In an ideal world, people who were 0% responsible for a car accident would receive 100% of their damages through compensation given either in a settlement or through a jury verdict. However, this is not the case for many car accident lawsuits, as some damages can only be claimed in some circumstances but not in others. Liable parties can also only be expected to pay certain damages based on each state’s liability laws.
Depending on how a car accident lawsuit develops, a first-party could be able to sue for compensation that covers medical (PIP) benefits, lost wages, medical bills, attendant care, special needs treatments, and so on. In many ways, this category represents only “real” damages, or those that can be measured in dollars and cents. A first-party car accident lawsuit involves a driver causing their own accident and seeking damages from their own insurer.
When a third-party is responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries, the situation changes slightly. In addition to the aforementioned first-party damages, a third-party could be sued for pain and suffering caused by the car accident, which is sometimes interchangeable with nominal damages. You can sue for “pain and suffering” damages if you meet the legally defined threshold for “objective” injury to “an important body part or bodily function” that affects your “general ability to lead your life” (paraphrased from Kreiner v Fischer). In other words, you have to prove that your life is more difficult now that you have suffered an injury, that the injury was clearly severe, and that the injury is directly linked to your difficulties. There are some exclusions when considering closed head injuries (CHI) and scarring.
When you are struck by an uninsured motorist or an underinsured motorist – a person that does not have the requisite coverage to cover all damages – you will be faced with a different set of circumstances altogether. Instead of filing a claim or lawsuit against an insurance company, you may need to file directly against the individual, which is not ideal and can become all the more complicated.
To learn about what damages you can cite in your car accident lawsuit or claim, you can work with Goodman Acker P.C. and our Detroit personal injury attorneys. During a free case evaluation, we can hear your damages and help you figure out which will be applicable to your case. Contact us today and we can begin to discuss all options and begin your claim.
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