How Special Damages Work in Personal Injury Cases

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By Marcus Fernandez

When seeking compensation in personal injury cases following an accident, victims injured in the accident may be able to recover a combination of general and special damages. While general damages pertain to the suffering that the victim experienced as a result of the accident, such as physical and emotional pain, special damages involve the financial losses that the victim endured, which are easier to value monetarily.

The following are some of the special damages you may be able to recover in personal injury claims.

The Cost of Medical Treatment

One of the biggest expenses that people face following an accident of any type is medical costs. It can cost upwards of millions of dollars to treat and recover from some of the most severe injuries. They can also be life-altering beyond the financial burden they place on victims.

If you want to recover compensation for all types of medical treatment for injuries resulting from an accident, it’s important to keep copies of all medical records and bills. With the help of an attorney, you can make sure all bills are accounted for when seeking compensation.

Treatment Immediately Following the Accident

The first medical bills will come from seeking immediate treatment following an accident. For example, transportation to a nearby hospital. With all of the costs associated with emergency treatment, it can be difficult for accident injury victims to cover these expenses.

Many people who don’t require emergency treatment may try to avoid seeking any treatment after the accident. Especially if they don’t believe they sustained any injuries. While you may be able to avoid some emergency costs, you could have sustained latent injuries. You may not display any symptoms until weeks, months, or years after the accident. Keep in mind that if you wish to file a personal injury claim, failing to get immediate treatment could also leave you with minimal or no proof that you sustained injuries or that they resulted from the accident.

You should always seek treatment after an accident. Keeping track of all bills will help you recover the compensation you deserve if your injuries resulted from another party’s negligence.

Medical Therapy

After receiving initial treatment, you may need to undergo therapy to make a full recovery. There are different types of therapy that a person may need, including:

  • Physical therapy to relearn basic functions such as walking while restoring strength to weakened areas of the body.
  • Occupational therapy to restore the ability to perform certain tasks or adapt to limitations resulting from the injury.
  • Psychological therapy to heal from the emotional and mental trauma that often results from accidents.

Imaging and Other Medical Equipment Expenses

In addition to medical treatment and therapy, medical bills can also accumulate for certain imaging procedures. Imaging helps assess the severity of your injuries. Some imaging you may need to properly diagnose injuries could include MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays, all of which can be expensive.

After professionals have used imaging equipment to diagnose your injuries, you may require additional equipment. This medical equipment helps with mobility, such as crutches and wheelchairs, which can incur costs. Individuals who suffer extensive injuries requiring amputation may also require the use of prosthetic devices to enable them to resume a normal daily life. Prosthetics can cost thousands of dollars in some cases, including periodic replacements.

The Costs of Home Modifications

Following medical care, injury victims may find that their living spaces require changes to accommodate them. For example, if an individual requires a wheelchair to move independently or with assistance. Widened doorways and wheelchair ramp installations may be required at home. Injury victims may also need installations in the bedroom or bathroom to help them access these areas of the home more freely.

Modifications to the home are often expensive. Compensation is likely to cover these expenses if they’re required as a result of the accident.

Loss of Income

Many accident victims are unable to return to work immediately following the accident or while recovering. Some individuals who sustain life-changing and severely limiting injuries may be unable to return to work entirely.

Individuals who sustain injuries resulting from an accident may need to miss work due to periods of hospitalization and recovery until they’ve healed enough to be able to return to the workforce.

If you are capable of returning to work with some limitations, the Americans with Disabilities Act helps make sure that employers do their part to accommodate employees with various injuries.

Throughout the recovery period, some special damages for which you may be able to recover compensation include:

  • Lost time following certain procedures. This can include surgeries or other types of procedures, along with subsequent recovery periods, that cause individuals to miss work.
  • Appointments with doctors and therapists, whether for physical or psychological therapy or treatment, which often take place during normal business hours during a patient’s work schedule.
  • Lost earning capacity, which could result from the accident as employees are unable to return to the type of work they had before their injuries.

At-Home Care Expenses

Some injury victims may not be able to perform certain tasks at home while recovering or permanently disabled. They may require assistance with house care, maintaining the property, and child care. This would require the hiring of various professionals including maids, landscapers, and nannies, among others.

Property Damage

Another special damage that injury victims may suffer is damage to their property directly resulting from the accident. Personal belongings may require repairs and replacements that compensation would help cover in a successful personal injury case. These personal belongings can include your vehicles, home, electronics, clothing, and other items

To better understand the types of special damages you may be able to recover in a personal injury claim, consult a personal injury attorney. The attorney will identify your options and establish a possible case. A reliable lawyer will be able to help you calculate the total cost of the damages and gather evidence to support a claim. Contact us today to speak with one of our expert attorneys.