Types of Compensation After A Car Accident in Memphis
Did you suffer an injury in a car accident in Memphis? If so, you may have a right to seek compensation for your injuries and for the damages you suffered. In Memphis and throughout the state of Tennessee, the “at-fault” driver is responsible for paying the damages after an accident. However, obtaining compensation isn’t as easy as it sounds. It involves proving liability and fighting insurance companies at every turn.
To receive the compensation you deserve after an accident, it is crucial to have an experienced Memphis car accident attorney on your side. Your time is valuable and is better spent on your recovery. Why not let your lawyer gather the evidence, negotiate with insurers, and fight for what you need.
In a personal injury case, the term compensation describes the money paid to an injured person by the party responsible for the accident. When you seek compensation, you are asking the “at-fault” party to pay for your accident and injury expenses, as well as the suffering you endured.
The goal of compensation is to right the wrongs of the accident or make the injured person “whole” again. An injured accident victim seeks to return to what they would have been had the accident or injury never occurred through settlement.
After a car accident, it is important to understand how the various types of compensation might affect you and your future.
In general, there are three main types of compensation:
1. Economic. This compensates the accident victim for monetary losses caused by the accident.
2. Non-economic. This compensates the accident victim for intangible losses you may have suffered after a crash.
3. Punitive. This type of compensation seeks to punish the “at-fault” party for their negligence and carelessness.
Economic damages are losses that are easy to quantify and prove. They’re monetary losses that occurred because of the accident. Your Memphis car accident attorney will spend a lot of time gathering evidence to establish economic damages. This includes medical bills, receipts, and mechanic estimates.
Typical economic damages include:
- Medical expenses. This includes everything from therapies to long-term care. It includes past medical expenses and any future medical treatment that is required. Your attorney will work with your medical team to determine future medical expenses to understand how your injuries will affect your life and future. Their testimony may be invaluable when seeking medical expense compensation.
- Lost income. When you suffer an injury in a car accident in Memphis, you may not be able to return to work. The time you miss from work can result in loss of income. In some cases, injured accident victims can never return to work in the same capacity. Your attorney will calculate the loss of past wages, as well as any loss of future earnings. This might include benefits, raises you would have received, and promotions you might have earned had the accident never occurred.
- Property damage. You can recover the cost of fixing or replacing property that suffered damage in a car accident. This includes damage to your vehicle, as well as other property in the car, such as car seats, laptops, cell phones, and aftermarket stereo components.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to prove. This is because the losses suffered are subjective and vary from person to person. Your attorney will need to show evidence of your non-economic losses in different ways. This might include your testimony, proof of pain medication, and mental health expert reports.
Common non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering. How can you put a price tag on your suffering? This is what your attorney will attempt to do. Insurance companies and their adjusters will have their ideas of how much your suffering is worth. You need someone on your side who can show them the true nature of your pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress. This differs slightly from physical pain in that it seeks to offer compensation for the emotional pain you suffered. This includes anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other forms of emotional distress.
- Loss of consortium. This is another type of non-economic damage. It compensates you for the loss of love, affection, and companionship you endured while you were recovering.
After a car accident in Memphis, you might hear the phrases compensatory damages or punitive damages. These are both different, and understanding their differences is essential.
Compensatory damages are the damages we discussed previously. This category includes economic damages and non-economic damages. The main goal of compensatory damages is to compensate the accident victim for their losses.
Punitive damages, on the other hand, have a different goal. The goal of punitive damages is to punish the “at-fault” party. Most car accident cases in Tennessee will not have punitive damages. However, a judge may award punitive damages to the accident victim in some rare cases. This is especially true in catastrophic accident cases where gross negligence is involved.
You and your attorney must clearly show that the “at fault” party acted maliciously, fraudulently, or recklessly to receive punitive damages. This must mean gross negligence.
Examples where the courts may award punitive damages, include: drunk driving, shooting a gun in a road rage accident, or intentionally running someone over with a vehicle.
After a Memphis car accident, you may wonder if there is a limit to how much compensation you can receive. In Tennessee, there is no limit to the dollar amount of economic damages you can receive. However, there are damage caps for non-economic damages and punitive damages.
In Tennessee, the damage cap for personal injuries is $750,000 for non-economic damages. That non-economic cap raises to $1 million in cases involving amputation, severe burns, wrongful death of a parent with a minor child, or paralysis due to spinal cord injuries.
Tennessee courts also limit the dollar amount of punitive damages awarded in personal injury cases. Currently, the cap for punitive damages is $500,000 or twice the dollar amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater.
The “at-fault” driver’s insurance company will pay your injury claim. However, they will fight to reduce this claim as much as possible. Their main goal is to pay you as little as possible. To do this, they must decrease your damages. They may argue that you didn’t endure much pain and suffering because of your injuries. They may claim that you had a pre-existing condition or that you were partly to blame for the crash itself.
Your Memphis car accident lawyer will need to fight these claims and make sure you receive the money you deserve. This involves gathering evidence and negotiating with the insurance company. It may also mean filing a personal injury lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to make you a fair settlement offer.
Did you get hurt in a Memphis car accident? If so, you need a law firm on your side from the very beginning. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we are ready 24 hours a day to help injured accident victims throughout Memphis collect the compensation they need – and deserve.
Our car accident lawyers are easily accessible from the moment you need us. Contact Rainwater, Holt & Sexton Injury Lawyers today. Fill out a free contact request form, which only takes a minute, or simply dial (901) 888-8888 and tell us your story.