full amount.
For the best chance to recover damages, begin by identifying what your damages are. Medical expenses are easy to prove: keep all your bills and receipts, and have your doctor work with you to evaluate what your future medical costs will be. You also want to keep track of your lost wages, including the wages you will miss for any extended amount of time.
Non-economic expenses are trickier to prove. However, if you are experiencing pain and suffering that are affecting your quality of life, you need to come up with a dollar amount. There are different ways to do this.
To value your non-economic expenses, you can estimate the total amount of your economic damages and multiply by two or three times. Although it is not very scientific, it places a value on your emotional state, which most people understand affects your overall well-being. You could also find a similar case to yours and use it as a basis from which to start.
In a court of law, medical records and testimony are critical. Medical records will show the extent of your injuries and the recovery process. A medical expert, such as your doctor or therapist, could shed light on the difficulty normally equated with your particular injury. Personal witnesses may also attest to the pain and suffering you are experiencing.
Recovering non-economic damages depends on how serious or life-altering your injuries are. That is why you should keep detailed records, bring witnesses, and explain any way that your life has been altered. For instance, if you had been physically active before the accident, you could provide video, expenses, club memberships, or witnesses to corroborate your claim that you can no longer do the things you used to do.
Recovering damages from a car accident requires a competent lawyer. Our experienced Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow will fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.