Calculating damages for a personal injury can be complicated. An initial stage of a personal injury claim involves a personal injury lawyer evaluating whether the injured person can recover damages. A permanent injury that results in the loss of work earnings is more likely to result in significant damages than a case where a person does not suffer from a permanent injury or significant financial loss. Permanent injuries often include catastrophic injuries like brain damage, burn injuries, and spinal cord injuries.
To help evaluate potential damages, a personal injury lawyer will want to know about how the injury has affected the injured person’s life. For instance, how much money has been spent on medical care? Was the medical treatment covered by the injured person’s insurance company? How much time from work has been lost? Can the injured person return to work? Were there missed family, social, and educational experiences? What is the prognosis for the injury? It is also important for the personal injury lawyer to know whether the injured person bears any fault in the accident, since this may reduce a personal injury damage award.
What Kind of Personal Injury Damages are Recoverable
A personal injury victim may receive compensation for all damages, including past, present, and prospective. General and special damages may be available. Special damages compensate for medical expenses and lost earnings, while general damages compensate for nonmonetary loss like pain and suffering. Medical expenses include compensation for past, present, and future medical care and compensation for lost earnings include past, present, and future loss of earning capacity. Special damages are easier to quantify because there is typically a record of these costs, but calculating general damages can be more difficult. Sometimes the special damage award may help generate the calculation for general damages.
Many personal injury cases involving catastrophic injuries result in the creation of a life care plan. Life care plans provide financially for an injured person’s future needs. Life care planning experts assist in determining an economic damage award. Oftentimes, the cost of future medical care is the largest part of personal injury damages. Experts will consult with physicians and review the past medical care to help determine future medical needs. Economists use the information to determine the cost of the life care plan.
If you would like to learn about whether you have a personal injury case or if you have questions regarding your legal rights, please contact us.
October 14, 2015