South Carolina auto accident law requires the at-fault party to fully compensate anyone who is injured as a result of their negligence. To the extent possible, the negligent driver must restore the injured person to the same position they were in before the injuries happened. Compensable damages in an auto accident case tend to fall into three general categories:
- Actual damages or economic damages such as past and future medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages.
- Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or other psychological injuries.
- Punitive damages.
There is no complete list of compensable damages, but most types of injuries caused by an auto accident are going to be compensable. The auto accident lawyers at Axelrod & Associates, P.A. will investigate your case, help you to document your injuries, and will make sure that you are fully compensated by the at-fault driver. Some common types of economic damages that we may recover on your behalf include:
- Property damage
- Emergency medical care.
- Doctor visits.
- Hospital stays.
- Physical therapy and other rehabilitation costs.
- Chiropractic care.
- Medical devices.
- Nursing care or the costs of other long-term care.
- Future medical care.
- Lost wages if you are forced to miss work as a result of your injuries. If you have suffered a long-term disability as the result of another driver's negligence, they must also compensate you for any loss in earning capacity.
- Any out-of-pocket expenses that you incur as a result of the accident.
Economic damages are easily calculated from documents such as medical records, invoices, receipts, and payroll records. Once we have proven liability on the part of the other driver, we will still have to prove each element of damages before you can be compensated. We will help you to gather these records to provide to the insurance carrier and to the jurors if your case ends in a trial.
Non-economic damages tend to be more difficult to prove because they are subjective and there are no invoices or medical bills to provide a dollar amount. Your attorney at Axelrod & Associates, P.A. understands how to express the value of your non-economic damages to the insurance company and to jurors, and we will work to make sure that you are fully compensated for your non-economic damages in addition to medical expenses. Common non-economic damages that we may recover for you include:
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Psychological trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
- Reduced quality of life or limits on your ability to perform normal activities.
- Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are intended to punish the at-fault driver for egregious conduct. With some exceptions such as cases that involve drunk drivers, punitive damages are less common in car wreck cases. To be awarded punitive damages, we will have to prove that the defendant's conduct was willful or reckless. The auto accident cases where punitive damages are awarded will often involve criminal conduct on the part of the defendant which will have to be proven at trial.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer on the Axelrod team. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today.