Personal Injury Law
As Attorney Eric T. Kirk knows well working as a car accident lawyer, every injury has consequences or ramifications. For disability resulting from a car accident, it can be assumed without mentioning any related disability is highly significant to the person sustaining the personal injury, but also singular to that person. In the wake of any serious car accident, no doubt the injured person will receive medical treatment, potentially lose wages, and incur other out-of-pocket costs. Up-front expenditures typically seen in a car accident may range from rental or repair expenses for a vehicle, transportation to and from medical appointments, to alternate child care, housekeeping services. Any monetary cost or expenditure that, but for the accident would not have been incurred, may be the subject of a claim for compensation. The law refers to losses of this type, generally, as ‘”economic damage”. These are typically understood to be losses that have a real and readily identifiable dollar amount associated with them. This is to be contrasted with non-economic damage, which is compensation for the physical or emotional trauma and turmoil resulting from the personal injury causing event which, by their very nature are not subject to ready determination and do not have a fixed numerical component and corresponding value.
A common element of any economic damage claim, and indeed frequently, the most significant component is that of medical expenses. Medical expenses incurred necessarily include all expenditures which have as their primary purpose the treatment for or assistance with the ultimate recuperation from a personal injury. Examples here would be things like ambulance charges, fire department or EMT charges if separate, emergency room charges, physicians charges, radiology x-ray or MRI charges, diagnostic testing charges, physical therapy expenses, orthotics as well as medical supplies and medication.
Another very common component of any economic damage claim is the amount of wages lost due to an automobile accident. The disability involved may be total or permanent, temporary or lasting. In some instances an injured person is unable to perform their typical job responsibilities at all. In such a situation a treating doctor might prepare a disability slip stating that the person is unable to return to work for a specific period of time. Another scenario is one in which the injuries involved are limiting rather than disabling. Perhaps the injured person has a non-physically demanding position or has injuries that are not considered incapacitating for their occupation. Here the injured person might be able to return to work in some capacity, but not full duty. A person in this scenario is, of course, entitled to collect the difference between what they would have made had they been healthy and what they are currently able to make while working through their injuries. This concept is frequently referred to as “lost wages”, although the concept is much more expensive than merely a tabulation of lost wages, and can certainly encompass all forms of revenue, income, or compensation lost. In the same way that wages lost as the result of personal injury can be thought of as a complete wage loss or a partial diminution in earning capacity on a temporary basis, wage is lost can also be divided into additional categories; past wages lost and future wages lost. Past wage loss is in many respects a true mathematical calculation, with the tabulation consisting of the amount of wages earned in a given period prior to the accident, extrapolated over the period of disability. Future wages lost involves a more nuanced calculation. Here, both medical evidence and potentially economic expertise is needed. Future wage loss involves a projection, over the expected course of an individual’s life, of what they would be able to earn in light of their training, education and experience, and particularly in light of their injury versus what they would’ve been able to earn if fully healthy.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, contact a lawyer near you for help immediately calculating these numbers.