When you are in an automobile accident that wasn’t your fault, there are issues that arise. One is concerning compensation and how much you are entitled to. Here, we explain different types of compensation and what you may be facing.

Types of compensation

When figuring compensation, courts have two main types of damages that they must consider. Specific damages are damages that have specific value amounts. These include things like lost wages or future earnings, property loss and medical bills. For example, a medical bill would be a specific amount, and the victim has the possibility of having that amount paid by the defendant.

General damages are damages that don’t necessarily have a specific set amount. These types of damages would include things like loss of limbs, emotional distress, strain on a relationship or pain and suffering. The amount of these damages would depend on the extent of the damage. For example, emotional distress damages would vary depending on the extent of distress the victim has endured or may endure in the future due to the accident.

There is a third type of damage that the courts may have to consider, but this isn’t always the case. This damage is called punitive damage and is meant to punish the defendant. In other words, if a defendant performed an extremely careless act like drunk driving and caused the accident, the defendant may receive stricter fine amounts, pay more to the victim and have to attend schools or rehabilitation programs. Jail time is also a good possibility.

Types of negligence

A negligent act is one where the defendant’s careless behavior contributed to the accident. There are different types of negligence, and states vary on this. Most states consider comparative negligence. This means that the victim’s compensation may be reduced if they are partially at fault for the accident. They will still receive compensation but only for the percentage that they aren’t at fault.

A few states consider contributory negligence when considering the outcome of an accident-related case. Contributory negligence means that if you are partially at fault for an accident, you won’t receive any compensation. Even if you are only ten percent at fault for the accident, you won’t receive any compensation.

Types of comparative negligence

There are also two types of comparative negligence that are taken into consideration. Modified comparative negligence is compensation in proportion to the percentage of the accident that wasn’t your fault but only if you are less than 50 percent at fault. With pure comparative negligence, you are compensated for whatever percentage isn’t your fault.

Consideration for compensation

To determine how much compensation will be awarded to a victim, the judge will consider certain factors. These include:

  • Witness statements and police reports
  • How quickly your received medical attention and details of that
  • Photographs of the accident
  • If you or the defendant had DUI/DWI or other citations

What you say after the accident can also affect the outcome of your case. It is best to only speak with your attorney about the accident until the case is settled. Insurance companies will try and twist the situation to pay as little as they have to.

What you should do

There are things you can do to help secure your accident case. Take notes and photographs of anything related to the accident. Get medical and police reports, and contact witnesses to get their interpretation.


What you do after your accident could affect the outcome of your case. It’s best to speak with a Los Angeles car accident attorney experienced in personal injury before you proceed.

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