Along with the pain, trauma and disabilities that serious car accidents can cause, there are the bills. Emergency surgery, medical checkups and physical therapy are not cheap. Neither are auto repairs. Meanwhile, you are trying to find a way to pay these debts while you are laid up from work and not earning an income.

If the motor vehicle accident you were caught in was someone else’s fault, the responsible party could be the one who pays these bills, either directly or through their auto insurance. A personal injury lawsuit can make this happen. But before you enter into the litigation process, you probably want to know how much you can expect to get in compensation.

The amount of compensation you are entitled to depends on the extent of your particular injuries and details of your life. In general, under Michigan law, there are two types of personal injury damages: economic damages and noneconomic damages.

Economic damages

Essentially, economic damages include everything that comes with a bill. Things like your medical expenses and the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle can be economic damages. So can any wages you were unable to earn because you wereNOn in the hospital or home recovering from your injuries. And if you have a disability that will diminish or eliminate your future earning power, you can recover damages for that, based on your past earnings, as well as your age, education, former job and life expectancy.

Noneconomic damages

Noneconomic damages are just as real as economic ones, but putting a dollar figure on them can be more complicated. Examples include pain and suffering and loss of consortium. The latter term refers to injuries that make it impossible to have sexual relations with your spouse or otherwise show affection. In wrongful death cases, the deceased’s surviving family members may claim loss of society and loss of companionship damages.

Besides the level of damages you have suffered, the defendant’s ability to pay is also a factor. The driver who hit you might not have auto insurance. Or their insurance might not cover the full extent of your damages. This can complicate things, but you are not necessarily stuck paying for the other driver’s negligence yourself. Your personal injury attorney can explain your options.