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How to Value The Loss in a Louisiana Car Crash

Tony Tramontana

If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident because of someone else’s negligence, you probably know you’re entitled to compensation for your injuries.

But did you know the compensation you receive is dependent on the type of harm incurred? It’s important to work with an experienced Monroe car accident attorney who can accurately estimate the value of loss you have suffered in a crash.

Two Types of Harm in Vehicle Crashes

As the result of a car accident, you may suffer two general types of harm:

  • Economic (or "special damages").
  • Non-economic (or "general damages").

You can probably guess what economic harm includes:

It’s items like your medical expenses, any lost wages due to injuries, and the costs of having your car repaired or replaced.

The value of non-economic harm, on the other hand, is harder to peg with a dollar figure. It includes categories like your physical pain and suffering, any emotional consequences, and the loss of your enjoyment of life.

Losses Related to People

Losses from an auto accident also can be sorted according to the object of the harm: people and vehicles. Among the harm caused to people, some losses are economic.

Medical expenses: If you’ve suffered mental or emotional injuries, you may need medical care now and in the future. Your attorney will work with a medical professional to help you get better and to estimate the ongoing costs of your care.

Compensation for medical expenses may include:

  • Hospital stays.
  • Treatment in an emergency room.
  • Doctor visits.
  • Nursing services.
  • Medications.
  • Diagnostic tests.

Your attorney will assist you in gathering documentation to prove that your medical expenses are directly related to injuries you suffered in an accident.

Household help: You may need help with household tasks while you recover and even on a permanent basis, depending on the extent of your injuries. If you would not have incurred the expense if you hadn’t been injured, you may be entitled to compensation.

Lost income and lost earning capacity: If you lose wages or the ability to earn money in the future because of an accident, you may receive compensation.

Other human losses related to accidents are non-economic and can include:

  • Pain and suffering due to permanent disfigurement or ongoing, severe physical or emotional pain.
  • Loss of the ability to enjoy life.
  • Loss of the affections of a spouse.
  • Loss of the companionship of close family members.
  • Mental anguish, including emotional distress such as anxiety, grief, shock or feelings of loss of dignity.

Losses Related to Vehicles

When a vehicle is damaged in a crash, the resale value may be diminished even if the vehicle is repaired. For the owner this means:

Diminution — or reduction — in the value of the vehicle.

So even if you’re compensated for the cost of repairing your car after an accident, you may be entitled to additional compensation for the lost value ("diminished value of your vehicle").

Under Louisiana law, you may be entitled to recover damages related to diminution if:

  • Your car is damaged but not destroyed in a crash.
  • The damage is due to someone else’s negligence.
  • You can prove that the fair market value of the vehicle is less because of the damage even if the vehicle is repaired to pre-accident condition.

If you’ve suffered loss in an accident — either from personal injury or damage to your vehicle — it’s important to work with an experienced Monroe car accident attorney. For a consultation, please contact J. Antonio Tramontana at 318-340-1515.

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