What Kinds of Compensation Can I Seek After a Car Accident?

Washington uses a fault-based insurance system. While Oregon requires auto insurers to provide personal injury protection coverage, Oregon also allows car accident victims to seek fault-based compensation.

Here is some information about the kinds of compensation you can seek after a car accident in either state.

Economic Damages

Economic damages include the losses that you can measure financially. Some examples of economic damages include:

Medical Costs

Your compensation should cover your past and future medical expenses. This includes the cost of medical treatment, physical therapy, mental therapy or counseling, and medication.

Your medical bills will establish your past expenses. A letter from a doctor explaining the seriousness of your injuries and your need for future treatment can establish your future expenses.

Lost Income

You can seek compensation for any past or future income you could not earn due to your injuries. This could come from:

  • Missed work
  • Reduced hours
  • Pay difference for light-duty or desk jobs

If your injuries caused you to change jobs permanently, your compensation can include the diminishment in your earning capacity.

For example, suppose that your back injury prevents you from sitting for long periods. If you had to quit your job as a long-haul trucker and take another job at less pay to accommodate your bad back, you can claim the difference in pay.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages compensate you for the losses that you cannot measure financially. Some examples of non-economic damages include:


Physical pain can make your life miserable. It can keep you awake at night and force you to give up the activities you enjoy. It can force you to adjust your schedule around your pain medication. You cannot measure these effects financially, but you can claim compensation for them.


Mental suffering can also affect your life after a car accident. The effects of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression can cause you to quit driving, sleep constantly, and even suffer panic attacks.

The cost of treating these effects falls under your economic damages. But the effect on your quality of life falls under your non-economic damages.


Being injured in an accident causes inconvenience. You might not be able to shop, drive, or even exercise due to your injuries. Arranging to meet your daily needs can burden your life. You can seek non-economic compensation for these burdens.

Documenting Your Damages

To pursue compensation for these losses, you need documentation. Documents will establish the existence and value of your losses. Medical bills, timecards, and pay stubs can show your economic losses. Copies of prescriptions, notes from counselors or therapists, and testimony from friends and family can be used to prove your non-economic losses.

To discuss the compensation you might seek in your car accident claim, contact Harlan Law Firm for a free phone consultation.