Damages associated with catastrophic injuries can go well into the six figures and above. Since catastrophic injuries typically impact the rest of a victim’s life, costs for on-going medical care can be incredibly expensive. The initial hospital stay and treatment represents only a small portion of the lifelong medical costs associated with a catastrophic injury. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer with catastrophic injury experience is critical to make sure every possibility is planned for over a lifetime of living with an injury of this severity.What are “Damages?”
Legally speaking, damages are usually defined as a sum of money that is awarded to a victim as compensation for an injury or loss of some sort. Where catastrophic injuries are concerned, economic damages can be virtually limitless, depending upon medical expenses, care and other costs associated with the injury. The costs for medical treatment in the first few months following a catastrophic injury alone can be astronomical, especially if victims spent extensive lengths of time in intensive care or have gone through multiple medical or surgical procedures. In many states, including Mississippi, there is a cap on non-economic damages like pain and suffering, so that sum is typically much smaller than what a victim may recover in economic damages.Economic and Non-Economic Damages
While non-economic damages are usually associated with economically intangible costs such as pain and suffering, economic damages are all about compensating victims for their actual expenses related to their injury. Listed below are a variety of different economic damages that can be associated with a catastrophic injury.Catastrophic Injury Potential Economic Damages
Compensation for medical care is absolutely essential to the catastrophically injured patient. Since medical care in the U.S. can bankrupt families, you definitely need to have all of your care, procedures, equipment and doctor’s visits covered. If you were catastrophically injured due to somebody else’s negligent, careless or willful behavior, you shouldn’t have to go in debt paying for your medical bills. Your family shouldn’t have to go without, so you can receive life-saving treatment for your injury. A skilled personal injury lawyer with catastrophic injury case experience can be an invaluable asset. He or she can help you to determine the lifetime costs associated with your injury, which include potential future medical procedures and treatments.Loss of Wages and Future Wages
On top of the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or more in medical bills that are piling up, you’re also out of work. Many catastrophic injury survivors are out of work on a long term basis, and some people never go back to work. This is tough for any family, but especially difficult for families whose primary earner suffers the injury. Suddenly a loved one can go from bringing home a regular paycheck to needing around-the-clock medical care to survive. Your attorney can help you calculate your loss of earnings and your loss of future wages. This will also be included in your catastrophic injury claim or lawsuit.Future Medical Care
Your catastrophic injury isn’t like a simple bone break that heals with casting or a minor laceration that needs stitches. A victim of a catastrophic injury almost always requires future medical care. Burn victims may need multiple procedures over the years to graft skin, reduce scarring and lessen pain. Victims of spinal cord injuries will need long term, ongoing physical therapy. Survivors of traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) may need lifelong emotional, cognitive and psychiatric support and treatment. Additionally, victims may also need compensation for in-home care, nursing assistance or institutionalized care. All of these treatments and care plans come at a premium cost.Limits on Non-Economic Damages
In Mississippi, there are limits on non-economic damages where medical malpractice is concerned. This means that the compensation you might deserve based on lifelong pain and suffering is capped, even if a doctor or other medical professional negligently, carelessly or willfully caused or contributed to your catastrophic injury. The cap for non-economic damages in Mississippi is $500,000, which isn’t much considering the lifetime of pain and pain management that may be necessary for victims of catastrophic injury. This is one of the reasons that it is so important to have an attorney on your side, as your advocate during this difficult time. You need somebody looking out for you, making sure every possible situation is planned for. Speaking with an attorney who has demonstrated medical malpractice case experience needs to be a top priority.