Many accident victims may suffer permanent injuries that affect the rest of their lives. Victims may need to continue seeing doctors for treatment of their injuries long after their claim has been settled. They may also suffer loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering and other types of non-economic damages.
These types of damages, known as future damages, are compensable in a personal injury claim. To recover these types of damages, you must prove you are likely to suffer these damages in the future. You also need to provide proof of the value of these damages.
It is vital to hire an experienced attorney who knows how to place a value on future damages and other damages victims may have suffered. Attorneys can bring in experts to explain the long-term effects of an injury and speak to the value of your damages.
Call our Appleton personal injury lawyers today. The consultation is free and there are no upfront fees.
Call (920) 260-4528 today.
What Are Future Damages?
When an accident victim suffers a serious injury, he or she is not likely to recover before the close of the case. Therefore, the victim’s attorney must pursue compensation for future expenses he or she is likely to accumulate after the legal process concludes. This includes things like:
Loss of Earning Capacity
Injured victims often lose wages while they are recovering from their injuries because they miss time at work. However, accident victims who suffer a life-changing injury may also experience loss of earning capacity.
The loss of earning capacity is the loss of the victim’s ability to work in the same way he or she did before the accident. For example, if the victim is unable to ever work again or be forced to take on different employment due to his or her injuries. A loss of earning capacity claim may be worth more if the victim is forced to take a pay cut by working fewer hours or working in a less lucrative career.
Future damages for lost earnings may also include any pay raises, bonuses or commission pay the accident victim would have been expected to receive if the injury had never occurred.
Most accident victims have medical expenses. However, for some people, medical expenses do not end after the claim is settled. This is especially true if you suffer a permanent injury, like a spinal cord injury or brain injury.
Future medical costs may include things like rehabilitative care to regain mobility or ease chronic pain. If the victim requires medical equipment, the costs of replacing that equipment in the future should also be considered.
Pain and Suffering
If the accident victim’s injuries are permanent, there can be consideration for the value of future pain and suffering damages. This includes any physical pain or emotional suffering caused by the injuries.
Other Non-Economic Damages
Injury victims may also struggle with damages like lost enjoyment of life or lost companionship. Lost enjoyment of life refers to the psychological toll of not being able to take part in the activities you once enjoyed. For example, you might be unable to play a sport you enjoyed playing because of your injury. Lost companionship refers to how your injury affects your relationship with your spouse.
While these damages affect you soon after the injury, they could impact your life long after your claim has concluded.
What Factors Determine the Value of Future Damages?
When assessing the value of future damages, there are several factors to consider. This includes the following:
How old was the person when he or she suffered the injury? A young person may heal more quickly from an injury, but the effects of a permanent injury would have a greater impact for a longer period due to the person’s young age.
Older individuals may experience more severe symptoms from minor injuries. Even if they may experience their pain and other symptoms for less time than that of a younger person.
Was the individual active in sports? At the gym? Or was his or her job more physically demanding?
An accident victim whose active lifestyle is significantly limited by an injury may experience depression or lost enjoyment of life.
The number of hours the individual worked before the accident is also important. For example, a person working a full-time job is likely to experience a greater amount of lost earnings than a part-time or contract worker.
This may tie into age, but it mostly concerns the life expectancy prognostication given to an accident victim. If his or her injuries have a low survival rate, this should also be considered for future damages suffered by the family.
If the injury victim is the head of household and is the primary income earner, the person’s family may be impacted by the loss of earnings in the future.
Can Expert Testimony Help Prove the Value of Future Damages?
When it comes to proving the value of future damages, there is a lot of estimation since no one can predict the future. However, experts may be brought in to help get a better understanding of what those future costs look like.
Economic experts can help determine how much an accident victim may lose in earnings. While a medical expert may testify about expected healthcare costs in the future.
Call an Experienced Attorney Today
If your injuries take longer to heal than the settling of your claim, or they will cause a permanent disability, you should strongly consider the value of your future damages before accepting an offer from the insurance company.
Our attorneys are prepared to evaluate those damages to determine the true value of your claim. Since we work on contingency, we cover all upfront costs, and you only pay us when we recover compensation for you. There is no risk to you.
Call (920) 260-4528 to schedule a free legal consultation.