Personal Injury Damages
Personal Injury Damages – In Natomas, as elsewhere, proving personal injury damages is essential for an injured person to collect fair compensation. One thing that different types of personal injuries have in common is that they were caused by the negligent actions of another individual or entity such as a city or county government. When this happens, the injured person is entitled to collect fair compensation to pay the bills associated with that accident. Let’s take a look at personal injury damages due to a negligent action.
A person injured in an accident involving negligence by another person or party can be compensated for the financial loss associated with such personal injury damages. The damages are called compensatory damages. There are two main types. The first type is called special or economic damages. The second is referred to as general or noneconomic damages. Let’s take an in-depth look at each.
Medical Personal Injury Damages
Economic damages are those that are easy to calculate using tabulations of the person’s medical expenses, income loss, and property damage. Medical expenses and lost time from work are economic personal injury damages and can include the following:
- Ambulance service and emergency room costs
- Hospital room fees
- Medical tests
- Surgery or other procedures
- Rehabilitation costs
- Cost of going to and from physician visits
- Future medical costs
- Private physician costs
- Costs for specialists
- Prescription medicines
- At-home services such as nursing care or other tasks that must be performed due to an injury
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Income loss includes wages, bonuses, commissions, and additions to savings accounts associated with one’s work. If an individual can no longer work at his or her job, vocational training can be included in a claim. In addition, if accident injuries caused the injured person lost earning capacity in the future, this must be factored in. For instance, if an injured party suffered a considerable injury to the upper extremities and can no longer perform intricate movements with his or her hands, a surgeon or someone who works at computer data entry may no longer perform the work for which he or she was trained. This would represent a considerable loss of future earning capacity.
Proving Wage Loss in Economic Personal Injury Damages
An employed worker can show his or her pay stubs, W-2 forms from the previous year, assuming one’s salary remains the same, verification by an employer of wages or entry into a bank account by direct deposit. If the individual is a contract worker, self-employed or owns a business, he or she could provide previous tax returns, client verification of an account, banking records or accounts receivable for a business. It is a good idea to obtain a note from a treating physician certifying that the injured party can no longer work at the job. If the person cannot work at their job in the future, this should be verified by experts and listed.
Proving Medical Expenses
As with wage loss, submitting a full accounting of all medical expenses associated with an injury is straightforward. For instance, copies of doctor bills, hospital expenses, and pharmacy costs all serve this purpose. Travel to and from medical appointments can be proved easily by receipts from Uber or taxi drivers or gas costs. Generally, it is a good idea to wait until an injury has reached its maximum point of healing before claiming compensation. In this way, all the outlying expenses will be covered. Once the settlement or verdict is given and accepted, the injured party can no longer file a claim for any expense associated with the case.
What Happens When a Plaintiff’s Health Insurance Already Paid
In many cases, a plaintiff has health insurance that pays for medical expenses resulting from treatment for accident injuries. For instance, an accident may require surgery, rehabilitation therapy, and medication. The injured party can file a claim stating that the defendant or negligent party is responsible for the costs. When the payment is made, it usually is paid directly to the health insurer to satisfy a medical lien the company filed against the lawsuit.
The pain and suffering an individual suffers in an accident is often figured using a calculation based on the economic damages. This is referred to as a noneconomic loss. This is also figured into the compensation. While economic losses are relatively easy to calculate, noneconomic losses are not. The type and seriousness of an injury are also factored in. Noneconomic damages can be calculated or decided by a jury.
Examples of Noneconomic Damages
Some examples of noneconomic damages are:
- Physical pain resulting from an injury both in the present and in the future
- Disfigurement caused by an injury
- Pain and suffering
- Reputation loss
- Inability to enjoy life
- Loss of consortium or personal relationship
- Disability following an accident
What is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering includes the following:
- Grief when a loved one dies
- The effects of a bodily injury
- Emotional distress
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Decreased lifespan
- Inability to enjoy life
- Pain in an amputated limb or phantom pain
Proving Pain and Suffering
In many cases, an expert is called upon to determine the extent of such damages. The expert may be a medical professional or a psychologist and will often use diagrams or other informational tools to help describe the seriousness of the injury. Aside from describing the mental and emotional injury the person suffered due to the accident, there are other ways to prove pain and suffering. For instance, expert witnesses can describe the way the injury has changed the person’s mental or emotional state. Family members, coworkers, and other witnesses can explain how the accident has affected the plaintiff. A personal injury lawyer will be able to place the problems before a jury if the case goes to trial by having testimony from some of these witnesses/experts.
Watch YouTube Video: How to Really Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer. The video below explains how you can choose a personal injury lawyer.
Natomas Personal Injury Lawyers
I’m Ed Smith, a Natomas personal injury lawyer. If you have been hurt in an accident, you need the help of an injury lawyer. Call me in Natomas at (916) 921-6400 or nationwide at (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. You can reach me online too.
Since 1982, I’ve helped many residents of Natomas and those in Northern California obtain the compensation they deserve in all types of car accidents, pedestrian injuries, wrongful death cases and traumatic brain injuries among others.
I belong to an organization of trial attorneys from all over the country called the Million Dollar Advocates. They have each recovered more than $1 million for a client.
If you want to know more about me and my practice, go to the following pages, and review client and peer comments and prior case resolutions:
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