Damages are an element of every negligence or personal injury claim. In order for there to be recovery, the victim must have been injured in some way. Injuries can run the gamut, from soreness to broken bones to death. In cases where someone survives a car accident but is traumatically or permanently injured, victims may be able to recover for future medical care, future pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
When a person is injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, medical expenses are almost always involved. In more severe cases, these expenses can be staggering. For instance, spinal cord injuries are some of the most costly and life altering injuries a victim can sustain. Often resulting in complete or partial paralysis, spinal cord injuries render victims dependent on special care and medical treatment for the remainder of their lives. Over time, these medical bills can add up, as can the cost of equipment such as a wheelchair. It is estimated that victims suffering from paraplegia incur a cost of roughly $520,000 the first year after the accident, and an average of $68,000 each subsequent year. These figures are even steeper in cases of complete paralysis.
In most cases resulting in a permanent injury, such as paralysis, the plaintiff will either be unable to return to work or will have to reevaluate their line of work to accommodate for their injury. This could mean having to accept a lesser paying job. Vocational experts are utilized in catastrophic injury cases to assess how a plaintiff’s injuries affect their ability to work and earn money. Vocational experts measure the loss of earnings by calculating the difference between the amount of money a plaintiff had the capacity to earn before the accident and the amount they are capable of earning after being permanently injured. This calculation depends on many factors including the plaintiff’s age, educational qualifications, and prior work experience. After liability is assessed against the defendant, victims can recover compensatory damages for their future medical treatment, as well as lost earning capacity.
Spouses and family members of permanently injured victims may also recover for their emotional suffering and loss of companionship. This legal action is called a loss of consortium claim. Generally speaking, loss of consortium claims account for the loss of companionship, emotional support, and society previously provided by the now permanently injured spouse or family member. Damages also considered in loss of consortium claims include services such as taking care of household chores, caring for children, or any other assistance previously relied on from the now permanently injured spouse or family member.
In Tennessee, car accident damages can typically be split into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include damages for which there is proof of a quantifiable financial loss. Examples of economic damages are past medical bills or lost wages. Non-economic damages cover intangible losses. Non-economic damages account for damages that cannot be quantified, such as pain and suffering. Loss of consortium damages are considered non-economic damages. In Tennessee, the jury usually decides the amount a plaintiff can recover for loss of consortium claims.
It is important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side if you have been traumatically or permanently injured. The severity of your injury could result in the amount of compensation received by you and your family. To discuss your case with a Tennessee car accident lawyer, call Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz at 1-800-529-4004.