This is the next post in our series on the handling of truck accident cases in Rochester and elsewhere in southeast Minnesota. Our last article discussed the need for expert witnesses in matters involving a commercial trucking accident. It is important to understand that the law does not allow laypeople to testify as to matters that require specialized skill or knowledge. Experts, therefore, are necessary to establishing issues such as liability and future medical needs. In this article we will discuss an important topic – how one’s damages are calculated in such a case. If you have been injured through no fault of your own, it is important that you contact a personal injury attorney immediately. Our lawyers also serve Owatonna, other areas of the state, and portions of Iowa and Wisconsin.
There are several components of a victim’s compensation. Those components include reimbursement for past and future medical expenses, economic losses, and pain and suffering. We will discuss each of these in turn.
The first component of a calculation of damages will include past and future medical expenses. Determining the expenses already incurred is a straightforward matter of adding up one’s doctor bills. A victim, however, will also be entitled to the expected future costs of surgeries, treatment, medication, doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, etc. Once a victim’s future prognosis can be reasonably ascertained then a medical expert will calculate a figure for these amounts. The defendants will be permitted to present a calculation prepared by their experts and it will be up to the jury to determine the amount of any award.
The second portion of a calculation of damages will include the victim’s past and future economic losses. A victim will be entitled to the amount of any wages that already have been lost due to the injury. It will also be necessary to calculate the amount of any future losses. These will include compensation for the amount of time the victim is expected to miss from work. If the accident * has resulted in a disability that prohibits someone from returning to a former job, it will be necessary to determine his or her ability, if any, to re-enter the workforce. A victim who is unable to return to work t may be able to recover the earnings he or she would have expected to make in an uninterrupted career. If the victim is able to enter a new career, he or she may be able to recover the difference between what the former job likely would have paid and what likely would be earned in a new job. These determinations will always be situation specific and the jury will determine an amount based on the facts of the case.
Pain and suffering is generally the final portion of a damages calculation. The jury will determine this amount after hearing evidence that relates to how the injury has impacted the victim’s quality of life. Factors impacting that quality include the level of pain one will be in, the duration of that pain, any reduction in one’s ability to perform activities, the loss of ability to enjoy time with one’s family, etc. It is, therefore, important to make sure that the jurors are given a “complete picture” of your situation.
If you have been injured, it is important to call a Rochester truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Our attorneys also serve SE Minnesota cities: Red Wing, Winona, Mankato, Austin, Albert Lea, and Owatonna, as well as the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Bloomington. We also serve the Iowa cities of Mason City, Charles City, Osage, Spencer, Garner, Forest City, and Northwood and the Wisconsin cities of La Crosse, Onalaska, Sparta, Viroqua, River Falls, Ellsworth, Whitehall, and Black River Falls.
*A note about language:
Federal agencies involved in traffic safety have banned use of the word “accident” for more than 20 years, and with good reason. However, we use the word “accident” on our website, even though we know it has implications that run contrary to our professional thinking and training, because we recognize that “accident” is the word most commonly used in online searches when people are looking for help after being injured in a crash. If you’d like more information about this topic, please see our blog, “Car Accident or Car Crash?”