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On behalf of Heller & Heller, P.A. posted in blog on Saturday, July 29, 2017.

After a car accident, you have a lot to deal with. You need to get treatment for your injuries, figure out if you can return to work and handle insurance paperwork. At this time, you may get insurance representatives calling you trying to arrange a settlement. Why not just take their offer instead of continuing with a potentially complicated case?

Understanding the types of damages you may be legally entitled to can show you why an early settlement offer is unlikely to represent a fair or accurate assessment.

Monetary losses

Economic losses represent the majority share of most monetary awards. These are past and future expenses you incur as a result of the accident. In this category, you might include paying for medical care, replacing or repairing your car, renting a car and paying for services to help you perform tasks you can no longer do due to your injuries. These damages also include lost earnings and any reduction in your future earning capacity. Thus, you may lose money by having to miss work or reduce your hours. Some injuries may be severe enough to prevent you from working completely.

Pain and suffering

Getting injured in a car accident means losing more than just money. If you were injured, you may end up enduring long-term physical pain. You may also develop psychological conditions such as PTSD or anxiety. If you suffer impairment of physical functions, you may also experience emotional harm. These damages can be harder to add up and translate into dollar amounts, but they do represent real harm and deserve compensation.

Punitive damages

In some rarer types of accidents, plaintiffs may also recover punitive damages. Unlike other kinds of damages, which compensate accident victims for the harm they suffer, punitive damages aim to punish and deter outstandingly bad conduct. Mere negligence or carelessness does not rise to this level. Florida law requires the defendant’s actions to fall into the realm of intentional or reckless conduct.