One of the first questions our clients ask is how much damages they’ll recover in their car accident lawsuit. They don’t seem to realize that you have to prove your case before you can start thinking about damages. However, our car accident lawyers in Irvine understand where they’re coming from.
If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you’re probably feeling angry and frustrated. Had the other driver just done what they should have, you wouldn’t be in the position you’re in. The least they should do is cover your injuries.
The truth is that every car accident case is unique. Irvine injury lawyers meet with people who have suffered serious injuries. They also represent people who suffered mostly economic losses. At the end of the day, they approach both cases the same way.
Here, we’ll briefly discuss the different types of damages you can demand in your California car accident lawsuit. We’ll also explain what your car accident lawyer in Irvine needs to do to prove your case. If you still have questions after reading this article, just give us a call and schedule your free, initial consultation.
Your Irvine Injury Lawyer Needs to Prove Fault First
As we said above, before you start thinking about damages, you need to think about fault. Your car accident lawyer in Irvine must be able to prove fault in order for you to collect a dime. This means they’ll have to demonstrate that the defendant was either reckless or negligent.
According to California law, there are four elements you need to show to prove negligence. These are:
- The other driver had a duty to act
- They breached this duty
- Their actions were the direct cause of your injuries
- Their behavior was also the proximate cause of your injuries
- You did suffer actual damages
It’s not difficult to show that the defendant had a duty to act. All drivers have this duty. For example, once you get your driver’s license, you promise to obey all California traffic laws. The difficult part can be proving that the defendant breached this duty.
There are a variety of ways your Irvine injury lawyer can demonstrate this breach of duty:
- They were speeding
- They were driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- They ran a red light and smashed into the side of your car
The next step requires your lawyer to prove that the defendant’s actions caused your injuries. You’ll notice negligence requires both direct and proximate cause. All this means is that the accident was the major contributing factor to your injuries. It also means that your injuries could have been foreseen by the defendant when they chose to breach their duty of care.
Finally, you need to prove that you were injured. This is where the issue of damages comes into question.
Your Car Accident Lawyer in Irvine Will Have to Prove Damages
There are several different types of damages you can demand in your Irvine car accident lawsuit. Most cases involve at least damages for physical injuries and property loss. It’s hard to escape even a minor crash without suffering some damage to your car.
Some of the more common types of damages in car accident lawsuits include the following:
- Medical expenses – The person responsible for the crash will be required to reimburse you for any medical expenses. This includes things like doctor’s bills, prescription co-pays, and medical equipment. It also includes the cost of any future medical care you may need.
- Property damage – The defendant will be liable for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. If your car is totaled, you’ll be entitled to the fair market value of your car or SUV.
- Pain and Suffering – This may make up the lion’s share of your damages. If your injuries are serious, you’ll likely experience a lot of pain and suffering. Your Irvine injury lawyer will demand you be compensated for this.
- Lost Income – There are two types of lost income you can demand in your complaint. First, there are the lost wages you suffered when the crash first happened. If you missed more than a week or two from work, you can be compensated for that. The second type of lost income is the money you’ll lose going forward as a result of your injuries. For example, if you can no longer do the same kind of work because of the crash, you will lose future earnings. You can demand that the defendant compensate you for this as well.
- Punitive Damages – It is very rare that car accident victims are awarded punitive damages. These are reserved for cases in which the defendant acted recklessly or intentionally. For example, you wouldn’t be entitled to these damages in your run-of-the-mill rear-end car crash. But you may deserve them if you’re hit by a drunk driver or someone who’s running from the police.
Every case is unique so there’s no way to know ahead of time what kind of damages you can demand in your case. However, you can count on your car accident lawyer in Irvine to demand the money you deserve. Even if they settle your case, they’ll make sure they get you enough to cover your losses and make you whole.
Contact a Seasoned Irvine Injury Lawyer Sooner Rather than Later
If you or your loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to damages. The only way to know for sure is to meet with an experienced car accident lawyer in Irvine. They’ll sit down with you and go over your case in detail. They can also answer any questions you may have.
As we mentioned in the introduction, most of our clients want to know how much their case is worth right away. It’s never a good idea to give a client an exact figure because there’s never a guarantee that you’ll win your case.
The best thing to do is let your attorney do what they do best. They’ll do what they can to negotiate the highest settlement possible. It all depends on the facts of your case. The more serious your injuries are, the more money you’ll be entitled to.
What you should do now is call and schedule your free, initial consultation. You don’t have to pay anything upfront.