Damages in Charleston Car Accident Cases
A person that has been injured in a car accident in Charleston may be entitled to a variety of damages. These may include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, medical bills both past and future as it relates to the accident, the treatment of the injuries, and also for lost wages both past and future if the injured person’s earning capacity has been negatively affected by the injuries sustained in the accident. If you have been in an accident and are in the pursuit of damages in your Charleston car accident case, you should work with a skilled auto accident lawyer right away to help streamline the process and explain the types of damages that may apply to your claim.
Economic damages are damages in a Charleston car accident case that a lawyer can put on a proverbial chop board. For example, any lost wages, any medical bills, any prosthetic devices and other expenditures, monetary expenditures that have been a direct result of the injuries sustained in the car accident.
Non-economic damages are damages that are typically not easy to see. For example, pain and suffering is a non-economic damage. If a person’s spouse has been injured in an accident, then that non-injured spouse is entitled to claim what is called loss of consortium and that is the extra work that the spouse has to do around the house because their spouse cannot physically do all of the chores that they used to do.
There is also loss of love and affection. If a car accident has negatively affected the marital relations of a husband and wife, then the non-injured husband or wife will have that as part their claim as well. This is what is typically referred to when talking about non-economic damages.
Determining Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages cannot be calculated. When attorneys are looking at the value of non-economic damages rather than calculating them, there is an analysis of past verdicts in similar cases.
From county to county in South Carolina, just as the population varies as well as political views, outlooks toward automobile accident injuries vary. In some counties, pain and suffering is worth more than in other counties. Lawyers look to their experience based in similar cases in the past and in the cases of their colleagues and analyze what non-economic damages might be worth in any particular county.
Economic and noneconomic damages are both considered in awarding punitive damages. A jury can award whatever punitive damages it chooses. There’s no set formula. Punitive damages can be analyzed on appeal as being excessive so if a person has a punitive damages award that is four or five times larger than the economic and noneconomic award then an appellate court may determine that that was excessive. If, however, the punitive damages are less or comparable to the economic and non-economic or so-called “actual damages”, then it’s likely that that verdict would stand up on appeal.
A person’s automobile liability insurance covers all of those types of damages in a Charleston car accident case. It covers pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, and if the injured person is married, then they will cover loss of consortium. Also, liability insurance policies cover punitive damages as well.
More often, the problem with severely injured people is that there is simply not enough liability insurance coverage on the at-fault driver’s vehicle and in those cases, attorneys look to see if the injured person has purchased underinsured motorist coverage.
A liability insurance policy is responsible for paying property damages. However, if there are multiple vehicles involved in the wreck, there may be inadequate property damage coverage to compensate the client. In those cases, Charleston car accident lawyers look to see whether or not the client had previously purchased underinsured motorist coverage which also typically provides an additional layer of property damage coverage.