Catastrophic injuries often cause permanent disability and leave victims unable to work and do things they used to love. Determining future losses after a catastrophic injury can be challenging. Knowing the factors your personal injury lawyer takes into account when calculating these losses can give you peace of mind and help you better understand the long-term impact an injury can have on your life.
What Is A Catastrophic Injury?
A catastrophic injury is an injury so severe that it leaves a victim with permanent damage. Spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and amputations are examples of catastrophic injuries, and can have significant long-term effects on a person’s ability to function. In fact, any debilitating injury that takes away someone’s mobility, cognitive function, or leads to disfigurement has a serious impact on the whole family’s quality of life. Although no amount of money can change what happened, victims of catastrophic injury caused by negligence need—and deserve—full and fair compensation to help them get the ongoing care they need and maintain financial security.
How Are Future Losses Calculated?
Many catastrophic injuries require costly ongoing medical treatment and therapy. In addition to affecting an injured victim’s physical health, these types of injuries affect their relationships, social life, mental health, ability to make a living, and myriad aspects of daily life. A good accident injury lawyer will know what factors to consider and how to determine the long-term financial, physical, and emotional costs of your injury.
Some factors that are usually considered when valuing a catastrophic injury claim include: Tangible future costs. Personal injury lawyers consult with medical professionals, therapists, forensic accountants, and others who specialize in catastrophic injuries to estimate the total monetary costs of an injury. This may include future medical bills, nursing care, medications, therapy, additional necessary treatment, home modifications, and loss of future income and earning capacity.
Putting a dollar amount on damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship is more challenging, as these are intangible losses. Depending on the severity of your injuries, how they have affected your life, and the circumstances surrounding your specific case, your lawyer may determine that these damages are worth from 2-to-5 times the amount of tangible future economic damages like medical bills and wage loss. This is a general rule of thumb that varies from claim to claim.
Looking At The Big Picture
Some other factors that have an impact on future losses include your age, education, occupation, medical history, where your claim is litigated, and whether multiple parties are liable for damages. Of course, insurance policy limits also play a part when determining how much an injured victim may be entitled to recover for future losses. If the negligent party who is responsible for your injury acted in a particularly reckless or malicious manner, your lawyer may seek punitive damages as well. If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury, it is also a good idea to speak with an estate planning attorney who can help you draft vital documents such as powers of attorney, an advance directive, and a will.
What Are Mitigated Damages?
One of the reasons it is so important to get proper medical care after an accident is that insurance companies will try to offer lower settlement amounts if they believe you failed to mitigate injury-related damages. Going to the emergency room and following-up with recommended treatment after a car accident, slip and fall, or any other type of accident can help protect your rights and give you a better chance of recovering maximum compensation to get the care you need and move on with your life.
If you need assistance with a claim involving catastrophic injury, contact a personal injury attorney today.