A severe car accident can affect your life in multiple ways. You could suffer injuries that disable you for years or the rest of your life. Your car could need thousands of dollars in repairs, or you might have to replace it. Worst of all, someone you love could be killed.
Because of all the possible implications of a car wreck, Missouri civil law gives victims the right to seek several types of compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Every person who suffers harm in a crash caused by someone else’s negligence deserves to be made as financially “whole” again as possible.
Most types of personal injury compensation can be divided into two categories: economic and non-economic damages.
As the name implies, economic damages mostly have to do with direct financial harm suffered due to the accident. Things like your hospital and physical rehabilitation bills; wages you have already lost because you cannot work and wages you expect to lose in the future; and your auto repair or replacement costs are examples of economic damages.
But not everything you have endured comes with a bill containing an exact dollar figure. That does not make non-economic damages any less real or compensable. Still, non-economic damages tend to be things that are more emotional or personal to you. They usually are more challenging to assign a dollar amount to. Examples include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of consortium.
When the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious, punitive damages are a possibility. But these damages are rare and meant to punish the defendant more than compensate the plaintiff. A driver who purposely crashed into their victim or was driving 100 mph on a city street might be ordered to pay punitive damages.
Which types of damages you have experienced, and how much you can claim is necessary for compensation, depends on the facts of your particular case. You can discuss this with a personal injury attorney before deciding to proceed with litigation.