If I’m injured in a car accident, which types of compensation are available?

Bronze statue of justice holding scales and a swordWhen you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, you may be entitled to both compensatory and punitive damages. Between property damage and medical bills, expenses resulting from an accident can add up quickly. You can seek compensation for the injuries you’ve sustained from anyone who caused or contributed to your losses. The legal term for this type of compensation is “damages,” and damages awarded in personal injury claims are either compensatory or punitive.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are awarded to injured parties to make them whole, and these types of damages are available in nearly all personal injury cases. There are two categories of compensatory damages: general damages and special damages.

General damages compensate injured individuals for non-monetary harm. These damages may be serious, but they don’t involve any monetary costs. The most common types of general damages are:

  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship

Special damages compensate the injured for expenses incurred or income lost as a result of the accident. These damages frequently include:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical care expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Property damage

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded to the injured party when the behavior of the person responsible for their injuries is considered reprehensible. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer for being extremely careless, or for completely disregarding the impact of his actions on others. In vehicle accidents, punitive damages are sometimes awarded when the party responsible for the injuries is guilty of reckless driving. This means that he displayed a wanton disregard for the rules of the road, and created a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm to the accident victim.

You Need an Attorney

If you’ve been injured by another driver, you’re entitled to compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. If the at-fault driver was particularly reckless, you may also receive punitive damages. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.


Ben Crittenden
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Devoted to advancing his trial techniques and communication skills on behalf of injured victims in Anchorage.