Medical Bills & Economic Damages – Future Damages
Medical Damages are:
- your medical bills incurred in the accident which arise from the negligence of the other person
- any future medical bills you may have
For example, the doctor says that at some point in the future, it is reasonably certain that you will need an operation, but you will not need the operation for 5 years. As long as the doctor testifies that within reasonable medical probability, you will need that operation, then all of the costs associated with that operation are part of the damages you can sue for in your current case.
Economic Damages – Loss of Earnings Or Earning Capacity, Present & Future Damages
The person who negligently caused your injury is liable for your current or future loss of earnings or earning capacity. Earnings include actual earnings, benefits and retirement plans. Current loss of earnings are earnings you have lost from the date of the accident to the date of trial. If the doctor says you will not be able to work in the future, or you can only work less hours than before, you can recover loss of future earnings.
An example of loss of earning capacity would be if you were an excellent student taking premedical classes and the injury caused you to be unable to become a doctor in the future, you would lose earning capacity which is also compensable.
Emotional Distress: Pain & Suffering
Another category of damages would be emotional distress and pain and suffering. No expert needs to testify as to your pain and suffering. Your friends and relatives usually are good witnesses as to your emotional distress, pain, and suffering. Pain and suffering as well as emotional distress are presented through the evidence such as:
- your describing the things you used to be able to do but can no longer do
- the type of pain you go through every day because of the injury
The doctor may testify that your condition is:
- permanent and stationary
- that you will continue to have emotional distress in the future based upon your inability to do things you used to do
- that you will continue to have emotional distress based upon your not being able to enjoy life as well as you used to
- for diminished life expectancy; that is, because of the injury, you probably will not live as long as you would have under normal circumstances.
These are all compensable damages under mental suffering and emotional distress.
Loss of Life and Negligence & Damages
If there is an accident and the other party is negligent, but instead of injury there is a death, the issue of damages changes substantially.
- A deceased person or the deceased person’s estate cannot sue for pain and suffering, either past or future.
- The estate can sue for the past expenses incurred, such as the burial expenses, the medical expenses incurred up to the date of the death caused by the accident.
Loss of Life – Survivors Loss of Support
To the main party to the lawsuit, the survivors of the decedent, i.e., spouse and children, the loss of support would be one of the elements of damages based upon the survivor action.
- If the decedent was supporting or contributing to the support of the spouse and the children, the spouse and children can sue for that loss of support.
- The spouse and children can also sue for loss of companionship.
Loss of Life – Survivors Loss of Companionship
Although there can not be a lawsuit for pain and suffering, there can be a lawsuit for the loss of companionship of the decedent. The surviving heirs would testify as to the nature and extent of the relationship between the decedent and the survivors. The jury would decide the value of that relationship as far as monetary compensation is concerned.
For further information see the related topics: