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Types of Damages Recoverable in a Car Accident Case

If you’ve been in a car accident in Rhode Island and suffered serious injuries and your vehicle has sustained significant damage, you may be wondering how to recoup the monetary losses and expenses you’ve incurred. Losses due to an auto accident may range from vehicle repairs to more substantial damages including costs for medical expenses, surgery, doctor’s office visits, and lost wages. In addition to the financial strain, a crash can also take an emotional toll on a victim and their family. As a Rhode Island Car Accident Attorney, David Tapalian understands how difficult the aftermath of an accident can be for the person hurt as well as their loved ones. Particularly if the injured person is the primary, or only, financial provider for a family, the economic and emotional stress can take a huge toll on their well-being. The experienced personal injury experts at Tapalian Law can help to alleviate that stress. Attorney Tapalian has over 20 years of experience helping victims of personal injury in RI and MA, get rewarded maximum compensation for their losses, both economic and non-economic, after a devastating car accident.

What are Damages in a Car Accident Case?

In an auto accident personal injury claim, the “damages” are defined by all injuries sustained including financial, physical, and emotional, that one experienced due to another’s negligence. There are three main types of damages to look for in your personal injury case and a qualified car accident lawyer will determine what types you are eligible for:

  • Economic Damages: The most common type of damages, economic damages encompass the specific monetary losses incurred as a result of the accident and/or injury. Examples of economic damages include ambulance transport fees, hospital bills, medical expenses, physical therapy, and nursing care. You may also recoup lost wages if you missed work time from work due to the accident. In addition, if you are unable to return to the same type of job you performed prior to your injury, your attorney will determine if you are eligible for compensation for future lost earnings potential.

    Property damage is covered under economic damages due to a motor vehicle accident in Rhode Island. This may include damage to your vehicle and its contents, the cost of repairs or a replacement, and rental car costs.

  • Non-Economic Damages: These types of damages refer to compensation for losses that harmed the plaintiff but are difficult to place a monetary value on. An example of non-economic damage includes pain and suffering. Trauma from an accident may result in mental anguish, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and loss of enjoyment of life. What if the accident caused a lifelong disability or physical impairment? These are also compensable as a non-economic damage.

    Pain & Suffering: It is exceedingly difficult to assign a specific monetary value to pain and suffering. Therefore, the compensation awarded for this type of non-economic loss varies widely depending on the individual circumstances.

    • Some factors considered when determining a fair amount of compensation for pain and suffering include the type of injury, the age of the individual, and how the injury has specifically affected the individual. It is beneficial to consult an experienced Rhode Island car accident lawyer to gain a better understanding of how pain and suffering compensation applies to your individual auto accident injury claim. An experienced law firm like Tapalian Law has access to medical professionals that can assign a specific impairment rating to one’s long-term disability due to a motor vehicle accident. An impairment rating can then be quantified into present value terms in an effect to achieve compensation for a lifelong injury.
    • Pain and suffering may also apply in a wrongful death lawsuit if the plaintiff, typically the deceased victim’s spouse or immediate family member, can prove the victim suffered conscious pain and suffering prior to death and did not die instantly.

    Loss of Consortium: Typically, this type of non-economic damage is the claim of the injured persons loved one, such as a spouse, made on their behalf. A loss of consortium claim involves being deprived of the injured person’s affection, comfort, and companionship, due to the physical or emotional effects of the motor vehicle accident.

  • Punitive Damages: This type of damage serves as punishment to the person responsible for causing the injury. The sole purpose of punitive damages is to “punish” the defendant for the conduct they created. R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-2 Civil Liability for Crimes and Offense, provides a statutory legal remedy to obtain punitive damages against someone who was at fault for injuring the plaintiff. Under Rhode Island law there shall be no defense that a criminal complaint was not filed.
Rhode Island’s “Pure Comparative Fault” Rules

Rhode Island has an “at fault” (or tort) system for auto insurance claims. This means that as a driver, you must show fault against the other driver. Rhode Island follows the “pure comparative fault” rule, which allows the driver to recover damages, even if the driver is 99% at fault for the car accident. For example, if you were 99% chance at fault for a collision and the other driver was 1% at fault (or vice versa), you may still file a lawsuit. In most instances, if one motorist were significantly more at fault for the crash than the other, it would not make sense to prosecute their claim. However, there can be a host of factors which may result in an attorney representing somebody that was greatly at fault for an accident. Those indices could include the amount of available insurance for the other party, the extent of the injuries to the victim represented, and if any fault can be placed on the other driver. As an experienced car accident attorney in Rhode Island, David Tapalian will help guide you or your loved ones through the Rhode Island car accident compensation laws to strengthen your car accident case.

Why Should I Choose Tapalian Law for My Car Accident Case?

If you’ve suffered injuries in a car accident in Rhode Island resulting in significant financial losses and emotional distress, Attorney David Tapalian will do whatever it takes to recover the damages and expenses you’ve incurred and get justice for you and your family. At Tapalian Law, we are adept at navigating the local community and communicating with a wide network of attorneys and medical professionals in Rhode Island, which is essential. Our professional personal injury team will do everything possible to settle your case smoothly so that you can go back to your normal life. Accident Attorney David Tapalian offers compassionate legal representation assisting people throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a tragic car accident, contact us online or by phone at (401) 552-5000, for a free consultation to find out more about your eligibility to file a personal injury claim in RI or MA. Our Providence law firm has secure and free parking in downtown Providence, RI, with additional locations in Warwick RI and Seekonk MA and we are dedicated to working on your car accident claim until our team is confident you have received fair compensation for your losses.

Client Reviews
He took care of everything and kept me updated as well. It was such a smooth process and in the end I won my case. I would highly recommend David Tapalian! Patrice F.
When I contacted David Tapalian, Attorney & Counselor at Law, all my worries were immediately alleviated. He handled my case from beginning to end and kept me updated every step of the way. Susie M.
I visited David a couple of days after my accident and he gave me clear and concise details on what would happen throughout the process... David N.