If you sustained injuries in a Michigan car accident, you have several decisions to make about what you need to do next. One of the most important factors to influence this decision is the potential amount of damages you may receive.
Consulting an attorney about the worth of your case can help you avoid making hasty decisions. Unfortunately, oftentimes insurance companies push for quick settlements that do not provide adequate compensation for the losses you suffer.
Compensatory damages typically make up the greater part of a damages award in a car accident. Injuries can result in mounting medical costs. Traumatic injuries can require surgery, medication and long-term rehabilitation. Some people never fully recover and continue to need assistive devices, continual therapies or medications.
Loss of earnings
In addition to spending money because of the accident, you may find your ability to earn money curtailed. Injuries can cause pain and impair important functions. Some people end up permanently unable to work, while others may need to cut their hours, retrain for another type of work and miss days from work.
Pain and suffering
In addition to calculable financial losses, injuries can affect your life in intangible ways. Some of these include physical pain, embarrassment and emotional anguish. Car accident victims may suffer from psychological conditions such as anxiety and PTSD. While it can be difficult to assign a monetary value to this type of suffering, the law acknowledges the very real impact it has and provides for compensation.
Punitive damages form a special category of compensation that may only be available under certain circumstances. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages do not aim to make up for the harm you suffer. Rather, the purpose of imposing them is to punish outstandingly bad behavior by the defendant. Plaintiffs in most personal injury cases must prove the defendant caused the injury by acting negligently; to get punitive damages, the plaintiff must show the conduct went far beyond negligence and reached the level of malice or extreme recklessness.