How Are Damages Calculated for a Catastrophic Injury?
Calculating damages for a catastrophic injury is a nuanced process that often involves the consideration of the nature and severity of the injury, the extent of medical treatment required, and the impact of the injury on the victim’s life. This process is often most aptly completed by an experienced legal team with full knowledge of your unique circumstances.
What Are Catastrophic Injuries?
Catastrophic injuries are those that typically result in long-term or permanent disability.
These may include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, severe burns, amputations, or significant bone fractures. These types of injuries profoundly impact the victim’s physical, emotional, and financial well-being, and may require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing care.
Let’s take a more detailed look at what goes into consideration when determining the appropriate damages amount for catastrophic injuries:
- Medical expenses: The cost of medical treatment, including hospitalization, surgery, medication, and ongoing care, is often the most significant factor in calculating damages for a catastrophic injury. Depending on the type of physical injury, both past and future medical expenses, as well as any costs associated with assistive devices or modifications to the victim’s home or vehicle, can be considered.
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- Lost income: Catastrophic injuries may result in long-term or permanent disability, which can prevent the victim from working or earning a living. Calculating damages for lost income necessitates looking at past and future earnings, as well as any loss of earning capacity that may result from the injury.
- Pain and suffering: Physical pain and emotional distress may be factored into the calculation of damages as compensable injury. A lawyer will consider the victim’s subjective level of pain and suffering, the impact of the injury on their daily life and relationships, and any psychological or emotional trauma resulting from the injury.
- Punitive damages: In certain exceptional circumstances, punitive damages may be awarded in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for particularly egregious conduct and may be awarded if the defendant’s actions were willful, malicious, or grossly negligent.
- Permanency of the injury: If the injuries suffered are significant enough, they can impact the life and livelihood of the injured person for the rest of their life. In these circumstances, additional damages may be considered for permanent loss of the ability to work, exercise, or any other basic life function.
- Impact: Injuries suffered in a catastrophic accident affect everyone differently. One person might experience severe symptoms related to the same injury that another person would only be minorly impacted by. For this reason, a good, experienced attorney will learn the facts of your case and tailor your recovery to your specific needs.
For many catastrophic injuries, it is often necessary to retain an expert witness to give their opinion on the damages suffered.
Experts are able to state, to a degree a medical certainty, how specific injuries will affect a person’s life and what the long-term consequences of those injuries will be. Obtaining a report from this expert pays dividends when forcing the other side to pay what is owed.
Reach Out for Help Calculating Damages for a Catastrophic Injury
Overall, calculating damages for a catastrophic injury is a delicate matter of weighing multiple factors that are best understood by a team of professionals who understand the facts of your case and your needs. Working with the experienced personal injury attorneys at Charles E. Boyk Law Offices can help assess the full scope of the damages you suffered and to negotiate a fair and just settlement or award that takes into account the long-term impact of your injuries. Call today.