Knowing what you are entitled to as a victim is important in understanding your claim. What the law allows you to claim versus what you may recover is different. It is important to understand the distinction. With a car accident, there are two broad categories of damages: (1) property damage and (2) bodily injury damages.
Property damage includes any damage or loss to property. This includes the full cost of repair or in the case of loss (i.e. vehicle is declared a loss), the value of the vehicle in the marketplace. In the case of repair, it may also include a diminution of value. Because your vehicle was in an accident, despite being repaired, the vehicle has lost value. Thus, you may have a claim for the loss in value due to the fact that the vehicle was damaged. In addition, you may be entitled to loss of use of that vehicle during the time that you do not have a vehicle (while being repaired) or until you are provided compensation for the loss of your vehicle. You may also claim loss of personal property. This would include damage to phones, the cost of new car seats, etc. The property damage claim is usually resolved sooner and separately from the bodily injury claim.
Bodily Injury Claim
The law provides that tort victims are entitled to claim the following damages: (1) nature, extent and duration of the injury; (2) pain, discomfort, suffering, disability, disfigurement and anxiety already experienced and reasonably probable to be experienced in the future as a result of the injury; (3) reasonable expenses of necessary medical care, treatment and services rendered and reasonably probable to be incurred in the future; (4) loss of earnings to date and any decrease in earning power or capacity in the future; (5) loss of enjoyment of life, that is, the participation in life’s activities to the quality and extent normally enjoyed before the injury. The law also permits other types of damages that may apply for certain types of fact situations (such as loss of consortium, etc), though these are not generally applicable for most injuries and cases.
The case law in Arizona provides for the following (citations excluded): Unlimited recovery for actual damages, expenses for past and prospective medical care, past and prospective pain and suffering, lost earnings and diminished earning capacity; all expenses and for the value of services reasonably made necessary by the harm. Once the right to damages is established, uncertainty as to the amount of damages does not preclude recovery. Pain and suffering are separately compensable damages from “loss of enjoyment of life” which compensates victims for the limitations resulting from the defendant’s negligence or the injured person’s ability to participate in and derive pleasure from the normal activities of daily life. In other words, any injury that the victim can prove is proximately caused by the acts of the wrongdoer.