Car collisions often have both immediate and far-reaching financial consequences. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts property damage, loss of productivity and medical expenses as the top areas of economic loss resulting from crashes. If you are considering seeking compensation for your losses, it is important to be aware of the various types of recovery available.

Medical expenses

The first thing many people think of when it comes to filing a suit for a motor vehicle collision is medical treatment. If you have suffered injury as a result of your collision, you can seek to recover the resulting expenses. This can include unreimbursed bills for medical treatment, diagnostics, medication and specialized equipment such as crutches or wheelchairs. Some injuries will need prolonged or even lifelong treatments; these projected medical expenses should be factored in as well.

Loss of earnings

Another potentially large area of loss is the reduction in workplace productivity that can result from a car crash injury. Many people miss work immediately following their injury. Depending on the severity of their condition, this time period can range from a few days to months at a time. Some injuries can cause you to need future surgeries or courses of treatment that will make you miss work. In some cases, you may have to reduce your hours or even become completely unable to work. Compensation for loss of earnings will also depend on the amount you currently earn and on expert projections as to the effect of the injury on your future earning capacity.


Property damage is a third category of economic damages usually recovered in motor vehicle collision cases. This type of loss includes damage to your car and other property on you at the time, such as computer equipment.

Pain and suffering

In addition to economic damages, plaintiffs may be able to get compensation for pain and suffering. Injuries from a car crash can cause significant physical, mental and emotional harm, with effects that can last years into the future. Necessary treatment for some injuries can be traumatic and painful in their own right, potentially factoring into the recovery amount.

Punitive damages

In some cases, punitive damages may be available. The law provides this category of damages in order to punish extremely negligent or unlawful conduct. Unlike the other types of damages, the recovery here depends on the defendant’s conduct, not on the plaintiff’s losses. In order to obtain this type of recovery, the plaintiffs generally need to demonstrate that the defendant’s level of negligence was truly out of th e ordinary.

If you have suffered from a car collision, you want to get the most complete information about your options. Speak with an experienced lawyer in your area to get a full idea of what you can expect in your case.