When you sue the person whose negligent or wrongful acts caused the accident in which you sustained personal injuries, you can collect money damages for both your economic and noneconomic losses if you win your lawsuit.
Your economic losses consist of your out-of-pocket expenses associated with your injuries, such as the following:
- Ambulance or life flight transport
- Emergency room assessment
- Diagnostic tests
- Hospital and surgical treatments and procedures
- Rehabilitation therapies
- Prescription drugs
- Follow-up doctor and physical therapy appointments
- Any medical equipment your injuries dictate, including a wheelchair, crutches, walker, prosthesis, etc.
- In-home care and equipment
You need to keep the bills you receive for all of the above because these bills serve as proof of economic loss to the judge and jury when your case goes to trial.
Future Medical Expenses
Your economic losses likewise include reasonable estimates of the type and cost of ongoing medical treatment you likely will incur in the future based on the nature and severity of your injuries. Your attorney can help you compile these estimates, and your expert witnesses can testify their necessity at trial.
Loss of Income
Finally, your economic losses also include any loss of income you experience, both now and in the future, because of your injuries. Again, your attorney and expert witnesses will be crucial in helping the jury understand how your injuries caused and will cause this decrease in your earning capacity.
Importance of Excellent Records
The better and more detailed your medical and employment records are, the easier it is for the judge and jury to place dollar figures on your true economic losses, both now and in the future. In addition, these records serve as the basis for your expert witnesses’ testimony. The jury must find these witnesses credible, meaning that their testimony must be understandable and believable.
Comparative or Contributory Negligence
Keep in mind that if you live in a comparative or contributory negligence state, the judge and jury will need to determine if your own negligence played a part in causing the accident in which you sustained injuries. If they find that it did, they will then need to assign a percentage figure to it and reduce your overall jury award by that percentage.
For instance, if the judge and jury determine that your overall damages, both economic and noneconomic, amount to $100,000, but they also determine that your own negligence was 30% responsible for the accident, they will reduce your award by $30,000, leaving you with a $70,000 award. Consequently, you need an experienced lawyer, to strenuously argue against any comparative or contributory negligence evidence the defendant’s attorney may seek to introduce.