How Are Lifelong Injuries Handled in a Personal Injury Settlement?
Personal injury lawsuits can be complicated. When a lifelong injury is added into the mix, determining the settlement can become even more of a challenge. If you’ve been permanently injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you deserve full and fair compensation that will allow you to live as comfortably as possible. Part of handling lifelong injuries in a personal injury settlement involves understanding how injuries are classified.
Classifying an Injury as Lifelong
When your lawyer builds your personal injury claim, they’ll need to prove you sustained a lifelong injury so you get the compensation you need to maintain your new quality of life. This will involve using medical records and expert testimony to prove you’ve undergone medical procedures, missed work, and will continue to require medical care. You may also be unable to return to your previous job.
Once your lawyer has proved your injury was catastrophic, they can work toward receiving the compensation you need. That compensation may be dependent upon the type of injury you sustained.
Common Types of Lifelong Injury Claims
Certain injuries, like those sustained in severe car accidents, are more likely to have a lasting impact on a victim’s body or mind. The majority of lifelong injuries are disabling, which means the person will not be able to perform the same tasks or reach the same potential as before the accident. Some of the most common types of lifelong injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries. Brain injuries are typically caused by abrupt force to the head or from a lack of oxygen to the brain. When permanent brain damage occurs, there can be significant loss with cognitive function.
- Spinal cord injuries. The severity of a spinal cord injury depends on where along the spinal cord the damage occurs. In the most severe cases, an accident victim could suffer from permanent paralysis. They may be unable to use the lower half of their body, or they may be unable to move their head or body at all.
- Amputations. When an accident severs or crushes an appendage or limb, the victim will need to relearn how to complete everyday tasks and learn how to use a prosthetic body part, depending on their situation.
- Burns. Severe burns, especially those that destroy skin and muscle, can result in heavy scarring and disfigurement. Recovering from burns is generally a long and painful process.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder. Not all lifelong injuries are physical. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a potentially permanent mental health disorder caused by experiencing trauma. It can make it difficult to impossible to function normally.
Damages in a Permanent Injury Case
There are a number of losses and expenses attached to a lifelong injury. Many of them are related to economic losses like lost wages and medical bills. There are other damages, however, that are referred to as noneconomic. These are for things that cannot be directly calculated, like pain and suffering. In order to calculate a personal injury victim’s compensation, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration. Those factors typically include:
- Victim’s age. When the victim of a lifelong injury is younger, it’s likely they’ll be awarded more compensation because their losses will impact a significantly longer portion of their life.
- Loss of future wages. With a typical personal injury claim, the claimant can seek compensation to cover the monetary loss from the time they had to take off work. With a lifelong injury that impacts a person’s ability to work, however, there are ways to determine how much the person would have earned through the remainder of their life. Skills and education, how many more years the person would have worked, predicted wage increases, and the rate of inflation is taken into consideration.
- Level of disability. When someone sustains a lifelong injury, it’s likely that they’re going to need medical care and equipment to maintain their quality of life. The cost of daily lifetime care can add up to millions of dollars.
- Pain and suffering. When negligence is the result of a catastrophic injury, the victim is more likely to experience what is legally referred to as pain and suffering. This revolves around emotional distress and loss of enjoyment or purpose. The compensation for pain and suffering varies based on individual circumstances.
- Visible disfigurement. Permanent scarring or disfigurement is a strong factor when it comes to determining emotional distress compensation. Facial disfigurement is especially significant.
Sustaining a life-long injury in an accident that wasn’t your fault is incredibly traumatic. At Golden Law Office, we understand how much a person’s life can change, and we’re here to represent personal injury victims so they can establish a new normal. To learn more about personal injury law or to get help with your claim, contact us today.
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