When you sustain catastrophic injuries, you may experience severe pain, emotional trauma, bodily function loss, and be overwhelmed by high medical bills. Therefore, you should file a personal injury claim to seek compensation. Nevada laws provide several compensation options for catastrophic injuries. The compensation type you receive depends on the injuries’ nature.
You will receive compensation under either economic damages or non-economic damages, as explained in the article. The fight for compensation is hard, especially arriving at the value of your injury claim. Therefore, you require legal help from an experienced personal injury attorney. Your injury attorney will assist you with the help you need to receive a fair amount of your compensation.
If you or your loved ones have sustained a catastrophic injury, you are entitled to seek compensation from the liable party. The options for compensation for a catastrophic injury are:
Economic damages in a personal injury lawsuit include actual, real financial losses you have suffered due to an injury. These involve all monetary losses you have sustained because of a catastrophic injury.
In Nevada, personal injury claims, economic damages are far more than just emergency room bills. Following are the damages that qualify as economic damages in the state:
Lost wages are the actual lost earnings you would have gained from your work if the accident had not occurred. The State's laws allow you to receive compensation for the wages which you will not earn in the future due to the catastrophic injury. Note that the statute of limitation for a personal injury claim is often two years. However, the period may vary depending on the type of injuries you sustained. Lost wages include:
- Regular pay
- Overtime pay
- Sick days or vacation
- Incomes from self-employment
After claiming compensation for the lost wages, the law requires you to prove the lost wages you claim. The calculations for a lost salary are straightforward when the injury is for a fixed, short period. Seek help from your injury attorney to help you calculate your lost wages.
Any medical bill you are experiencing qualifies as economic losses. According to Nevada laws, any person who recklessly breached the duty of care and caused an injury is liable for paying back the medical bills to the victim. The bills may be paid by the company or person responsible.
During the personal injury claim, you and your attorney hope that the defendant will compensate for the past, present, and future medical bills. While you wait for your compensation, you will require money to pay for those bills. Sometimes, you may defer the payments until your case is settled. Being in the middle of your injury claim may be very stressful.
Note that several claims may take several months, if not years. The following are examples of medical bills you may have due to the catastrophic accident:
- Occupational therapy
- Diagnostic tests
- Urgent care bills
- Emergency room bills
- Blood test
- Physical therapy
- Prescription test
- Travel costs
- Mobility aids like braces, wheelchair, and crutches
- Follow-up doctor appointments.
Lost Earning Capacity
If you are unable to work due to the injury, you may be off the work for months, if not years. Lost earning capacity involves a reduction in your ability to earn more income due to an injury. You may be unable to work indefinitely. Therefore if you were involved in an accident due to another party's reckless behavior, you would need compensation for the lost earning capacity. However, proving loss of earning capacity may be hectic; thus, you need help from your injury attorney.
How The Nevada Courts Calculate Lost Earning Capacity
To prove your lost earning capacity, the court will require an expert witness to provide testimony. The witness will review your work records and work history for the court to come up with a reasonable estimate about your likely future earnings before and after the catastrophic injury. The expert may analyze the following varieties to determine your lost earning capacity:
- Your level of education
- your location of work
- Current wage rates and market values
- Your work history
- Records of your promotions, improvement in skills, and raises
- Your talent, skills, and abilities
- Sometimes calculating for the lost earning capacity may be challenging. Therefore you will require to work closely with a personal injury attorney.
If you sustained catastrophic injuries in an accident, you might require extra help to carry out activities you used to do. For instance, you may need help to drive your children to their schools, household chores, providing regular care for your family members and loved ones, or taking care of the outdoors. Therefore, if you are required to hire an outside service to carry out activities you used to do, you may include household service in the economic damage costs.
Whether you sustain catastrophic injuries in a vehicle or any other tangible product you own, then the property damage qualifies as economic damages. Therefore, you may value the item at the cost of repair. However, if the property is irreplaceable, you may use the replacement costs or the item's fair market value. Note that the actual loss of the item will be categorized as economic damage.
Non-economic damages in a personal injury lawsuit include damages that compensate you for the sustained losses, which are not financial nor quantifiable. You may value the losses and seek compensation under non-economic damages. The great purpose of non-economic damages is to provide compensation for intangible things you suffered due to the accident.
With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you may include the appropriate amount of your non-economic damages as part of your overall claim. Additionally, your competent attorney may approach the insurance company or the liable party to claim non-economic damages. The following are examples of non-economic damages for which you may seek compensation after a catastrophic injury:
Pain and Suffering
A physical injury may result in significant pain and suffering. Therefore, if you or your loved one has suffered injuries because of another person's negligence, you are entitled to seek compensation for both emotional pain and suffering and physical pain and suffering. Note that there isn't an exact standard and measurements by which suffering and pain damages will be inherently calculated.
However, the court will typically use the evidence provided in the personal injury claim and then determine what is just and fair under the victim's circumstance. For instance, if you were totally and permanently disabled after an accident, you are experiencing suffering and pain far away from real physical injuries.
How to Prove Pain and Suffering
Proving pain and suffering may be challenging. You will need the help of your injury attorney. After a catastrophic injury, you will need to receive compensation for the pain and suffering sustained. Therefore, ensure the documents you present to the insurance company and court convey the actual suffering and pain you suffered from the injury.
- Include any written records from your health professionals regarding your injuries' nature and condition and how the injuries will ruin your life in the future.
- Document every visit to your medical expert, including mental therapy sessions.
- Provide a full list of the medications prescribed following the accident.
- Present opinions and testimony from third-party medical experts corroborate the mental and physical health therapy evidence.
- Include any document regarding any life-threatening, disabling, and permanent conditions.
Note that documentation from witnesses alongside testimonies from your family members and friends provides persuasive and valuable testimonies. Additionally, the documentation will be proof before the jury or the insurance company that your suffering and pain devastated and impacted part of your life. Creating sympathy regarding any suffering and pain sustained helps the insurance company and the court to understand your pain and suffering journey following the accident due to another person's negligence.
How to Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages
When attempting to calculate the type of damages to be awarded for suffering and pain, the judge, jury, and the insurance company considers several factors. Sometimes they will consider the following factors:
- Your employment
- The severity of your injuries
- The effect of the injuries on your daily life
- Your general health and the time the injury will take to heal
- The overall mental and physical pain
- The type of medication you received and the time you will continue to take medication.
Note that every case involving suffering and pain is unique, and the calculations for pain and suffering will differ from one case to the other. However, there are two primary methods to determine pain and suffering damages in an injury case under Nevada laws. The methods for calculating pain and suffering damages are:
- Multiplier method
- Per Diem Method
Emotional distress involves the psychological trauma from an injury that you may suffer like fear, loss of sleep, and anxiety. Emotional distress is a subjective type of harm that varies from person to person. Therefore if you suffered a catastrophic injury and are experiencing psychological problems after the accident, note them. Those issues will be compensated for. Note that what is distressing you may not be distressing another victim of a catastrophic accident.
Documenting Emotional Distress
If you are filing a personal injury claim due to an accident, you are more than likely under medical treatment. Therefore apart from the physical injuries, tell your doctor and attorney about any psychological symptoms you have experienced since sustaining the injuries. Note that medically documented emotional distress will be a crucial component of your lawsuit.
Keep a daily diary or journal where you record your progress since the injury. Include in the record how your life has been affected by the injuries. The more you document your evidence about emotional distress, the higher the chances of winning higher awards. You will experience some degree of emotional distress after an injury. Therefore the severity of your emotional distress will have a significant impact on your compensation.
Loss of Enjoyment
Loss of enjoyment in life means that you suffered mental or physical injuries. The injury has affected your ability to engage in activities that gave you enjoyment before its occurrence. You may have short or long-term interruptions in your routine life. If you can no longer play music or do the following, you deserve compensation:
- Volunteer opportunities
- Recreational activities
- Family and friend bonding activities
- A career
Note that mostly the loss of enjoyment results from catastrophic injuries like paralysis, disfiguring or severe burns, spinal cord injuries, and injuries resulting in deafness and blindness. When calculating the value of loss of enjoyment in life, the jury or judge will consider various factors. The jury may consider:
- The severity of the sustained injuries
- Age of the victim
- The effects of the injuries on the future of the victim
- Your geographical location
- Your work history and educational background
Therefore it will be recommendable for you to present both economists and experts to assist the jury or the judge in calculating the loss of enjoyment in life. The involved parties may give various methods to help the court place a monetary value on human life.
Disfigurement or Physical Impairment
If you have permanent injuries or scars from an accident, the disfigurement you sustain may be included in the non-economic damages. Most catastrophic accidents may leave you permanently disfigured. These are injuries, including visible scars, brain damage, paralysis. The amount of compensation is determined by the nature of the accident and the extent the injury lasts.
If you or your loved one suffered disfigurement in a catastrophic accident, your life might be impacted more than one; therefore, you will be required to put it into account when filing for a compensation claim. Notably, you may not have financial losses due to the sustained permanent impairment or scarring; however, it can still significantly impact your everyday life.
If you are a victim of disfigurement and scarring injuries caused by another person's negligence, you will be eligible for compensation. However, the amount of compensation will vary depending on the:
- Length, severity, and depth of the injury
- The body part where the disfigurement or scarring has occurred
- How your daily life has changed due to the injury
Note that the after-effects of disfigurement and scarring on a catastrophic injury are vast. Therefore you need to seek legal help from a competent attorney. The attorney will understand the injuries and build a strong case, leading to a higher compensation award.
A claim for wrongful death will provide compensation for the victim's loved ones and surviving family. Commonly the wrongful death will involve:
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Loss of support and services
- Loss of consortium and companionship
- The costs of pre-death medical care
- Loss of financial contribution
- The emotional distress for your loved ones and surviving family
Reputation and Humiliation Damages
Do you know that a personal injury accident may change your social standing? You may worry about your professional and personal reputation. Therefore, the reputation and humiliation you suffer due to a catastrophic accident should be included in the non-economic damages.
Punitive damages are also known as exemplary damages. Notably, the damages are only applicable to the plaintiff when the defendant's wrongful behavior was reprehensible and despicable. For instance, punitive damages may be awarded if the defendant is found guilty of fraud or malicious acts. The acts may include sexual assault, aggravated battery, or fraudulent behaviors.
The court assesses the damages in a legal process to punish the defendant for their negligent behavior. The defendant may be a company or a large entity. For instance, if a company sells defective products or which may cause injury to you, the court will order it to pay punitive damages once proven they negligently sold the product that caused the injury.
Note that the court may order individuals to pay punitive damages which cause injuries to another person due to their negligent actions. For instance, the defendant would have harmed you due to intoxicated or distracted driving. In both cases, the defendant engaged in behaviors that quickly caused your injuries.
Punitive damages are imposed on working as an example for negligent parties to keep others from engaging in similar wrongful behaviors. However, the purpose and the intent of imposing punitive damages on a company are not compensating the plaintiff. However, if the court orders the damages, they are primarily punishing the defendant for paying the plaintiff's amount.
Find a Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me
The process of fighting for compensation after sustaining a catastrophic injury may be hectic. Sometimes you may wonder how you will pay your bills when you cannot work. Therefore, seeking assistance from a personal injury attorney will be essential. At Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we are ready to receive your call 24/7/365 and offer you a free consultation for your injury case.
We understand time is of the essence. Therefore, we quickly assess your case's circumstances and conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence against the at-fault party. Then we help you know suitable compensation amounts and options. Call us today at 702-996-1224, and our attorneys will assist you if looking to file a catastrophic injury case in Las Vegas, NV.