How Are Future Damages Calculated Following a Car Accident in Virginia?
When you’re injured in a car crash, you might want to pursue compensation in an insurance claim. It’s vital to have evidence and documentation to support your case. If there’s a specific amount of money you want to recover, you have to show what losses you suffered from the accident.
Proving the amount you should receive as damages for past losses is relatively simple. If you want to show how much you incurred in medical expenses, you must submit copies of your medical records. However, calculating future damages can be a challenge. You must provide an estimate since you don’t have documentation to prove the cost of medical care, lost wages, and additional losses you haven’t incurred yet.
What Are Future Damages?
“Future damages” is the compensation for the losses you expect to suffer in the future due to your injury. For example, if the car accident leaves you with a permanent disability, you’ll likely require ongoing physical therapy or household assistance. Those costs are an example of future losses.
Multiple types of future losses exist in car accident cases. The most common losses that you can expect to be paid in a settlement or award of damages are below.
Medical treatment is often necessary following a car crash. A serious or permanent injury could require future care. The most common future medical bills include:
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Surgical procedures
- Psychological services
- Home healthcare
- Assistive medical devices
Lost Earning Capacity
Sometimes, an injury could keep you out of work. Whether you can’t return to your job for a few months or maintain employment entirely, you could seek compensation for lost earning capacity.
Lost earning capacity is future income you can’t make due to your injury. Income can include:
- Salary or hourly wages
- Paid time off
- Pay raises
- Retirement account contributions
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is an intangible loss. Physical pain and suffering are the actual effects of an injury on a person’s physical health. Some injuries lead to minor pain that subsides after healing. Permanent injuries can result in chronic pain that lasts for months or even years.
Emotional pain and suffering is the psychological or emotional distress caused by an accident. Common examples of emotional pain and suffering are:
- Psychological trauma
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Diminished or loss of quality of life
How Are Future Damages Calculated?
Since some losses, like pain and suffering, are subjective, calculating an appropriate number can be difficult. It’s not a straightforward process to come up with an estimate of an accident victim’s future losses. Although you might believe you deserve a specific amount for your future damages, the insurance company could disagree.
Typically, the circumstances of your case will determine the damages that you’re entitled to receive for your future losses. Among those circumstances are life expectancy, reasonable medical costs, and employment status. Obtaining the relevant documents is necessary to estimate the costs you will incur in the future.
For example, if you have a permanent injury and need ongoing physical therapy, you can request an estimate from your doctor. They can indicate the type of treatment you require, the cost of the visits, and the duration they expect the treatment to last.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
You don’t need a lawyer, but hiring one can benefit your case significantly. Without a knowledgeable legal team on your side, you could end up with much less compensation than you deserve.
It’s best to retain an experienced car accident attorney to represent you. They can calculate an appropriate number for your future damages and seek the compensation you deserve.
How Breit Lawyers Could Help
At Breit Law, PC, we have over 36 years of experience fighting for the rights of accident victims in Virginia Beach, VA. We tirelessly work to meet the needs of our clients and try to reach the best possible outcome. You can count on us to provide the support and guidance you need to navigate the complex legal process of pursuing compensation.
If you were injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, do not hesitate to call Breit Law at (757) 456-0333 for a free consultation.