In earlier blogs, we helped you understand the concept of the breach of standard of care in personal injury lawsuits, as well as the requirement that you establish a causal link between the conduct of the defendant and your losses. You cannot obtain any financial damages, though, unless you show actual losses. What is the damage requirement in a personal injury claim?
But that seems to be self-evident, doesn’t it? Another driver fails to use appropriate care, fails to stop and runs into the back of your vehicle. Clearly you are entitled to something, right? Perhaps, but there’s a process the court uses to determine if you have a right to compensation.
First, the court will look at the nature of your injuries to see if any are compensable. With respect to your being rear-ended by another motorist, the court will typically ask:
- Did you incur any out-of-pocket expenses because of the collision?—Let’s assume there was damage to your vehicle or that you required medical care. Did you have auto insurance that covered all the damages to your vehicle? If so, you won’t likely be able to recover compensation from the other driver for vehicle repairs (although your insurance company will likely have a claim). And if you had medical coverage, either under your auto insurance policy or under a separate medical policy, you won’t generally be able to collect damages for medical bills that were reimbursed.
- Did you miss any work because of the accident?—If so, you may have a claim for lost income or wages. But what if you had disability insurance that covered lost wages? Once again, you won’t be able to recover for lost wages if they are reimbursed from some other source.
- Did you experience any pain or physical discomfort? Typically, there’s no insurance coverage or other form of compensation to pay your for this type of injury, so this would customarily be sufficient to entitle you to monetary damages.
- Did you have to give up any activities you love—sports, dancing, or other activities made difficult or impossible by any physical limitations caused by your accident?
- Did you lose the ability to be intimate with your spouse or partner, or to enjoy the companionship of family?
Contact Our Office
If you or someone you love has been injured in New Jersey because of someone else’s negligence, we can help you seek full and fair compensation for your losses. For a private meeting with experienced personal injury attorneys, contact us online or call our offices, in New Brunswick at 732-247-3600 or in Somerville at 908-448-2560.