What Are Future Damages in a Personal Injury Case?
In personal injury law, damages refer to the compensation you can receive for your injuries and losses. Damages is a broad term that can include medical expenses, lost wages, emotional injuries and property damage. Damages can also refer to the future costs you will incur because of your accident.
The goal of a personal injury claim is to make you whole again after someone else gives you an injury. Pursuing future damages can be imperative for your full and fair recovery.
What Are Examples of Future Damages?
Future damages can refer to any compensable losses you will most likely suffer in the months or years following a serious accident. This type of award is most common in cases with serious or catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries. In these cases, the victim may suffer long-term effects and costs associated with the injury. If you have a serious injury, you may be able to file a claim for many types of future damages.
- Future medical bills, including surgeries, rehabilitation, physical therapy and medications
- Lifelong medical care, if you have a permanent injury
- Disability-related home and vehicle modifications
- Future physical pain and emotional suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Future lost quality of life or enjoyment of daily activities
- Future lost wages and lost capacity to earn
Discuss the full list of your future damages with a personal injury attorney to make sure you do not miss any on your claim. This is your chance to fight for the compensation you will need to pay your bills and move forward in the future. Forgetting to list any future damages on your injury claim could close the door on this opportunity forever, as you typically cannot reopen a closed claim after accepting a settlement.
How Are Future Damages Calculated?
The calculation method for past damages is relatively straightforward. The courts will add up your existing expenses based on evidence such as medical bills, pay stubs and property repair estimates. Calculating future damages is more difficult. A judge and jury will need to analyze the severity of your injuries, how long you will foreseeably have them, whether you will require ongoing medical treatment, and how the injury will impact you in the coming months and years.
Since your future damages have not yet occurred, you will need to use current bills and receipts to project future calculations. This will take combining your existing costs with an estimated timeline of your medical recovery. In general, you will need to multiply your existing medical bills and lost wages by the amount of time you will foreseeably have your injury. Calculating an accurate amount, as well as proving future damages, may take assistance from an attorney.
How Can You Prove Future Damages?
During a personal injury claim, it is up to you – the injured party – to prove your past and future losses. Future damages are only available in Kentucky when the injured party can prove there exists a reasonable apprehension of an injury or expense in the future due to the at-fault party’s wrongful act or omission. Reasonable apprehension will take documentation and evidence to establish.
- Your medical records
- Letters from your doctor
- Testimony from a medical expert
- Letters from your employer
- Testimony from friends and family as to your emotional state
- Testimony from a forensic accountant or economist
Expert testimony is typically the strongest form of evidence when pursuing a claim for future damages. Expert witnesses such as doctors, therapists and accountants can explain how long your injuries will most likely last, as well as how they will impact your ability to earn a living. If your evidence is strong enough, you can receive compensation for both your past and future damages, allowing you to fully pay off the costs of an accident and look toward your future with greater peace of mind.