Learning that your spinal cord has been damaged as a result of someone else’s negligence is a devastating experience. The effects of spinal cord damage can range from pain to paralysis, with a whole host of injuries and complications in between.
When seeking to recover financial compensation after suffering a spinal cord injury in a traumatic accident, there are several different factors that go into determining how much you are entitled to recover. In this article, we will cover:
- The types of damages that are available in a spinal cord injury lawsuit
- The factors that go into calculating damages for a traumatic spinal cord injury
What Types of Damages Are Available in a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit?
As a general rule, all accident victims in California are eligible to recover the same types of damages regardless of the nature of their injuries. These damages fall into two categories:
- Damages for economic losses
- Damages for non-economic losses
1. Damages for Economic Losses Resulting from a Spinal Cord Injury
California law entitles individuals who suffer spinal cord injuries due to the negligence of others to recover full compensation for their financial losses. Crucially, this includes not only financial losses incurred through the date that you file your claim, but your future financial losses as well. For example, if you will need ongoing medical treatment, rehabilitation therapy, or pain medications, you can pursue damages to cover these costs for as long into the future as necessary.
Financial losses that can be recovered after an accident resulting in a spinal cord injury in California include current and future:
- Medical expenses
- Physical and psychological therapy expenses
- Prescription costs
- Costs for medical and adaptive devices
- Costs of home and vehicle modifications
- Other out-of-pocket costs
- Loss of income and earning capacity
2. Damages for Non-Economic Losses Resulting from a Spinal Cord Injury
Suffering a spinal cord injury in an accident can impact all aspects of your life. While your financial losses could be substantial, the immediate and long-term non-financial costs of your injury could be even greater.
In California, victims of others’ negligence can recover full compensation for their non-financial losses as well, including current and future:
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Anxiety, depression, grief, and other forms of emotional distress
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Humiliation and public embarrassment
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
What Factors Go Into Calculating Damages for a Spinal Cord Injury?
Once you have a complete picture of the types of losses you are entitled to recover, then you can begin the process of calculating the damages you are entitled to receive under California law. There are different methods for calculating the following:
- Current economic losses
- Future economic losses
- Current and future non-economic losses
1. Calculating Your Current Economic Damages
Calculating current financial damages for a spinal cord injury is a relatively straightforward process. In a nutshell, this involves collecting all of the bills and receipts you have accumulated for your medical care and other injury-related expenses, and then adding them up to arrive at a total figure.
Then, you add onto this the amount of income and benefits you have lost as a result of being unable to work during your recovery.
2. Calculating Your Future Economic Damages
Calculating your future financial damages is significantly more complicated. In order to calculate these losses, your attorney will need to work with your doctors to assess your future medical needs. Your attorney will also need to work with a financial expert to determine the amount of income you are likely to lose as a result of being unable to work for a period of time (or permanently).
3. Calculating Your Current and Future Non-Economic Damages
Finally, the least straightforward aspect of calculating damages for a spinal cord injury involves placing a dollar value on your current and future non-economic losses. Relevant factors for calculating non-financial damages for a spinal cord injury include:
- Your age
- Your overall health, financial condition, and employment status
- The severity of the accident
- The physical impacts of your injury
- The psychological impacts of your injury
- The other day-to-day impacts of your injury
- How long you are likely to experience these impacts
Taking these factors into account, non-financial damages will typically be calculated as either a multiple of your financial damages, or based on a “per diem” rate. In any event, your non-financial damages are likely to make up the largest portion of your spinal cord injury claim.
Discuss Your Case with Bakersfield Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Mickey Fine
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident and would like more information about your legal rights, we encourage you to contact The Law Offices of Mickey Fine for a free, no-obligation consultation. To discuss your case with Bakersfield personal injury lawyer Mickey Fine in confidence, please call (661) 333-3333 or inquire online today.