What are Damages

A motor vehicle claim involves the use of the term “damages.”  Knowing what damages are, is important in the outcome of the motor vehicle claim.   In any motor vehicle accident claim there are 2 parts to the case:  (1) property damage and (2) personal injury.  The recovery in these 2 parts depends on the amount of damages to your vehicle and/or your physical body.  The person who caused the accident has a duty to return you to the position you were in prior to the collision.   This theory is called made whole.  The extent of the damages determines the monetary amount awarded to the victim.

As a Little Rock AR personal injury lawyer can explain, Your damages in the property damage portion of the case will depend on how much it costs to repair your car.  In some instances it is cheaper to total the car than to repair it.  Totaling the car is often used by the insurance company to save money on their part.  If the car is worth $3,000.00 and it will cost $4,000.00 to repair it, you can see it would be cheaper to total the car and save $1,000.00.   This analysis is driven by the value of the car, not by how much you owe on it.  Therefore if the car is only worth $3,000.00 and you owe $5,000.00, the insurance company will not be moved by the fact that you are upside down.  This is unfortunate, but you will be personally responsible for any additional amounts that are owed on the vehicle.

Damages in the personal injury part of the claim are determined by the type and amount of medical care the injured party receives.  Damages can be initially forecasted by the amount of property damage sustained by the vehicle.  If the property damage was a minor $500.00 fender bender, the implication is this was a very minor impact and there should be little to no medical costs incurred.  However, if the vehicle was totaled the implication is that major impact occurred causing the passengers to sustain severe jarring and/or collision with the interior of the vehicle.  This will be evidenced by bruising, soft tissue tearing, bleeding, concussions, broken bones, and/or spinal injury.

With every claim, the insurance adjuster must make a reasonable calculation of what your damages are.   This evaluation is dictated by the types of injuries you sustained.  The injuries are validated by the documentation through the medical care provider who treats you or evaluates you.  Without this documentation you are lacking valuable evidence to prove up your personal injury portion of the damages.

Some personal injury damages do not become evident until days or weeks after the motor vehicle accident.  Therefore it is important to receive immediate medical attention to evaluate the degree of injuries that occurred as a result of the wreck.  Waiting to receive this evaluation will adversely impact the damages claim due to personal injury.

Damages are determined by medical documentation and confirmed by the diagnostic testing, such as x-rays, MRI, CAT scans, and other diagnostics.  These types of medical records become the basis of your damages for the personal injury claim.  Without this necessary medical treatment and documentation it is impossible to prove up your injuries.  This is the evidence in your personal injury claim that provides the calculation for your damages.


Thanks to our friend and contributor from the Law Offices of Lisa Douglas, Inc. for their insight into medical malpractice.

The legal firm of Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. has successfully represented many cases. Our attorneys are here to help. Contact Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. today for a free initial consultation.

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