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What types of things can I get reimbursed for after a car accident?

The legal term for the money you receive after a car accident or other personal injury is called “damages.” Most of your damages are so-called “compensatory damages” because they are meant to compensate you for your losses. Compensatory damages may be “economic” or “noneconomic.” Economic damages include items such as your present and future doctor and hospital bills. Also, you can get paid for any work you missed due to the accident or for any diminished earning capacity if you can’t work at the same job or any job after the accident due to disability. Noneconomic damages include items such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, scarring and disfigurement, or loss in quality of life. These losses may not have direct economic costs like a medical bill or lost wages, but they are nevertheless very real types of harm for which you are entitled to be compensated.

Besides compensatory damages, you may also be entitled to punitive damages in some cases. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant rather than compensate you for your losses, so they are reserved for only the most extreme cases of bad conduct, recklessness or gross negligence. For example, if you were hit by a highly intoxicated driver or a drag racer, the jury may feel that punitive damages are appropriate. Although punitive damages are harder to recover, we make a special effort at McReynolds Vardanyan to argue for punitive damages in appropriate cases.

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