A personal injury can indeed impact future earnings. While it’s common to compensate the plaintiff for relevant costs incurred in the past, they may also be awarded “future damages,” which compensate them for future earnings they may lose or costs they would incur due to their injuries.
Past damages are easier to calculate as they’re often based on expenses the plaintiff has already paid, such as medical expenses and lost wages due to missed work. However, future damages can be more challenging to calculate and often rely on past damages and/or employment history for accuracy.
Our personal injury attorneys will help you to understand how personal injuries can affect future earnings, how future damages can be calculated, and more.
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Future damages refer to any economic losses or expenses you may suffer due to your personal injury, including lost wages and out-of-pocket medical expenses. Future damages may also compensate the plaintiff for future pain and suffering. The amount awarded is often based on the projected future costs of those damages.
For example, if you’ve suffered a debilitating injury in a car accident and will require physical therapy for six months afterwards, you may be compensated for the projected future costs of said therapy.
If you can prove that you require counselling because of the traumatic extent of the accident, the future cost of that counseling may also be awarded to you in the form of future damages.
The most important factor to consider when calculating future damages is how long it will take to recover from your injuries. In some cases, an expert witness may be called to estimate the duration of recovery. This will likely determine the total amount of future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain & suffering associated with the injury.
In addition to expected recovery time, other factors, like age, occupation, and ability to perform the same tasks after the injury, are considered.
For example, if you cannot perform your job duties due to your injury, you may be compensated for any future wages you’ll lose from missing work. The calculation of those future lost wages will likely be based on how much you were earning before you injured, often expressed in the form of your yearly salary multiplied by however many months or years you’re expected to miss work.
There are different subtypes to future damages, each covering a specific area of life that may be affected by your new injuries.
Simply put, future loss of earnings are earnings that you’re expected to lose from missing work. This is a common type of future damage often pursued.
In California, this damage can be used to cover any potentially lost wages and other income due to the injury caused. The court will determine the amount of compensation awarded for future loss of earnings based on 1) the severity of the injury and 2) how it impacts your ability to continue working.
Future medical expenses are damages related to the cost of medical treatments for an injury that’s expected to continue for an extended period.
The amount of future medical expenses awarded in a personal injury case varies depending on the specifics of the case and the severity of the injury. For example, if you’ve suffered a serious injury requiring multiple treatments and surgeries, the amount of future medical expenses awarded could be much greater than if you only required one or two treatments.
Damages awarded for future pain and suffering seek to compensate the plaintiff for future mental anguish, scarring, pain, and suffering that may result from their injuries.
In California, personal injury victims are entitled to recover damages for future pain and suffering. These damages compensate the plaintiff for the physical, psychological and emotional suffering they may experience due to their injuries.
Pain and suffering awards may be given for both physical and mental anguish, including:
- Humiliation and
- Other forms of mental distress.
To recover damages for future pain and suffering, you must prove that you will likely suffer pain and suffering due to your injuries. This requires demonstrating that your condition is likely to persist or worsen over time or that the effects of the injury will interfere with your quality of life for some time.
Successfully proving your eligibility for future damages starts with presenting accurate documentation regarding future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related costs depending on the type of future damages you’re trying to collect.
You may need to submit copies of medical records, doctors’ notes, prescription records, and other medical bills to demonstrate future medical expenses. You’ll also need to provide evidence of the cost of future medical treatments, such as rehabilitation and surgery.
Future lost earnings will require records of your employment, how much you earn, and how your injury will affect future earnings.
While proving pain and suffering is more difficult to quantify, you can provide detailed records of your daily life and how your injury has affected your physical and emotional well-being. This could include journal entries, doctors’ notes, therapy sessions, or any other record that demonstrates the lasting impact of your injury on your quality of life.
Ultimately, it’s better to work with a qualified personal injury attorney than to try and prove your eligibility yourself.
Recovering all the future damages you’re owed from your San Diego personal injury case starts with hiring the right attorneys. Contact us today for a free consultation.