Individuals harmed by a negligent party in a car accident may have heard of remedies and damages that may be available to them for injuries or other harm suffered. Car accident victims may understand that the option to receive compensation for damages can be available to them. Damages under the law are largely intended to ensure that the victim is made as whole as possible following injury or harm caused by another party’s careless behavior.

In the broadest sense, damages are awarded for the breach of a legal duty or the violation of a right. Damages are a typically a monetary award based on some type of fault that caused harm to the victim. Damages awarded to victims following car accidents generally fall into a legal category referred to as compensatory damages. As the name suggests, this type of damages is intended to compensate the victim for harm suffered. There are other types of damages but this is the most commonly awarded type in personal injury and wrongful death claims.

Damages are also sometimes referred to as actual damages and must not be overly speculative. In this regard, it is important for the victim to carefully track the physical, financial and emotional costs of the harm suffered to calculate damages as accurately as possible. Keeping this in mind, all damages must be proven. In response to a personal injury claim, the victim may be awarded damages for medical expenses, lost wages, future medical care, pain and suffering damages, and lost-earning capacity that resulted from the car accident. In the case of a wrongful death claim, surviving family members of the victim may receive damages for loss of support and services, medical and funeral expenses, pain and suffering damages, and lost prospect of inheritance.

Depending on the unique circumstances of each car accident, and the harm the victim has suffered, additional types of damages may also be available to the victim or a victim’s family members. Damages are intended as a legal option to protect victims wrongfully injured in a car or other type of accident.

Source: Cornell University School of Law Legal Information Institute, “Damages,” Accessed Oct. 13, 2014