Compensation for a Car Accident – What am I Entitled To?


In the aftermath of a car accident, one is normally not immediately concerned with receiving compensation for physical injuries sustained. However, the at-fault party’s insurance company may be eager to settle your claim. Insurance adjusters may be well-trained and expected to settle your auto claims quickly and cheaply. The insurance company may request that you supply a settlement demand, where you would advise as to the dollar amount you were seeking to compensate for the injuries you sustained. An inexperienced negotiator may not realize that several areas of compensation exist, in addition to medical expenses. The compensation to which you may be entitled generally falls into the following three categories:

  1. Economic Damages- Sometimes these types of damages are referred to as “compensatory” damages, which are intended to make the victim “whole.” These damages would include medical bills, lost income and other financial losses associated with your injuries, such as:

Property Damage

Your car has been damaged and may be considered to be a total loss. The at-fault party and/or his or her insurance company is responsible for paying for the damage to your car. Your attorney will work with the insurance company to ensure that you receive proper compensation for your vehicle.

Drivers talking on road with red warning sign in foreground 

Medical Expenses

The cost of medical care may add up quickly. No matter the degree of your injuries, treatment can be expensive. Medical expenses may include expenses for the following:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Doctors’ Consultation Fees
  • Prescriptions
  • Durable Medical Equipment
  • Ambulance Fees
  • Surgery Costs
  • Ongoing Care Services
  • In-Home Services

Lost Wages

Injuries may prevent you from working. If you miss work, a statement from your employer documenting the precise amount of lost wages will be helpful in settling your claim. A doctor should further verify that you are unable to work due to your injuries.

Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Out-of-pocket expenses may include co-pays, deductibles, out-of-pocket prescription cost, and towing expenses. If you are buying something that you normally wouldn’t purchase, and it is an expense associated with your accident, then it may qualify for compensation.

Diminished Value

If your vehicle is damaged from a car accident, even after repairs have been made, it is not worth as much as it was before the collision. Due to the fact that your vehicle was in an accident, subsequent purchasers will devalue the vehicle. Diminished Value damages help you to recover that diminishment of value. This type of determination may require an expert such as a mechanic or auto body shop professional to calculate the pre and post-collision value of the vehicle.

  1. Non-Economic Damages- These are the more intangible elements associated with an accident, and include damages for pain & suffering, disability, permanent injuries, embarrassment, and mental anguish. In addition to the physical pain, you may be suffering from due to bodily injuries, the emotional distress and trauma from experiencing an accident can be draining and affect your future behavior. Anxiety, fear, depression, and loss of enjoyment are all reasons that may warrant compensation. These damages may be testified to by the injured party, his or her loved ones, and the injured party’s medical professionals.
  1. Punitive Damages- Sometimes called exemplary damages, punitive damages are intended to punish or reform the at-fault party for outrageous or reckless conduct. Even though the purpose of punitive damages is not to compensate the injured, the injured party will receive all or some of these types of damages. Punitive damages are not paid in all cases.

If you or someone you know is involved in an car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact Scott Bonebrake for assistance. Scott is a general practitioner in Media, PA, and has been a licensed attorney for 25 years. If you have any legal questions, please feel free to contact Scott at 610-892-7700, or at