After you have been injured in a serious crash involving another negligent driver, you may wonder what you are able to do to recover what you have lost. Calculating St. Louis car accident damages is no easy feat, especially when what you have lost is difficult to quantify. Thankfully, attorneys well-versed in personal injury law can help you by ascribing a value to your injuries and intangible losses. The first step toward recovery begins by calling one of our trial lawyers. Reach out today.
What You Could Recover After Your Car Accident Case in St. Louis
Calculating St. Louis car accident damages can be done by an attorney who can then help you seek the amount you need for your losses. The most common types of damages people pursue after a car accident case are medical expenses, lost wages or lost income, and pain and suffering. In accidents where the injured person has suffered serious or catastrophic injuries that result in life-changing injuries, a personal injury lawyer can also pursue damages for changes in lifestyle, vocational rehabilitation, or long-term future medical expenses.
With regards to punishing wrongdoers for negligence, the chance of obtaining punitive damages in a regular car accident case is remote. In Missouri punitive damages are rarely obtained unless there are aggravating factors such as if the person had been drinking and driving or if a commercial truck was involved in the accident and there was evidence that the company had cut corners on the maintenance of the commercial truck.
What Auto Insurance Typically Covers in Car Wrecks
Missouri drivers are required to carry at least a minimum level of insurance coverage for both liability coverage and property damage. The minimum amount of auto insurance permitted in Missouri varies as follows:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $10,000 per accident for property
If you were injured in an automobile collision caused by the negligent conduct of an individual that carries the minimum level of insurance required by Missouri, then the negligent driver’s insurance would cover $25,000 toward your medical bills and pain and suffering. If you were a part of a group of injured persons in the same Missouri car accident, the injured individuals would have to share the $50,000 coverage permitted by that policy. The minimum level of coverage covers $10,000 of property damage for the non-negligent party.
The less insurance coverage an individual carries means the more risk for their personal assets. If you were severely injured by a person carrying the minimum level of insurance, you have the option to pursue the negligent party’s personal assets over and above the insurance coverage under the right circumstances. For that reason alone, it is important that people strongly consider obtaining substantially more insurance coverage than the minimum amount required by Missouri law.
Regardless of the type of insurance coverage obtained, there is very little likelihood the insurance policy would cover punitive damages. Fortunately, and no matter the degree of your loss, an attorney can spend time calculating St. Louis car accident damages for your case.
Who is responsible for paying property damages?
If a car accident is caused by the other driver and that driver is insured, then the insurance company that covers them is primarily responsible for paying for all of the repairs for the property damage on your vehicle. The insurance company for the at-fault driver would have an opportunity to inspect your vehicle and obtain cost estimates for the repair. They would then provide you the options to get your car repaired at that location. If the driver who caused your property damage is uninsured, you can ask your insurance company to pay for the repairs to your car if you carry collision insurance. You would likely have to pay a deductible before the insurance coverage kicks in. If you have chosen to carry liability insurance only, then your insurance company has no responsibility to pay for any repairs to your car.
If the at-fault driver does not have any insurance and you don’t have any insurance, then you likely have to pay for the property damage repairs out of your own pocket.
How Intangible Losses Are Calculated and by Who
There is no easy way to calculate intangible, also known as non-economic, damages because there is simply no formula to put a dollar value on the pain and suffering that you have experienced after an injury. The best way to determine an amount of non-economic damages is to compile evidence of the extent of your injuries and how those injuries have diminished your quality of life.
One key method of proving non-economic damages is taking photographs or video of your injuries and the healing process over time. This provides a visible record of what you have experienced and how long it has taken for you to recover. Equally important is documenting through video or photographs the activities or events in which you are no longer able to participate as a result of the injuries.
Friends, family, and medical providers can also provide oral testimony about your physical condition before and after you were injured and how those injuries have affected your life. If you suffer from continuous pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia or fear, these individuals would be able to provide evidence of that through their testimony. From there, it would only be a matter of calculating St. Louis car accident damages.
Reach out to an Experienced Professional Today
An experienced personal injury attorney has a general knowledge of how to calculate non-economic damages in your particular case. Since every case is unique, it takes experience and knowledge to be able to determine what is an appropriate value for non-economic damages. Your lawyer should then work with you to arrive at a settlement amount to fairly compensate you for your injuries. Our trial lawyers can vet your claim of negligence and, if necessary, bring a lawsuit against a negligent party. Reach out today to begin a confidential consultation and start working towards maximum compensation.