Damages and the (Lack) of a Car Accident Magic Wand

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Damages and the (Lack) of a Car Accident Magic Wand
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 2/18/2019

To the average person, the word damages seem like a fairly vanilla concept. After a motor vehicle accident, however, a personal injury attorney sees damages in a completely different light. An injured driver might have months (or years) of medical treatment. They might think to themselves, “I really wish I could just wave a magic wand, go back in time, and stop this from ever happening.” Trust me. As someone who has seen firsthand the negative consequences of a car accident, I would patent that enchanted device in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, we don’t live in the Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings universes, and magic is out of the question.

Where does that leave us. Without Hermione Granger’s Time-Turner, we are left with a poor substitute. Money. Washington law describes some very specific areas of damages that an injured party can claim after a motor vehicle collision. In order for a plaintiff to meet their burden of proof, their damages may include economic damages and non-economic damages.

BLOG_CarAccidentMagicWand02182019_s.jpgAs far as economic damages are concerned, it can be helpful to keep lists or a spreadsheet to provide to your personal injury lawyer. Economic damages include items such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Parking and toll invoices
  • Household services
  • Out-of-Pocket costs; and
  • Vehicle repair damages;

In essence, economic damages are any specific money damage an injured party has incurred after a motor vehicle collision. There is (usually) no dispute over the valuation of these costs as they are precise, identifiable damages suffered after a car crash. Non-economic damages – on the other hand – are the exact opposite. These damages tend to be vague and up to interpretation. Washington has laid out some fairly ambiguous ideas to help juries determine an injured driver’s non-economic damages, including, but not limited to:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Inconvenience
  • Mental anguish
  • Disability
  • Loss of friendship or relationship; and
  • Humiliation

Where economic damages are objective and verifiable monetary losses, non-economic damages are subjective and can be valued in a wide range by different individuals. In any personal injury claim or litigation, it is important to value both of these areas separately. A jury will look at the damages as a whole when making an award.

You and your attorney will collaborate to fully understand the scope of your damages. Through in-person meetings, discussions with family and friends, thorough reviews of medical records and photographs, and interviews with medical providers, your damages claim will come to life. Your damages will tell a story about how the auto accident impacted your life, and your personal injury attorney will be your narrator helping to parse through the complicated information to highlight the pieces most relevant for the jury’s consideration.

In the end, a jury’s only recourse is to award money. A money judgment is a poor substitute for health. The Law Office of Magnuson Lowell PS can help you document your injury claim. While there is no magic wand after a car accident to bring you back to your pre-collision health, your attorney can aggressively fight for your rights, so you can get your medical bills paid and recoup your unpaid wages. Most importantly, after perhaps years of treatment and hundreds of medical appointments, you can finally get the justice that you deserve.

Call today for a free consultation (425)885-7500.

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