What Kinds of Compensation Can I Ask for in My Car Accident Claim in Phoenix, AZ?

If you suffer injuries in a Phoenix car accident that wasn’t your fault, you might have a personal injury claim. If you do, you can probably demand monetary compensation for your losses. 

Theoretically, you are entitled to compensation for all of your damages, both tangible and intangible. Nevertheless, practical limitations might limit the amount of money that you actually receive.

Economic Damages: Your Financial Losses

Economic damages are quantifiable losses that readily break down into dollars and cents–as discussed below. 

Medical Expenses

Your healthcare provider can calculate most of your medical expenses. After all, they’re billing you for them, aren’t they? You might also add in amounts you spent for OTC medications and medical supplies such as a wheelchair.

Estimated Future Medical Costs

If you have not completed your medical treatment by the date that you calculate the value of your claim, you will need to estimate your total future medical expenses. This could add up to a lot of money if you are suffering from long-term disability. 

It is critical that you get this right so that you ask for all the money you need. You might require an expert witness to help you calculate the amount.

Lost Wages

In most cases, it shouldn’t be difficult to calculate your lost wages. Your employer should maintain sufficient records to allow you to determine how much you lost. This task could get more difficult if you are self-employed with an unstable income.  

Diminished Earning Capacity

“Diminished earning capacity” refers to how much in earnings you expect to lose due to a long-term disability that reduces your ability to earn money in the future. As with estimated future medical expenses, you must get this one right. Again, use an expert if you need one (hint: you probably will need one).

Vehicle Repairs

Strictly speaking, damage to your car is not a personal injury. Nevertheless, you might as well go ahead and resolve your property damage claim together with your personal injury claim. An auto repair facility should be able to estimate the cost of repairs.

Non-Economic Damages: Your Intangible Losses

In addition to tangible economic losses, you are also entitled to recovery for intangible physical and psychological damages, as detailed below.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering damages compensate you for physical suffering–the excruciating pain of a burn injury, for example, or the trauma of going into shock after a car accident. Pain and suffering damages frequently add up to more than half of the total value of a personal injury claim.  

Emotional Distress and Mental Anguish

Emotional distress, a term that is used almost interchangeably with mental anguish, refers to the psychological pain you might suffer. For example, imagine the trauma of looking in the mirror and seeing a badly injured face. Imagine the trauma of having to listen to your doctor tell you that you will never walk again. Alternatively, simply imagine the ordinary trauma of suffering a serious injury.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Maybe you used to lift weights at the gym. Maybe you used to walk in the park for an hour every Sunday. Perhaps you are bedridden and can’t go to church anymore. Maybe you used to like to play ping-pong or chess. If your injuries prevent you from engaging in any of these activities, you might have a claim for loss of enjoyment of life.

Loss of Consortium

Loss of consortium” refers to the loss suffered by the accident victim’s spouse, parent, or child due to their injury. The victim might lose the ability to participate in physical intimacy with their spouse, for example. This claim belongs to the victim’s family member, not to the victim.  

Punitive Damages

In cases where the defendant’s conduct was outrageous (such as intentional misconduct), a court might award the victim punitive damages in addition to economic and non-economic damages.

Factors That Could Influence Compensation Amounts in a Phoenix Car Accident Case

Several factors could influence the amount of compensation you will actually obtain, including the following.

Your Phoenix car accident attorney will deduct a certain pre-agreed percentage of your compensation for your legal fees. This expense applies only if your lawyer wins your case (if you lose, your legal bill will be zero). Your lawyer might also deduct case expenses that they paid in advance for you, such as expert witness fees.

Comparative Negligence

How is compensation distributed if the parties share fault for the collision? Arizona is a pure comparative negligence state. You can recover compensation even if you were 99% at fault for the accident–but you can only recover 1% of your damages. If you were 1% at fault, you can recover 99% of your damages. 

Insurance Policy Limits

It doesn’t matter how much your claim is worth if the only way to pay it is with an inadequate insurance policy. No insurance company is obligated to pay out a dime more than the maximum amount set forth in the terms of the relevant policy. 

Negotiating Skills

How well do you negotiate? It matters, even though it probably shouldn’t. Hire a lawyer with strong negotiating skills, and your own deficiencies won’t matter.

Hiring a law firm with a reputation for winning in court will often intimidate an insurance company or a defendant into settling your claim on terms more favorable to you.

Wrongful Death Damages

A wrongful death claim arises the moment a car accident victim dies from their injuries. Compensation in a wrongful death case works differently than compensation in a personal injury claim. Damages go to close relatives of the deceased victim. 

Most Phoenix Car Accident Lawyers Offer Free Case Consultations

Almost any Phoenix personal injury lawyer will offer you a free, no-obligation case consultation where you can tell your story and explore your legal options. Although your consultation is free of obligation, the lawyer might offer to represent you. Since personal injury attorneys don’t earn any money unless they secure compensation for their clients, if a lawyer offers to represent you, you can be sure they believe they can win your case.

Contact the Arizona Car Accident Lawyers at Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers Today

If you were injured in an accident in Phoenix, AZ, and need legal help, contact our Phoenix car accident attorneys at Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case review today.

Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers
1221 E Osborn Rd. Suite 201
Phoenix, AZ 85014
(602) 595-5559