Vehicle wrecks can result in a variety of personal and financial losses that can last well into the future. Fortunately, state law allows injured individuals to file claims against the responsible parties in order to recover financial compensation.
The recoverable damages after a car accident in Johnstown vary from case to case. Work with a Johnstown auto collision attorney to ensure you are fully and fairly compensated for your losses.
Types of Damages Available in a Vehicle Crash Case
In Johnstown, there are typically two types of damages that someone could recover after being injured in a car wreck. Known as compensatory damages, they are further split into economic and non-economic damages. These damages aim to compensate a claimant for the financial and personal losses he or she suffered as a result of the collision.
Economic damages account for the out-of-pocket expenses that resulted from the vehicle crash. This includes medical bills, prescription costs, and costs associated with fixing or replacing a damaged vehicle. These losses also include missed wages if the plaintiff had to take time off work to recover or seek treatment. In some cases, an economist may need to be retained to calculate the future financial losses a person may suffer, such as a decreased earning capacity of he or she is catastrophically injured.
Auto collisions result in more than just financial losses. The injuries associated with these accidents can result in substantial physical and emotional anguish. As such, state law allows plaintiffs to recover for their non-economic losses as well. These include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, disability, disfigurement, and decreased quality of life.
When are Punitive Damages Available?
Punitive damages are not available in every case. These damages are only available in instances where there is particularly wrongful conduct by the defendant. This includes willful or wanton recklessness and a restless disregard for the safety of others.
In car accident cases, these damages can apply to cases where the defendant was driving while intoxicated. Since this is both a criminal act and well-known for being a substantial risk to all on the road, a court may reward punitive damages in Johnstown if the car wreck was the result of driving under the influence. Similarly, reckless conduct – such as texting while driving, speeding in a construction zone or school zone, or driving under the influence of controlled substances could all give rise to punitive damages.
What Damages Does Auto Insurance Cover?
The damages covered by an auto insurance company depends on the injured party’s particular plan. There are a number of different coverages available in Johnstown that could help someone recover compensation after being injured in a motor vehicle accident.
Medical coverage, also known as personal injury protection or PIP covers a victim’s medical bills up to his or her policy limits, regardless of whether he or she is at fault. Most drivers have $5,000 of medical payments (PIP) coverage, although it is possible to purchase higher limits.
For lost wages, if the plaintiff has first-party wage loss coverage on his or her auto policy, the insurance company could reimburse a portion of the lost wages, regardless of who was at fault. A plaintiff must document that he or she was injured and missed time from work, then his or her employer must verify it.
Additionally, many at-fault drivers do not have the legally required liability insurance, which means they are “uninsured”. Or even insured drivers often do not have enough insurance to cover the full value of the losses they caused, meaning they are “underinsured”. If you have purchased uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your own auto plan, you may be able to make a claim for these benefits as well.
Learn More about Recoverable Damages After a Car Accident from a Johnstown Attorney
Recovering compensation after being injured in a motor vehicle collision could be made easier with help from a well-practiced attorney. Our team at Marcus & Mack could explain the recoverable damages after a car accident in Johnstown and help you prove your losses. Call our office today to book your initial case consultation.