Damages is the sum of money the law imposes to compensate a plaintiff for injuries received. In a personal injury case, the way in which the law is able to compensate the Plaintiff for their injuries is through a money judgement at the end of the Trial Phase of a Personal Injury case. It is important, then, for a Plaintiff to know how to prove they have particular damages and prove the value of these damages.
The types and value of a Plaintiff’s damages vary widely from case-to-case. Some examples of the most common types of damages in a personal injury case are:
- Medical Expenses
Medical expenses are the reasonable cost of the medical care that you receive for your injuries. While it may surprise you, this isn’t necessarily a straightforward number. In Indiana, the jury can hear evidence regarding the “gross total” amount of the medical bills and the “Stanley-Walker” amount of medical bills. The difference is that the gross total is the entire amount of the medical bills as charged directly from the providers. This amount does not include the many contractual write-offs or discounts given when an individual is covered by health insurance. The “Stanley-Walker” amount is the discounted amount of medical bills, meaning it is the total amount actually paid by our insurance and/or yourself.
- Lost Income
Lost income is the amount of income lost due to your injuries. This also covers the vacation or sick days you had to take due to missed time at work
- Future Medical Expenses
While we try to resolve your case once you have reached your “maximum medical improvement” meaning that you are either in the same shape you were prior to the crash or incident or you have recovered to the fullest extent you can, that isn’t possible in every case. For individuals with ongoing medical needs, future medical expenses can be recovered. This typically requires testimony from your physician that you will require such treatment and that it’s related to the crash or incident. Additionally, another medical expert will give us an expert report on the value of these expected future medical expenses.
- Future Lost Income
If you are no longer able to work or your injuries have reduced the amount of income you can earn, your attorney can present evidence of how much income you will lose in the future. This is typically done by showing via your physician or another medical expert that this is due to the injuries received in the crash and another expert referred to as a vocational economist prepares a report valuing the amount of the future income you have lost.
- Pain and Suffering
This is an amount to compensate you for the pain and suffering that you have gone through that isn’t describable in just the amount of medical bills you’ve incurred. Many of our clients have life-long effects caused by their injuries. You may have experienced a long period of pain caused by your injuries or you may now miss out on activities you used to enjoy as a result of your injuries. This is difficult to quantify, but an incredibly important category of damages.
- Mental and Emotional Distress
Mental and emotional distress is similar to pain and suffering, however, you can think of it as the category that takes into account the overall impact of your injuries on your life and quality of living. Your injuries may prevent you from enjoying your life as you once did and this could lead to depression. The crash or incident may have left you with PTSD or other trauma that affects your mental well-being. This is another category of damages that is difficult to quantify, but is important in making sure that the overall effect of someone else’s carelessness is taken into consideration in compensating you for your loss.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.