Recoverable Damages after a Car Accident in Rock Hill
After a car accident caused by the negligence of another, victims are entitled to recover damages from the responsible party. Damages are the legal term for the compensation awarded to a victim for their losses. Recoverable damages in Rock Hill car accident claims fall into three categories: economic, noneconomic, and punitive.
Economic damages compensate victims for monetary expenses that are directly related to the injuries they suffered in the wreck. For instance, medical costs are a common type of economic harm for which victims seek payment. The injured person can also pursue compensation for the income they lost as a result of their injuries, mileage to and from doctor visits, and damage to the vehicle.
Notably, economic damages are available for both past and future expenses. For example, if a victim will require ongoing rehabilitation or round-the-clock care, they can seek compensation for these expenses. If the injured person becomes permanently disabled and unable to work, economic damages could cover their lost earning potential.
Noneconomic damages compensate Rock Hill car accident victims for losses that are more subjective and difficult to place a value on. Common examples include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. Those are all words that describe how the injuries have affected the victim’s life.
All of those things are very personal to the injury victim, so a lawyer may attempt to frame an argument for noneconomic losses that is very specific and also relatable to the jury. For instance, if a mother or grandmother can no longer pick up their 2-year-old child due to a neck injury, that can be a devastating loss. This is often very relatable to jurors because many have children or remember being a child. While those sorts of things are difficult to place a dollar value on, it ultimately comes down to the sympathy the jury might feel for that person in that situation.
Punitive damages are designed to punish the person who committed the act that led to the victim’s losses. Punitive damages are only recoverable in situations where the defendant acted beyond mere negligence with a degree of recklessness or intentionality.
For example, if someone causes an accident because they were intoxicated or racing, the court may see fit to award punitive damages. The goal is to punish the wrongdoer and deter future bad behavior.
Insurance Coverage and Damage Caps
South Carolina does not have damage caps unless the defendant is a government actor. If so, a plaintiff may encounter limits to their maximum compensation award. The exact limits depend on the situation and whether the defendant is the state or a municipality.
However, it can be difficult to pursue compensation in excess of the defendant’s insurance policy limits. In South Carolina, minimum policy limits are only $25,000. This means many drivers only have $25,000 in coverage available to pay injury claims. While there may be no damages cap in theory, there can be practical limitations.
Discuss Your Damages with a Rock Hill Car Accident Attorney
A Rock Hill attorney could help someone recover car accident damages by identify their losses and presenting them as evidence that would be admissible in trial. This puts a value on the damages and allows them to be considered by the insurance carrier. To achieve this, thorough documentation is essential.
If the insurance carrier disagrees with the value of a case or is unwilling to settle it, the attorney’s role becomes even more important. At this point, the victim would need to file a lawsuit, and this process can be difficult to achieve on one’s own.
For help seeking the compensation you deserve, contact a Rock Hill attorney at Schiller & Hamilton.