A Manchester Spinal Cord Injuries Attorney Explains How Back Injury Claims Are Valued
A Manchester spinal cord injuries attorney at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC will help clients value their back injury claims before deciding whether an offered settlement is one that should be accepted or turned down. Your back injury may have occurred in several different ways, such as a car accident or a slip-and-fall accident. Your injuries may include back strains, sprains, paralysis, spinal cord injuries, or herniated disks. Since there are so many different types of back injuries, every claim is evaluated on an individual basis. There are a number of factors that are common across back injury cases that will apply in your case’s valuation by your Manchester spinal cord injuries attorney.
Compensatory Damages and the Claim Value
The value of your back injury claim will be based upon the damages that can be compensated. Compensation is based on a valuation of both the economic and non-economic losses you have suffered in several different sub-categories of each type. All together, these damages are grouped together and called your compensatory damages. Your Manchester spinal cord injuries attorney will evaluate your losses in all of these categories to arrive at a total of what you should be offered in settlement for your claim.
- Economic Damages.Your economic damages are your actual financial losses you have experienced due to your back injury. These can include both your past and your future medical expenses. Consequently, your damages in this category will depend on how severe your back injury is. While more minor back injuries may have medical expense damages in the low thousands, serious ones such as paralysis may be valued in the millions of dollars due to your potential ongoing medical treatment needs. If your back injury also meant you have been unable to work, either temporarily or permanently, you may also have economic damages in the form of lost past and future income. This includes compensation for any income you have already lost due to your injury, as well as income you would have otherwise received in the future if your accident had not occurred. You may be entitled to compensation for this reduced earning capacity. To determine this, your attorney will calculate how your particular back injury will impact your ability to work in the future.
- Non-Economic Damages. Non-economic damages are losses that you have suffered that are more intangible. These are losses that are difficult on which to place a dollar value. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of your back injury, any emotional distress you have experienced and any loss of consortium. In many cases it is common for people to experience emotional distress because of their injuries and the change to the quality of their lives. While some states do not recognize the negligent infliction of emotional distress as a recoverable category of non-economic damages, the courts in New Hampshire do. This type of distress goes beyond simple stress, and often must be supported by medical documentation of its existence. Your attorney will likely speak to your medical professionals for help in valuing this category of non-economic damages. Loss of consortium occurs when your injury has negatively impacted your relationship with your spouse. This category especially occurs in cases of paralysis. Under New Hampshire Revised Statutes 507:8-a, a spouse may recover damages for loss of consortium (loss of care, comfort and support).
Other Possible Factors
After your attorney has valued your potential compensatory damages, they will then look at two other factors that could come into play to reduce the total. In New Hampshire, if some of your own negligence contributed to your injury, your portion of the total negligence will be determined. New Hampshire uses a modified comparative fault approach. If any portion of the accident was caused by you, that percentage is taken away from your total damages. For example, if you were 20 percent at fault in your accident, you would only collect 80 percent of the damages. If you are more than 50 percent at fault, you will not recover. Failing to mitigate your damages is another way your recovery may be reduced. After you have an accident, you are expected to take reasonable steps to minimize your own injuries and losses. This can include failing to follow a doctor’s instructions or to take prescribed medications. It is thus important for you to mitigate your damages by doing what is reasonable to try and recover.
Contact a Manchester Spinal Cord Injuries Attorney
If you have suffered a serious back injury in an accident due to the negligence of another, you may need legal help. To speak with a Manchester spinal cord injuries attorney at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC, call (603) 624-7200.