After an injury accident, the victim is often left with expensive losses and damages. When the injury victim files a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff is seeking compensation from the parties responsible for causing the accident. This compensation is known as “damages.”
Economic damages include all the financial losses associated with an accident. The injury victim in a car accident needs to understand all their economic damages, including future expenses, before accepting any settlement offer. The economic damages after an injury accident can build up quickly and often end up costing the victim more than they anticipated.
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com will investigate your claim, identify all your financial and non-economic losses to get the maximum compensation after an injury accident in Colorado. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Economic Damages in Colorado Personal Injury Cases
Financial compensation after a Colorado injury accident is based on compensatory damages. Those are the cost required to put the victim into a similar position the victim would have been if the accident had never occurred. These include both economic and noneconomic damages.
Non-economic damages can be more difficult to measure. These include losses that do not always have a clear dollar value. This includes pain and suffering after an accident, the loss of enjoyment of life, or permanent loss of a limb. It may be difficult to estimate the value of these losses and a jury in a personal injury case would generally come up with a monetary value to compensate the victim.
Economic damages in an injury accident include any financial cost of the accident and generally include the following:
- Vehicle repairs and property damage,
- Medical treatment,
- Future medical treatment,
- Loss of income, and
- Loss of future income.
Property Damage and Vehicle Repair or Replacement
Property damage after an accident may be one of the easiest losses to measure. For example, if a driver was hit by another vehicle, the driver could take the vehicle to a repair shop to get an estimate of the repairs. If the auto shop made the repairs and gave the driver a bill, the bill would represent the financial costs of a damaged vehicle in the accident. Similarly, if the car was totaled, the replacement value would represent the financial property damage cost of the accident.
The costs of property damage can still be significant. Many families in Denver rely on their vehicles to get them to and from work, school, or medical appointments. Any delays in paying for vehicle repairs or getting a replacement vehicle can place added expense and costs on the injury victim. Property damage losses may also include the use of a loaner car or a rental car while the vehicle is being repaired.
When an accident is serious enough to make someone unable to work, they may face lost wages and income after an accident. Many workers in Denver work hourly shifts or do not have enough sick or vacation time to take off after an accident which will quickly be reflected in their paychecks. A serious injury could make someone unable to work for weeks or longer. In some cases, the individual may be unable to ever return to the same job because of permanent or chronic injuries.
Lost wages are generally calculated based on past payment history and the amount of time the individual was unable to work because of the accident. For example, if a worker averaged $200 per shift and was unable to work for 25 shifts because of the accident, the lost wages would likely be calculated as 25 x $200, or $5,000.
It is important to talk to your Denver accident attorney about lost wages after an accident because the insurance company may try and claim that you should have been able to work or could have found alternative work to avoid paying for your lost wages. An attorney advocate who is on your side will deal with the insurance company's tricks and tactics to make sure you get the compensation you are owed.
Medical care in the United States is very expensive. Even a short stay in the hospital can add up to tens of thousands of dollars or more. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average medical cost for a patient injured in a non-fatal accident in 2012 was $3,362. However, the average medical cost for a patient hospitalized after an auto accident was over $56,000.
Medical costs after an accident include all medical treatment, including from the time the paramedics or fire department arrives until the final treatment for any injuries. Some injury victims may be treated and released with minimal care while others may need surgery, hospital stays, multiple treatments, and continuing medical care for years. Some of the medical costs associated with an accident include:
- Ambulance treatment,
- Emergency department,
- X-rays and imaging,
- Follow-up care,
- Physical therapy,
- Hospital care,
- Outpatient care, and
- Any other medical costs related to the accident.
How Are Damages Calculated?
Economic damages are generally calculated by showing the bills, receipts, and estimates for treatment and care. The other party may dispute some of the expenses and it may be up to a judge or jury to determine which damages are covered by the accident and the extent of damages.
There may be continuing and future costs related to an accident that may be more difficult to demonstrate. In the event of permanent injury or continuing care, an expert usually provides a report to estimate the future costs of medical care, based on statistical information, inflation, rising health care costs, and other factors.
Future Economic Damages
Not all injury accidents end with the victim making a full recovery. A serious accident could lead to the loss of a limb, permanent injury, chronic pain, and leave the victim unable to work again. In a personal injury lawsuit, the victim may make a demand for future economic damages related to the accident.
Future Medical Treatment
Auto accidents that result in partial or full paralysis, loss of a limb, a back injury, or other permanent damage may require medical care for the rest of the victim's life. This should be included in the victim's costs to be compensated by those responsible for the accident.
Loss of Earning Capacity
If an injury victim is no longer to continue in the same job or pursue the same career because of the accident, the victim may face the rest of their life with a lower income than if the accident had never occurred.
For example, if a commercial pilot was injured in a car accident and lost an eye, that person may not be able to continue to be a pilot because of the accident. This would likely represent a significant loss of future earning capacity. Factors in determining the plaintiff's loss of earning capacity may include:
- Prior earning history,
- Work-life expectancy,
- Training, and
- Ability to get another job.
Denver Auto Accident Injury Lawyers
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have successfully represented their clients and families who were involved in a car accident get compensation for their losses. Our attorneys understand how the insurance companies operate and will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.