Calculating the damages or injuries caused by another person’s negligence can sometimes be a complicated task. While medical bills and other types of necessary costs may be recoverable, a victim who has suffered long lasting damage may have future costs that would outweigh any settlement that was based solely on past costs.
Fortunately, a person who is injured by the negligence of another person can recover the estimated amount of future costs. This article will explore what types of future costs are recoverable and how such costs are typically determined.
What are Future Costs?
Future costs are the estimated cost of the medical care and treatment a person would need in order to be placed back into the state he was in before the accident.personal injury case, and can range from temporary to permanent injuries. The following is a small list of injuries that may come with future costs.
1. Dismemberment and disfigurement: Injured persons who incur dismemberment and/or disfigurement in a personal injury often have to live with that injury for the rest of their life. In many cases, there may not even be a way to restore the person back to his original state before the accident occurred. Examples of dismemberment and disfigurement include loss of limbs or appendages, scars, or anything that permanently alters a person’s physical appearance.
2. Loss of consortium: This form of future cost can be a bit tougher to work with, but generally it comes down to a loss of intimacy resulting from an injury. Personal injuries can heavily impact a marital relationship, and can cause strain on everyday family life. It is these types of strains on the family that loss of consortium seeks to address. It should be noted that this claim is generally available only to the spouse or family member of the injured person, but it can have some impact on settlement amounts.
3. Enjoyment of life: An injury can affect more than just physical well-being. It can also disrupt a person’s daily life, and can make it tough to enjoy life as she once did. For example, a broken arm would prevent someone from working on her automobile, swimming, or engaging in any other recreational activity she might have.
4. Ongoing Medical Expenses: Naturally, the medical expenses incurred from an accident don’t stop as soon as a case is settled. There could be months, or even years of necessary medical expenses resulting from personal injury, depending on the severity of the injury. Regular doctor visits and necessary physical therapy can cause even more financial issues for an injured person. In addition to all of this, an injured person might need to hire additional help to ensure that he is adequately cared for at home.
5. Pain, Suffering, and Anguish: Damage doesn’t just have to be physical or monetary, it can also be mental or emotional. What makes this even more difficult is that, while physical damages are easy to record or document, mental damages are harder to accurately pin down or predict. Some types of pain, suffering, and anguish include emotional distress, anxiety, or chronic pain resulting from an injury.
Once a person has an idea of what injuries or damages they sustained in an injury, the next step is to determine the treatment necessary to care for any injuries that are directly related to the accident. Things that you should take into consideration include:
- Pharmaceuticals needed during treatment
- Fees for professional care and rehabilitation of the injured person
- Special medical equipment used to assist in the performance of daily activities
- Hotel, transportation and housing costs
- Expenses related to lifestyle changes resulting from the injury
An important thing to keep in mind is that, in the law, facts matter. When determining what kind of medications a person might need, it is also vital to ensure that they are necessary. Not all injuries are the same, and not all injuries would necessitate the same treatment. For example, a person with scarring or burns resulting from the accident might need less at-home care than a person who is disabled. The type of injury, and how it affects the victim’s daily life, can have a large effect on what kind of treatment is truly necessary. Generally, a court will only allow compensation for necessary future costs.
How Much Time?
One important thing to consider when determining how much a future cost is worth is how long it will last. Is the injury permanent or temporary? Generally, this calculation extends either to the victim’s death, or the point in time when the victim is expected to make a full recovery, whichever happens first. As seen above, the particular facts of a case can change the outcome of this consideration drastically. In addition, personal factors such as preexisting conditions may lengthen an otherwise short recovery time. These calculations are made based on the assumption that the victim will do everything in his power to recover from the injury.
Use of Experts
Finally, future costs can be determined through the use of experts, such as medical professionals. Experts have in-depth knowledge that allows them to analyze the extent of an injury, and what a projected treatment routine might look like. An educated expert witness can establish these facts with a fair amount of credibility, and can even help you identify potential future costs you might not have considered before.
It is important to note that, in addition to medical experts, there is no substitute for competent legal advice if you are injured by the negligence of another person. If you, or someone you love, have been injured by the negligence of another person, you should seek legal assistance as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the ins and outs of your case, and can help determine how much your future costs might be worth.