Calculating Economic Loss in Personal Injury Cases
In personal injury cases, injured plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for their economic and noneconomic losses. But to win compensation, a plaintiff must be able to present hard numbers that justify the amount requested in the Complaint. To maximize a plaintiff’s recovery, a personal injury attorney must be meticulous in itemizing the plaintiff’s expenses related to the injury and must have a reasonable basis for any estimates of future economic losses. Here is a brief outline of issues that come up when claiming economic losses in a personal injury lawsuit.
Are expenses reasonable, necessary and related to the injury? Plaintiffs are entitled to reimbursement for the costs of medical treatment, provided that treatment is reasonable, necessary, and related to the injury. Emergency room treatment, surgery, and follow-up visits with a treating physician are rarely disputed, but defendants will object to any treatment that is experimental, unproven or regarded as quackery. Alternative treatments such as chiropractic and acupuncture are unlikely to draw great objections, unless the treatments seem excessive. Finally, expenses must be directed towards treating the injury, not bestowing an ancillary benefit on the patient.
The same rules apply for psychological counseling and rehabilitative services. A serious injury often requires a period of psychotherapy and physical retraining, even if the victim eventually regains full use of the injured area. Plaintiffs with long-lasting injuries or permanent disabilities can get compensation for future expenses but must resist any temptation to pad the bill with expenses the defense can challenge.
What exactly is your lost income? If your injuries prevent you from working, you are entitled to claim lost wages. If you use paid vacation days, you still have a claim for lost benefits. Additional lost benefits include lost seniority and missed opportunities for raises and promotions.
What are your future losses? Seriously injured plaintiffs often have continuing medical expenses and lost income over their lifetime. Medical experts testifying on your prognosis for future recovery working together with financial experts can present a clear estimate of your losses based on the type of treatment you will need and what it is likely to cost in the future. It might also be necessary to estimate how much you stand to lose over your lifetime due to your inability to pursue the same career track.
How much must you pay back to your insurance company? Plaintiffs must list losses even if they are covered by insurance. Your auto insurance or health insurance provider has a right to subrogation, meaning you must pay the company back from what you recover from the defendant. Often plaintiffs do not pay back the full amount, because healthcare providers understand you had legal expenses in obtaining your settlement or jury award.
Economic losses require complex calculations, so you want to trust your case only to an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to render a full accounting.
If you have been injured due to someone’s negligence, our personal injury lawyers can help you obtain the maximum damage amount possible under the facts of your case. Call Rudberg Law Offices, LLC at 412-488-6000 or contact our Pittsburgh office online to schedule a free consultation.