How Future Damages Are Calculated
When a person is injured in a car accident in Colorado, it is typically very difficult for them to think past today’s medical appointment, the wages they are losing now because they are unable to return to work, and the pain they are currently feeling.
But personal injury damages are more than just immediate losses, particularly if the injuries are permanent and likely will affect an injured person for the rest of their life. These injuries can necessitate an award for what is known as prospective, or future damages.
Future Damages Are Vital Part of Many Claims
In a personal injury accident, damages are the monetary compensation an injured party receives for the harm they suffered. There are several broad categories of damages: past, present, and future expenses. Past and current expenses are those that were incurred immediately after the accident up to the present time and are relatively easy to determine. They commonly include:
- Bills for medical care, rehabilitation, and physical therapy
- Prescription costs
- Medical equipment expenses
- Lost wages
- Emotional trauma
Future economic damages are injury-related costs that an injured party might still be paying decades after the accident occurred, such as:
- Bills for ongoing medical treatment, such as rehabilitation and therapy, hospital bills, costs of future surgeries, ongoing prescription medications, medical equipment such as walkers and wheelchairs, and necessary modifications to the home, including ramps and widened hallways.
- Lost or diminished earning capacity, which is not based on the injured person’s current income, but instead their ability to earn a living for the remainder of their life. The purpose of compensation for loss of earning capacity is to ensure that the person will not suffer financially as a result of their injury.
- Pain and suffering, based on the length of the injured person’s recovery time, depression and/or mental distress, presence and degree of chronic pain, and the loss of enjoyment of life due to a permanent or long-term injury that the party may never fully recover from.
Future expenses are not nearly as easy to establish and proving them usually requires assistance from a personal injury attorney and one or more experts. When someone suffers a severe injury, they may have years of medical treatment and recovery ahead of them, which is why future damages are a critical part of an accident claim and can increase a settlement by hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
How Future Damages Are Calculated
Since it is all but impossible to predict the future, in order to claim future damages, the injured party will usually need to do more than merely allege that they will suffer from these damages. In addition, they will be required to provide evidence that will show the approximate amount of damages that will be sustained in the future, bolstered by testimony from an expert in the particular field in question.
Those who have sustained serious injuries and may be entitled to future damages need to heal physically and emotionally, and leave the damage calculations to their injury attorney, who will collect evidence, advocate on their behalf, and settle the claim for the maximum compensation possible, with the help of doctors, economists, accountants, and other experts.
If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident and need expert help calculating your damages, contact Colorado personal injury attorney Dan Rosen for a free consultation.