Back Injury Lawsuit Value
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Back injury claims allow victims to achieve compensation from the business or person that’s legally responsible for the proximate cause of your injury/injuries, or the underlying factor that led to your injury/injuries. The value of any back injury claim has to be evaluated on a case by case basis due to the fact that back injuries can range from a simple sprain or strain, to a spinal cord injury and even paralysis. That being said, there are some basic guidelines that can be applied when a back injury value assessment is being made.
Back Injury Lawsuit Value
Back injury claims will most typically include two types of damages, economic damages and non-economic damages. The economic and non-economic damages are often just grouped together as a singular damage award called compensatory damages. The following takes a look at both types of damages along with other financial recovery options available in the typical back injury case.
Compensatory Damages – Economic
Sometimes referred to as special damages, economic compensatory damages will cover everything that’s an actual loss financially. This includes things like money that you’ve had to spend, or money that you’re unable to earn due to your injury.
Potential damages in a back injury claim will include:
- Lost Income and Wages
- Medical Bills
- Future Medical Bills
You’re entitled to compensation for any loss of income that you’ve incurred due to your back injury, as well as any expected future reductions in capacity to earn in the future.
Lost income and wages will be determined by many factors, including:
- Amount of Work You’ve Missed
- Examining Your Salary History
- Vacation and Sick Time
The loss of your earning capacity, also referred to as lost future income, is something that’s calculated under a very complex formula which will include an assessment of your projected future earnings and the impact that your back injuries will have on your ability to do your current level of work or any kind of other work as well.
Depending on your injuries severity, the past and future medical bill costs are going to vary. For instance, surgery if a disk is herniated will be much more expensive than the minimal amount for x-rays if there is only a minor sprain and/or strain. Physical therapy will be around $100 per session, while the herniated disk surgery will be around $8,000-$10,000, sometimes more. X-rays will be as small as $100, to over $1,000 in some instances. When there are cases that involve paralysis and serious spinal injuries, the costs of future medical care can be into the millions of dollars as in some instances they’ll be lifelong injuries.
Compensatory Damages – Non-Economic
Sometimes referred to as general damages, non-economic compensatory damages will provide additional compensation for any losses associated with your back injury that aren’t monetary in nature. These are associated effects with your back injury and are losses that aren’t easily calculable like economic compensatory damages are.
Typically, the non-economic compensatory damages are going to include:
- Emotional Distress
- Loss of Consortium
- Pain and Suffering
When it’s applicable, damages for emotional distress will be applied either compensation as part of pain and suffering or will be assessed separately, this is dependent on state law. Within the state of Texas, it’ll be assessed separately.
Whenever a back injury is very serious, this is in instances like severe spinal injuries and paralysis, loss of consortium comes into play. Loss of consortium means that the victim and his/her loved ones (spouse and children) are deprived of companionship and the normal loving relationship that they’d have had the victim not suffered their back injury. For example, in the case of a spouse the loss of a marital sexual relationship loss of consortium may be awarded. As with emotional distress, loss of consortium can be awarded with the other compensatory damages. In other instances, the loss of consortium damages must be filed separately. Within the state of Texas, loss of consortium must be filed separately. The Doan Law Firm will be able to walk you through the entire process and advocate on your behalf.
Pain multipliers are the most often used way to calculate damages for pain and suffering. Essentially, this means that lost wages, medical expenses, etc…, (economic compensatory damages) will be multiplied by a set number. For example, often 1.5-5, however, when there’s a serious injury, the multiplier will often be significantly higher.
In back injury cases, there are rare circumstances where punitive damages will be awarded as well. For any punitive damages to be awarded there has to be proof that the inaction or actions of the defendant in their causing of the accident is something that accounted to more than just negligence that is considered “run of the mill negligence”. Even if that is provable, punitive damages are usually only going to be awarded once the case has gone through an entire civil trial and the jury made the decision that a punitive damage award is appropriate. Additionally, in order for the payment of additional damages to be justified, the conduct of the defendant has to be considered so egregious or outrageous that the defendants behavior needs to be punished more so than the awarded compensation to the back injury victim.
Other Factors That Can Affect a Claims Value
Although the value of a back injury claim is going to be determined mainly on the injuries severity, there are two additional considerations that will likely affect the amount of received compensation:
- Failure to Mitigate Damages
- Comparative and Contributory Negligence
After you’ve incurred a back injury, you’re required to mitigate the damages by taking reasonable steps that’ll mitigate your damages. As an example, if you have suffered a sprained back and your doctor has prescribed you a compression brace that you must wear for at least 12 hours per day but you don’t ever wear it (such as the defendant can prove you never even went and picked it up) and your injuries have become worse, you’ve failed to mitigate your damages. By refusing to take the needed steps to treat your injuries and made the decision not to, the defendant almost always will be off the hook, at least for a significant portion of the damages.
Comparative and contributory negligence are the other factors that will determine the amount of compensation received. There are a small amount of states that follow contributory negligence law where if you’re partially responsible for the cause of your injuries you’ll recover nothing at all. The state of Texas is not one of those states.
In Texas, as in the majority of states, there is a different type of rule that’s called comparative negligence. With comparative negligence it’s possible you’ll be able to recover so long as the other party was at least 50-51% responsible for your injuries. Percentage of responsibility will vary based on the state. Damages are then awarded and reduced based upon your amount of bared responsibility. For example, if you’re deemed to be 30% at fault, you’ll then only collect 70% of the total awarded damages. Texas is a comparative negligence state.
Contact The Doan Law Firm
If you’ve been injured at work or by another person’s negligence you have rights. Contact one of the back injury personal injury lawyers at The Doan Law Firm today and receive representation. Unlike other law firms that send you to voicemail, have you talk to a call center or tell you to call back during business hours, our personal injury lawyers are standing by to take your call 24/7/365, whether it’s 3am or Christmas Day. Call for a free consultation now at (800) 349-0000.
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