Personal injury victims may be entitled to compensation for the various losses they suffered in an accident, including the out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help identify and seek compensation for the out-of-pocket expenses you incurred due to your accident.
Categories of Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Damages are the various losses you suffered because of an accident and your injuries.
Damages are generally classified into the following three categories:
The first major category of damages in a personal injury case is economic damages. These are damages that are easier to quantify because you may receive a bill or estimate for their cost. Medical expenses, lost wages, and the price of repairing your vehicle are a few examples of economic damages.
Florida is a no-fault insurance state for auto accidents. All drivers must maintain at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. If they are injured in a motor vehicle accident, they turn to this insurance first, regardless of who was at fault.
Under Florida law, PIP insurance is responsible for paying 80% of the reasonable medical expenses you incur because of the accident.
Florida law also requires PIP insurance to cover 60% of the insured’s lost wages.
Non-economic damages are things that are not tied to a specific dollar amount, so they’re harder to quantify. For example, non-economic damages may include pain and suffering and mental distress.
Combined, economic and non-economic damages are usually called compensatory damages.
Most damages are based on things the victim lost and are awarded to make them whole again. However, punitive damages are different. They are intended to punish the defendant for particularly bad behavior and to prevent similar behavior in the future.
What Are Out-of-Pocket Expenses?
An out-of-pocket expense is typically anything you pay for related to your accident that is not covered by insurance. It may be later reimbursed from a third-party source, such as your own insurance, the defendant, or the defendant’s insurance. Out-of-pocket expenses are considered economic damages.
Examples of Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Out-of-pocket expenses may include:
You are generally entitled to the payment of all reasonable medical expenses incurred due to a personal injury.
These expenses may include:
- Ambulance charges
- Emergency room visits
- Hospital bills
- Doctor’s bills
- Medical equipment, such as crutches or a wheelchair
- Prescription medication
- Over-the-counter medication
- Medical supplies
You may have to pay for any medical expenses that your PIP or health insurance didn’t cover. You can seek reimbursement for these expenses through a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.
In addition to the medical expenses incurred immediately after the accident, you may also be able to recover compensation for your future anticipated expenses, such as for home health care costs you may have because of a long-term injury.
Property damage is the cost to repair or replace any personal property that was damaged in the accident.
For example, in a car accident, a property damage claim may seek compensation for:
- The cost to repair the vehicle back to the condition it was in before the accident or the cost to replace the vehicle if it was “totaled”
- The cost to repair or replace personal property that was damaged or destroyed during the accident, such as a cell phone
- The cost to replace a child’s car seat after a car accident, since the seat’s safety can be compromised
The value of a property damage claim is typically equal to the cost to repair the damaged item or the fair market value of the item at the time it was destroyed.
If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may have to seek alternative arrangements for transportation while your vehicle is being repaired.
You may incur out-of-pocket expenses for:
- Rental car expenses
- Rideshare rides
- Bus, taxi, or subway fares
- Parking fees
Additionally, you can seek compensation for the mileage you used to attend medical appointments related to your accident injuries.
Modifications to Your Home and Vehicle
If you suffered a serious injury, you may require modifications to your home or vehicle, such as making them wheelchair-accessible. You can seek payment for these modifications.
The injuries you suffered in the accident may prevent you from tending to your household duties.
You may be able to recover compensation for lost household services, such as if you have to pay for:
You may be able to be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses following the accident.
Contact an Attorney For Help Calculating Your Out-of-Pocket Expenses and Other Damages
Consulting an attorney after an accident can help you determine the out-of-pocket expenses you may be able to recover. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation, so there’s no risk in asking for help calculating the fair value of your claim.