When a car accident occurs in Buffalo, the NY law entitles victims to compensation. However, many victims have no idea what a compensation claim can cover. Those who do not benefit from the advice of a Buffalo car accident attorney often fail to claim various types of damages.
In the following lines, we will review the various types of damages that could be available in a car accident case. Whether or not claiming them is possible or advisable in a particular case should be determined by a car accident lawyer.
Types of Damages a Car Accident Lawyer May Claim for Their Clients
According to the purpose they serve, car accident damages fall into two major categories: compensatory and punitive damages. As the terms suggest, the purpose of the damages in the former category is to compensate the victim for their losses. The purpose of the damages in the latter category is to punish the defendant and discouraging similar behaviors. We will take a closer look at each category in the following lines.
Punitive Damages in Buffalo Car Accident Cases
Punitive damages are rarely claimed and awarded in Buffalo car accident cases. On one hand, in order for a court to award such damages, the defendant’s behavior should have been morally reprehensible, much worse than mere negligence. On the other hand, the claimant has to prove the defendant’s immoral behavior or intentional wrongdoing.
For example, the driver at fault should have been severely intoxicated and with a history of drunk driving. Or, they should have caused the accident on purpose. In order to award punitive damages, the court will want solid evidence of the defendant’s behavior and intentions. These are not easy to obtain, so many car accident victims and their lawyers do not even consider claiming punitive damages.
As a general rule, punitive damages cannot exceed 10 times the amount of compensatory damages. However, throughout time, higher amounts were awarded as well. There were also cases when courts dismissed claims for punitive damages lower than the claims for compensatory damages.
Compensatory Damages in Car Accident Cases
Compensatory damages can be classified into two major categories: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those referring to the expenses and financial losses the accident victim incurred. They are usually easy to prove with bills, invoices, receipts, appraisals, and cost estimates. Common examples economic damages a Buffalo car accident attorney may claim are:
- Car repair or replacement cost
- Repair or replacement costs for other assets damaged in the accident
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning ability following partial, full, temporary, or permanent disability
- Other disability-related expenses (recovery therapy, home and car adjustments, home care)
- Special losses (services or assets the victim had paid for and could no longer enjoy and/or recover their costs due to the accident)
Non-economic damages are losses that are more difficult to quantify, of a more subjective nature. These damages are usually awarded in cases where the victim incurred serious injuries. Common examples include:
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of ability to enjoy life
- Physical and/or emotional pain and suffering
The Burden of Proof, or Why Hire a Buffalo Auto Accident Lawyer to Claim Damages
No matter what type of damages an accident victim claims, the law requires that they sustain their claim with evidence. They will need to prove that:
- They sustained the claimed damages
- Those damages were the result of the accident
- Their value is fair and accurate
The law does not clearly stipulate what type of evidence a claimant should provide. However, since the defendant will try to dismantle as much evidence as possible, it is important to have solid, consistent evidence.
Experienced Buffalo accidents will use anything from bills and invoices to expert evaluations, witness testimonies, and case precedents. They will claim the highest amounts possible and do their best to justify them. This way, they will have room to negotiate and obtain the compensation their client deserves even if the defendant succeeds to dismantle some of the evidence.
Let a Buffalo Car Accident Attorney Get You the Compensation You Deserve
By yourself, it can be difficult to assess what type of damages you can claim and to what amount they rise. Gathering the necessary evidence is a challenge as well. We can make everything easier, take over all the hassles, and get you the compensation you deserve. Get in touch and schedule a free consultation with Buffalo Car Accident Lawyers today!