Who Can Be Compensated and for What?
One question that ultimately arises when someone is injured in a car accident is who is entitled to recover and for what.
A. Injured Party or Legal Guardian on Behalf of Injured Party:
It goes with out saying that the injured party is entitled to recover for his injuries, but to what extent? In the event that the injured party is a minor or otherwise incompetent, the parent, legally appointed conservator or guardian may also bring an action on behalf of the injured person. The injured person may be entitled to be compensated for the following:
1. Medical Expenses – past and future;
2. Lost Wages – wages you would have received if not having to take time off of work due to your injuries;
3. Pain and Suffering – past and future;
4. Loss of Function – loss of use of your injured body parts;
5. Permanent Scarring and Disfigurement; and
6. Loss of Future Earning Capacity
In the unfortunate event that a person is killed as a result of a car or auto accident, the Estate or Next of Kin may bring a legal action against the responsible party on behalf of the deceased for:
1. Medical expenses incurred prior to passing;
2. Pain and suffering prior to passing if death is not instantaneous;
3. Present Worth of Estate – present value of the additional amounts that the deceased individual could reasonably be expected to have accumulated as a result of his own effort if he/she had lived out the term of his/her natural life; and
4. Burial Expenses
C. Spouse and Child Compensation – Loss of Consortium:
Often times when a person is injured in any type of accident, their personal lives suffer and considerable strain is put on their spouse and children. Because of this, Iowa allows for the spouse and children of an injured individual to recover what is referred to as “consortium.”
Spousal Consortium: Spousal consortium refers to the services and benefits of a marital companion. This includes benefit of company, assistance and affection and generally the good things about marriage. This includes things like having to take on additional tasks around the house, not being able to go on trips or engage in other activities normally done as a couple, decreased intimacy, or even those quit peaceful evenings talking over a nice dinner that can no longer occur because of the injuries. Spousal consortium is designed to compensate the uninjured spouse for the additional challenges arising from assisting and residing with the uninjured spouse.
Children: Much like spousal consortium, parental consortium is permitted to compensate the children of the injured party for the loss of services of the parent. This encompasses the benefits of a healthy parent/child relationship including guidance, love, comfort, security and so on. It is not limited to only minor children. Even adult children may recover under this theory if the factual basis is met. Likewise, if it is a child that is injured, parents are entitled to recover loss of consortium. Parents may also recover for the loss of the services of their adult children.
In certain limited situations, a bystander may recover damages for emotional distress incurred as a result of being physically present and observing the accident occur. In these situations, the bystander must be exposed to the danger and must suffer emotional distress consistent with what would be reasonably expected by the danger caused by the offending party. This recovery ordinarily requires that the recovering individual be closely related to the injured party.
See also Subrogation.
Personal Injury Lawyers
If you have been injured in a car accident, whether it is the result of someone else's negligence, recklessness or disregard for you or your family's safety, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with your rights, fault and no-fault insurance, teen or unlicensed drivers, and benefits available to you for medical care, surgery, periods of unemployment, medical leave, emergency room care and long term care or rehabilitation.