Being involved in an auto accident can be quite a stressful experience. There are plenty of things to worry about. Victims need to focus on recovering from their injuries. Of course, you can’t work while you are severely injured. This means victims need to recover from their injuries while worrying about potentially losing income at the same time.
Fortunately, in most states, people can seek financial compensation if someone else’s negligence caused their injuries. In California, there are several different types of compensation that victims may receive.
But first, what is a personal injury claim?
A personal injury claim allows the victims to hold the liable party accountable for their negligence. Under the constitution, if you are injured due to someone else’s recklessness, you can pursue a claim against the liable party in civil court. To have a solid claim, you will need to prove the following:
- You are suffering from a personal injury
- Your injury was caused by another person or party
- There are damages resulting from your injury, such as lost wages, medical expenses, etc.
There are two main types of damages that the at-fault party needs to pay in California, compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are designed to help the injured party repay the damages they’ve acquired due to the accident, while punitive damages are more of a punishment for the at-fault party. The latter is rewarded less frequently.
Under compensatory damages, you may get receive the following:
Medical treatment: It is inevitable for victims to sustain injuries after getting involved in an accident. Though it is better to get treated right away, some victims hesitate in fear that the medical bills may be too expensive for them. If you sustained injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to seek medical compensation from them.
Loss of Income: During recovery, victims may be unable to return to their jobs depending on the severity of their injuries. Some may even take months to recover, which means that they may lose several months of income. Through the personal injury claim, victims will be able to avoid such a huge loss. They can seek compensation not only for the months that they’ve lost income but for potential in the upcoming months as well if they are still unable to return to work due to their injuries.
Property loss: Victims can receive reimbursement for the property damages they’ve incurred from the accident. Whether it’s for clothes, vehicles, or any of their damaged items due to the accident, they can potentially receive financial compensation to replace them. Unfortunately, some victims cannot accurately determine the value of their items, which is why it is vital to hire a personal injury attorney to assist you with your accident claim.
Pain and suffering: Victims are also entitled to compensation for the discomfort they suffered both during and after the accident.
Emotional Distress: the trauma that an accident causes can be quite overwhelming for the victims. Some victims take a lifetime to recover from the trauma. Fortunately, they are also entitled to seek financial compensation for the emotional Distress that the accident has caused them.
Another question some victims tend to ask is, “Can I still file a personal injury claim even if I do not have any physical injuries?”
The short answer is yes. You can still file a claim despite not having any physical injuries caused by an accident. Under California law, you can make a claim for mental, emotional, and/or psychological trauma. It also allows you to claim damages for reputational damage, like that caused by slander, libel, or defamation
For Punitive Damages it is not meant to compensate for the injured party’s losses. Punitive damages are only awarded by the court if:
- The court isn’t convinced that the liable party will not make the same “mistake” again after compensating for the victim’s damages.
- Suppose the court finds that the liable party acted with malicious intentions or gross negligence. This applies to cases like fraud or assault or caused extensive financial issues.
But how can a victim file a claim? Where should I start?
The process may seem initially confusing but, the first step is always to consult with an experienced accident injury attorney near you. If you are from a big and accident-prone area like Los Angeles, then seeking the assistance of a personal injury lawyer near you should be your number one priority.
Your L.A. injury attorney can serve as a helpful legal guide for you every step of the way. They can do all the paperwork while you sit back and relax, focusing on recovering from your injuries. It’s also important to note that the other party may have their own lawyer as well, which is why you must hire an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney to assist you with your claims process.