The True Financial Impact of a Life-Altering Injury
Aug 31, 2015
For the average person who suffers any type of serious injury, it can be difficult to quantify the full scope of financial losses stemming from the incident. Hospital bills from the emergency room visit are an obvious expense, as are the costs of any prescription or over-the-counter medications. But beyond these basic items, most people struggle to understand the true financial impact of being involved in a serious accident.
If we're describing you, don't worry. You are not alone. In fact, most clients meet with our lawyers have no idea what their claim is worth – or even if they have a claim at all. Unfortunately, this lack of knowledge also leads many vehicle collision and other accident victims to forego seeking to enforce their legal rights at all. In the end, these people may end up paying for someone else's negligence for years down the road – and possibly even the rest of their lives.
Damages Available to Victims of Accident-Related Injuries
While the specific amount to which any accident victim is entitled is highly dependent upon the facts of each individual case, generally speaking, the following types of damages are all potentially available to individuals who suffer serious injuries as a result of someone else's negligence:
- Past medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Repair or replacement costs for personal property
- Lost wages
- Lost future earning capacity
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Importantly, these are just the possible "economic" damages – damages intended to cover actual, out-of-pocket financial losses. There is an entirely separate category of damages called "non-economic" damages which provides compensation for non-financial losses such as pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. In some cases, punitive damages may even be available to punish a defendant for reckless, or willful and wanton misconduct.
Are you starting to get the picture? If you only take what the insurance company offers for your outstanding medical bills, you may be leaving a substantial sum of money on the table.
Example: A Drunk Driving Car Crash in Wyoming
To illustrate, consider a hypothetical car crash that occurs just outside of Jackson on a Friday night. A young school teacher and mother of two is hit by a drunk driver while sitting at a red light, and suffers a severe spinal cord injury requiring surgery. As a result of her injuries she needs to attend ongoing physical therapy and is unable to work during her recovery. She now experiences persistent pain and has difficulty playing with her children, and her resultant depression puts a strain on her relationship with her husband.
This is a tragic example, but one that unfortunately happens all too often for many accident victims throughout Wyoming. This is an example where the victim may be entitled to substantial financial compensation. All of her direct losses – her surgery bills, the cost of her regular therapy sessions, her future medical care, the replacement of her vehicle and personal effects, and her lost wages – are all recoverable damages. She may also be entitled to compensation for her non-economic losses, including pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.
Since this is a drunk driving case, she may be entitled to punitive damages as well. Such a victim may have a strong claim for a significant financial recovery for both economic and non-economic damages.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Claim? Contact The Spence Law Firm
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident, it is in your best interests to speak with one of our experienced lawyers as soon as possible. To schedule a consultation at The Spence Law Firm, call our Jackson, Wyoming law offices at (800) 967-2117 or contact us online today.
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If you are struggling with a serious injury, or are fighting against seemingly impossible odds against big corporations, insurance companies or the government, call us to speak with our team of trial lawyers who will fight for you. We take no fee unless we earn it by winning your case.