Can Long-Term Injuries Affect The Value Of My Claim?
Serious injuries can happen to any of us. You can be seriously injured with no warning in a number of scenarios, and it can change your life instantly. You may be unable to work – perhaps permanently – or you could spend months undergoing therapy and rehabilitation. Traffic collisions are the top reason for personal injuries in the state of Texas, but almost any serious accident may cause severe, lasting injuries. Just as motorists are required to drive safely in this state, property owners are also obligated to keep properties safe for visitors, passersby, tenants, and customers. Product manufacturers cannot sell dangerous or defective consumer items.
When someone else’s negligence causes a personal injury, the injury victim is entitled under Texas law to full reimbursement for all current and future medical bills, lost wages and lost earnings capacity, and all related expenses. Accident victims in Texas who can prove that they were injured by another person’s negligence should discuss all of their legal rights and options – including a potential personal injury lawsuit – with an experienced Edinburg personal injury attorney.
WHAT IS A “RESIDUAL” INJURY?
One topic that an injury victim may want to discuss with his or her attorney is “residual injury” – the long-lasting or permanent effect of a personal injury. Anything from permanent scarring or lingering joint stiffness to a limb amputation or a permanent disability can be considered a “residual injury.” An accident victim who can prove that he or she struggles with a lingering or permanent residual injury can expect to receive a higher settlement or verdict for his or her personal injury claim.
The reasoning is simple. Even a minor residual injury can significantly increase the amount of compensation that a victim deserves because the victim will struggle with the residual injury for years to come. And as you might expect, a residual injury that is more serious – and that directly impacts a victim’s ability to earn an income – will in most cases be compensated more generously. If a personal injury claim goes before a jury, an experienced personal injury attorney will offer the jurors:
- a complete evaluation of the injuries and the prospects for recovery
- a reasonable projection of the earnings the victim expected to receive if he or she had not been injured
- a review of the victim’s current employment restrictions and abilities
- an assessment of the victim’s projected future employment restrictions and capabilities
If you are injured by another person’s negligence, it is imperative to document any residual injury and its impact on your life. When you obtain medical care after an accident, make certain that your doctor has your complete medical history and any other important information about your health. You may need medical records, statements from your doctor, or even the testimony of your employer or family members to prove the existence and extent of a residual injury.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON KINDS OF RESIDUAL INJURY?
Scarring and disfigurement can be the result of an accident or the medical efforts after an accident. Permanent disfigurement is usually “worth” a substantial amount in personal injury cases. Typically, damages are higher when the scarred or disfigured part of the body is usually visible. Any scarring on the face and neck almost always increases the amount of a settlement or a verdict.
Some back and joint injuries also lead to residual injuries and increase the “value” of a personal injury claim. Almost any damage to a vertebra or any cartilage injury to a joint will cause long-lasting discomfort or a reduction of mobility that will continue or reoccur for years to come. Serious spinal cord injuries can mean permanent disability and extensive long-term care. The treatment for a spinal cord injury may include prescription medicines, surgeries, and lengthy or even life-long rehabilitation and therapy.
Over three million persons in the U.S. are now struggling with a permanent disability as the result of a traumatic brain injury, according to the Brain Injury Association of America. Brain injuries can frequently be deceptive, so be extra-cautious about any accident that causes a blow to the head. Outpatient therapy for traumatic brain injury patients can cost from $600 to $1,000 a day, and hospital-based rehabilitation can cost $8,000 a day or more. Those who suffer a traumatic brain injury leading to permanent disability will require a substantial verdict or settlement to cover a lifetime of medical expenses and related costs.
WHAT IS THE POTENTIAL COST OF A RESIDUAL INJURY?
Treatment for severe spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries can ultimately cost several million dollars over a lifetime. Doctors and researchers are still seeking the most effective ways to treat these serious injuries, and current research offers a great deal of hope to spinal cord and traumatic brain injury victims. If they are needed, your personal injury attorney may arrange for brain injury or spinal cord injury experts to testify on your behalf.
If you are injured in Texas because another person was negligent, you and your attorney must see to it that the evidence related to your accident and injury is properly compiled and securely protected. Immediately start documenting what happened, even before you speak to an attorney. Take photographs of everything that might be pertinent: the accident location, any property damage, and your own injuries. If there were witnesses, get their names and contact information.
Retain and make copies of all of the paperwork generated by your accident and injury: doctor bills, test results, medical reports, and if the accident was an auto crash, the police accident report. Be sure to get the medical treatment you need and follow your doctor’s orders. Missing appointments can hurt the credibility of your personal injury claim. Your medical appointments are also important because they will create the medical records that you’ll need as evidence for your claim.
If you suffer from a residual injury, your claim should indicate that your injury is long-term or permanent and thus requires additional compensation. An experienced Edinburg personal injury attorney can provide legal advice and fight for your rights, but gathering the documents and photographs that you will need is mostly your own responsibility. Your attorney will try to negotiate a settlement out-of-court, but if your personal injury case does go to court, a good personal injury lawyer will fight aggressively on your behalf for the maximum possible compensation.