One of the trickiest parts of preparing for a personal injury case is calculating one’s damages. This is hard enough in cases involving broken bones or cuts, but when it involves permanent, catastrophic injury, it can be extremely difficult. Some of the hardest cases involve brain injury.
In a typical personal injury lawsuit, the injured party seeks to hold the other party liable for their damages. Generally, the idea is to compensate the injured party for what they lost due to the negligence or bad acts of the other party. The injured party must add up their medical bills, lost wages and other economic losses, and then must put a dollar value on noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering. Once they combine all these numbers, they have an estimate of their total damages. When they file a claim against the defendant, this total is the number they seek.
Damages are harder to calculate in a catastrophic injury case because the total damages will continue to grow during the rest of the injured person’s life. They may need continuing medical treatment, or even around-the-clock care, and they may never be able to work for a living again. If an injured person’s family goes into negotiations with a defendant’s lawyers and settles for an amount that doesn’t take future damages into account, they are never going to be compensated fairly.
In order to arrive at a total that is more accurate, a personal injury attorney will often consult with a variety of experts. For instance, if the injured person was a computer engineer, the attorney might confer with industry analysts to calculate how much income the injured person would likely have earned over the rest of their working life, if it were not for their injury.
Brain injury cases can be especially difficult because brain injuries themselves are so difficult. Brain tissue does not heal the same way other parts of the body do, and medical science is struggling to come up with more effective treatments for brain injury sufferers. In some cases, brain injury victims may be able to return to work, but they will most likely not be able to do the kind of work they did before the accident. They may also face discrimination at work, or otherwise face personal setbacks and professional barriers that they would not have faced had it not been for their injuries.