Damages in a personal injury case refer to the financial awards available for injuries and related losses. An injury claim in Texas can involve both past and future damages. Future damages may be available in a case where a defendant’s wrongdoing will have long-term ramifications on the victim. An accident can give a victim an injury that lasts weeks, months or even years. Some injuries are permanent. If you believe you have grounds to demand future damages for your personal injury, learn how to accurately calculate this type of award.
First, understand which damages are available for your personal injury. This will allow you to seek fair and full compensation for all of your losses. The main category of damages is compensatory. This type of award serves to reimburse you for your losses and expenses after a preventable accident. Compensatory damages aim to make you whole again.
The other category of damages is punitive. A punitive damage award serves to punish the defendant for egregious acts, such as gross negligence, rather than to make the victim whole again. Punitive damages may be available if your lawyer can prove that the defendant was especially negligent, wanton, malicious, intentional or reckless in causing your injuries.
Calculating past damages is relatively simple. You and your lawyer can use evidence such as medical documents, bills and receipts to add up all of the economic damages associated with your accident. This may include hospital bills and property repair estimates from mechanics. Then, your lawyer will calculate noneconomic damages by looking at how significantly the injury impacted your personal life and wellbeing. The value of your past and current damages will depend on the severity of your injury, your income, the defendant and many other factors.
Future damages are more difficult to calculate. Future damages refer to the foreseeable losses an injury will give you throughout your lifetime. As they have not yet occurred, you will not have bills or receipts to use for your calculations. If your accident or injury creates a reasonable apprehension of future losses, you can file a claim for these damages during your injury case. You may need a personal injury lawyer to help you accurately estimate future damages. Otherwise, you may accept less than your injury is worth from an insurance company.
Calculating future damages takes a combination of adding up your past damages and predicting how much your injury will cost in the future. Your lawyer can hire expert witnesses to help you establish future damages, such as a health care professional. If you have a permanent spinal cord injury, for example, a medical expert can testify that you will have to spend a certain amount in future medical care, physical therapy, medications and mobility-assistive devices. Your lawyer can also use your previous working wage to estimate the lifetime costs of a permanent disability in lost wages and lost capacity to earn.
If someone else’s negligence compromised your future, it is critical to accurately calculate your future damages. While no amount of money can make up for a significant trauma, a fair award for your past and future losses can give you peace of mind during a difficult time. Future damages are especially important if you have a significant injury that will impact you for life. A personal injury lawyer in Texas can help you estimate your future damages and demand a fair amount from an insurance company. Do not accept less than your case deserves. Work with a lawyer for maximum financial compensation for future damages.