Types of Damages in Auto Accidents

Types of Damages in Auto Accidents

Whether you’ve been in an accident yourself or simply have heard about them, the term, “damages,” tends to come up in spades, and with good reason—damages represent everything lost in an accident and define how much compensation you can receive. If you’re ever in doubt as to what qualifies as damages and what doesn’t, make consult an auto accident attorney in Arizona to learn more.

Specific Countable Damages

Specific damages are countable, precise, and involve direct or indirect monetary loss. The most common specific damages involve bills and expenses of some kind, but other financial losses can qualify all the same:

  • Types of Damages in Auto AccidentsAuto repair bills or new vehicle costs
  • Rental vehicle costs while you wait for repairs
  • Medical expenses, including those for future treatment
  • Damages to or loss of personal property
  • Lost wages or loss of earning capacity
  • Funeral expenses

Since specific damages have an exact price tag, compensation relating to them is usually simple, provided that you can prove that you should be compensated for them in the first place. If you present your insurance adjuster with, for example, a $5,000 medical bill for injuries that are undeniably a result of your accident, you can usually expect $5,000 in recoveries, hassle-free.

General Intangible Damages

General damages don’t have an exact monetary cost associated with them and represent intangible, awful experiences that can never truly be made up for with money alone. Most general damages fall into one of a multitude of categories:

  • Physical suffering, pain, and discomfort
  • Mental suffering, such as loneliness, depression, anxiety, or loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of consortium/ loss of companionship or a loved one
  • Temporary or permanent disability
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Loss of reputation 
  • Punitive damages, which are functionally additional fines imposed on the guilty party to compensate victims of severe negligence, recklessness, or crime
  • If you lost a loved one in an accident, you might also be eligible to file a wrongful death claim for additional compensation

However, as mentioned prior, general damages don’t have specific monetary costs associated with them. How then can you be compensated for them? In general, either a per diem or multiplier method is used:

  • Per diem compensation is used for short-term general damages, usually involving pain and suffering. You’ll be assigned a flat rate for every day you spend in pain, which will grow depending on the severity of your overall suffering—that rate, multiplied by the number of days before you recover, gives you your payout.
  • The multiplier method is more widely used due to the variety of general damages one can sustain and the significant compensation required to appropriately address lasting suffering. With this route, a multiplier will be applied to your total specific damages—on average, this multiplier ranges from just over one, all the way up to five. The exact magnitude of the multiplier depends on the intensity of your situation, though there are ways to increase your pain and suffering awards.

Recovering for Damages After an Arizona Auto Accident

Proving damages can be difficult, depending on the nature of your accident. Delayed-onset injuries can draw doubt as to whether they stem from your accident, pain and suffering damages are easy to exaggerate in the eyes of adjusters, and the particulars of fault are often a matter of some debate. ELG’s experienced Arizona auto accident attorneys can help, so reach out to us today at (623) 877-3600 to schedule a free consultation and take the first step towards recovering your damages.