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What Are Future Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

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January 28, 2022
Legally Reviewed By Rand Spear, Esq.

WHAT ARE FUTURE DAMAGES IN A PERSONAL INJURY CASE?

A personal injury accident may adversely affect the injured party’s life. Some of the negative effects from an injury accident may include hospital visits, inability to work, or pain and suffering. In filing a personal injury lawsuit, the injury victim’s goal is to receive fair compensation for the damages suffered. Damage payments make an injury victim “whole” by minimizing the negative impacts caused by a personal injury accident.

From a legal standpoint, damages not only include costs and expenses incurred immediately after the accident, such as hospital bills, but long-term damages as well. Future damages is the legal term for long-term damages. Some examples include upcoming lost wages for future work missed or ongoing rehabilitation following the immediate treatment. Due to the foresight and estimation involved, future damage calculations is hard an involved process. In proposing compensation for future damages, opinions of qualified experts may support that case.

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WHAT KINDS OF ACCIDENTS CAN CAUSE FUTURE DAMAGES?

There are numerous categories of personal injury accidents. The extent of the damages suffered depends on the accident severity. The more devastating the accident, the greater chance the injury victim will suffer future damages. Sometimes, what starts out as a minor injury can become long lasting permanent injuries. That is why it is best to promptly speak with an accident lawyer after any accident. The most common accident categories that can cause future damages include: 

  • Car accidentsThese injuries can range from minor to fatal, but severe auto accidents can cause future wage loss, lingering pain and suffering, or ongoing rehabilitation.
  • Slip and fall When public places do not uphold their responsibility to keep their property safe, this shortcoming may lead to falls and other injuries. Some falls can cause broken bones, which can leave the injured party unable to work.
  • Defective products If the manufacturing or design of a product is unsafe, it can lead to severe injury on an unsuspecting customer. A defective product may start a fire or cut the customer, which may cause serious injuries. Future damages are more probable with serious injuries.

HOW ARE FUTURE DAMAGES CALCULATED?

In order to calculate future damages, there is an initial question that needs to be answered… What future damages can you collect? The answer to this question can be broken down into three categories: future income loss, future medical expenses, and future pain and suffering. The list below presents the three future damage categories.

  • Future Income Loss: This damage category is considered when a personal injury accident leads to serious injuries, such as a car accident. Future lost wages or future income loss is awarded when an injury victim is unable to work for an extended period of time in the future due to their accident injuries. Calculation of future income loss is taking the difference between your earnings capacity prior to the accident and your future earnings capacity after the accident. This calculation ensures the accident does not negatively impact future wages, leading to a future of financial hardship.
  • Future Medical Expenses: Any future medical expenses connected to the accident injuries is included in the future medical expenses category. These medical expenses must be a reasonable. The list below includes examples of other future medical expenses.

    • Hospital stays
    • Doctor exams
    • Surgery
    • Diagnostic testing
    • Medications
    • Rehabilitation or physical therapy
    • Additional medical equipment
    • Long term medical care

According to FindLaw, an expert witness, such as a doctor, is necessary to prove prospective healthcare needs. Usually, a medical expert must testify about the injury and typical treatment.

  • Future Pain and Suffering: Terrible injuries can be sustained in a serious auto accident, work accident, or slip and fall accident. These injuries could cause negative long term effects. The accident victim may have injuries that cause chronic pain for an extended time period following the accident. Some injuries may stop the accident victim from participating in activities that they loved, leading to depression. Each of these examples would be classified under the category of future pain and suffering.

    Some future pain and suffering are straightforward to calculate. For physical pain and suffering, medical records and physician estimates provide a solid starting point to calculate. Other future pain and suffering are more open ended. Generally proving pain and suffering warrants a specific calculation and is difficult, which opposing parties will argue against.

THE IMPORTANCE OF FUTURE DAMAGES IN PERSONAL INJURY CASES

Serious personal injury accidents may cause injuries and challenges that could stretch on for years following the accident. Someone in a personal injury accident could suffer permanent disability. The impact can lead to future income loss, future costs, and/or future pain and suffering. A personal injury attorney needs to factor future damages into a settlement. It is the lawyer’s job to make the accident victim whole by getting all the deserved compensation.

TAKE CARE OF FUTURE DAMAGES WITH A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY

If a personal injury accident negatively impacted your future, it is important to speak with a personal injury attorney! Experienced lawyers, like our legal team at Spear Greenfield, can identify and calculate a complete list of future damages. They can also prove the necessity of receiving this compensation.

With over 200 years of combined experience, our personal injury attorneys have seen serious injuries from an accident. These injuries have caused permanent disability or years of medical treatments for those clients. Due to our legal team’s own experience with serious injury clients, we understand the importance of fighting for future damages! Call attorney Rand Spear of the law firm Spear Greenfield today for a free consultation for your personal injury accident.

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