One of the big differences between your no-fault auto insurance claim and a Third Party lawsuit is the damages. A First Party insurance lawsuit is limited to medical expenses, lost wages, and related expenses. In the lawsuit against an at-fault driver, a seriously injured motorist can recover several kinds of non-medical damages.
Pain and Suffering
Recovery from a serious auto accident isn’t just about medical bills. The victim of another driver’s negligence suffers on-going pain and suffering that can make day-to-day life miserable. Your no-fault auto insurance won’t cover this reduction in your enjoyment of life. But in a Third Party action, you can work with your auto accident attorney to put a value on the harm you have suffered since your accident. Juries have granted millions of dollars in pain and suffering awards in serious car crash cases. It all depends on the injury you suffered and how you and your lawyer describe your ongoing pain.
Pain and suffering awards can even be granted in wrongful death cases. Unless the person died instantly on impact, the family of a car crash victim can be compensated for the time that the person was conscious and in pain. This can seem somewhat grisly, but the courts can only award money to make up for your family’s loss.
Disability and Disfigurement
Victims in the most serious auto accident cases don’t always recover. Some face long-term and even life-long disability. A no-fault claim for lost wages cuts off after 3 years. But your disability does not. If your injury prevents you from working, you can receive compensation for all your lost wages from the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company.
Disability isn’t just about working, though. Disabled drivers lose their ability to play, raise their children, and engage in activities they once enjoyed. Your Third Party lawsuit can help compensate you for those losses as well.
Non-Medical Damages and Life Expectancy
How much money you can be awarded in a Third Party lawsuit depends on your life expectancy. You will need to be compensated for pain and suffering, lost wages, or disability that extend beyond your trial date. To figure out just how long that might be, your auto accident attorneys will use “actuarial tables” to calculate how long you will likely live with your injuries. All of your non-economic damages are calculated based on a number that compensates you for the damage for one day, times how many days, years, or even decades you will live in that condition.
If your doctor thinks you will eventually make a full recovery, the length of your rehabilitation may be used instead of life expectancy. But if your disability is permanent, you have the right to be compensated for living with a limitation for the rest of your life.
The auto accident attorneys at Christensen Law have been representing car crash victims for over twenty years. They will help you calculate your non-medical damages and identify how those costs should be calculated. If you have suffered a serious auto accident, contact Christensen Law for a free consultation.