When someone is injured due to negligence or an intentional act, the injured person may be able to claim compensation from the party or parties who are responsible for the injury. For hundreds of years, this has been one of the bedrock principles of our civil justice system.
But what types of damages can the injured person claim? In this blog post, we will list the different types of compensation that are possible. We will also briefly discuss some of the factors that must be considered when assessing the amount of damages to demand in a personal injury lawsuit.
Let's consider a case in which a person suffers severe injuries caused by a defective product. Generally speaking, the injured person could seek compensation for:
Medical costs - These could include costs for emergency care and initial trauma treatment, hospital costs, physician costs, painkillers and other drugs, and all other costs for past and future medical treatment directly arising from the injury.
Rehabilitation costs - Depending on the nature of the injury, these could include physical therapy, chiropractic care, speech therapy (needed after a brain injury), etc. Vocational retraining costs, if the injury prevents the injured person from resuming his or her occupation.
Psychological counseling - A severe injury such as an amputation, burns, or disfiguration can cause severe emotional distress. If the injured person needs care and counseling from a mental health professional, the lawsuit could include a demand for those costs, as well as costs for anti-depressants or other mental health medications.
Transportation costs - To and from doctors, therapists and other medical providers.
Lost income - When an injury prevents someone from working or limits their ability to work, the injured person can claim compensation for past and future lost income. Personal injury attorneys often retain the services of an economist or vocational specialist to help them determine the accurate value of lost future income, adjusted for inflation.
Pain and suffering - An injured person may be able to claim compensation for physical pain and emotional suffering. The damages demand could include compensation for services that could help alleviate the person's emotional suffering.
A good personal injury attorney will make a thorough assessment of all economic and noneconomic losses for inclusion in a client's claim. In cases involving severe injuries, the attorney may retain the services of a life care planner. When creating a life care plan, this medical professional will interview the injured person and injured person's family, medical providers and other parties to determine all of the injured person's needs for the rest of his or her life. The life care planner can help identify medical and personal service needs that otherwise might be overlooked. For example, in a case involving a paralyzing spine injury, the life care plan may specify to need for alterations to the injured person's home that can accommodate the disability, or perhaps for a wheelchair-compatible van.