In every personal injury claim or case, the injured victim must prove both liability (that the defendant was at fault) and damages. This article discusses the damages the injury victim may be entitled to once liability is established:
Damages for injury victims or their relatives or survivors if they are deceased including the following:
- Medical expenses due to injuries or death
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Other treatment expenses necessitated by the injuries;
- Past and future lost wages
- Past and future lost support
- Past and future loss of consortium (i.e., companionship)
- Non economic damages (i.e., pain and suffering)
Economic damages are those listed as 1-4 above. Economic damages can be calculated by adding up the total amount of medical and rehabilitation and other treatment expenses; past and future lost wages, and other expenses due to the injury.
Non-Economic Damages (i.e., Pain and Suffering)
Non-economic damages is the other category of damages available in personal injury claims and cases. Non-economic damages (i.e., pain and suffering) includes the past and future pain and suffering the personal injury victim or his or her family incurs, loss of support and loss of consortium, arising directly out of the injured victim's injuries or death. Although non economic damages are not a set amount determined by law, they are capped and limited to a certain maximum. If within the cap, non economic damages are determined on a case by case basis depending on the facts and circumstances of each individual accident injury claim or case. The determination of the non economic damages or pain and suffering incurred in a accident injury claim or case is one place that an experienced personal injury attorney can have a major impact on the value of a personal injury claim or case.
Damage Caps In Missouri (per statute)
Missouri Tort Reform that took effect in August 2005 severely harmed and curtailed medical malpractice injury victims' rights throughout the state of Missouri including right here in Kansas City. Then Governor Matt Blunt passed a law that included a provision that mandates that the non economic damages (i.e., pain and suffering) of an injury victim or his or her family in a medical malpractice claim or case, no matter how severely injured or killed, are limited to or capped at $350,000. Unlike the previous Missouri statutory damages cap, the non economic damages limitation or cap put in place in 2005 is not adjusted for inflation and grows more and more unfair day by day.
How is this unfair to the injury victim or his or her family? Under the current Missouri non economic damages cap, if a retired man or woman in Kansas City is killed due to the negligence of another, the victim's family is entitled to only the special damages such as the medical expenses incurred and not much else. Since the fatality victim was not working, he lost no wages. Non economic damages for the loss of this man or woman's life are limited to or capped at $350,000.
The practical effect of the $350,000 non economic damages cap can be greater than simply grossly inadequate compensation. Because injurance companies know that the most they will have to pay in the example above, that this is their maximum exposure in many cases, they may choose to delay, deny and defend all the way through trial rather than consider settling the case because of their limited exposure due to the non economic damages limitation or cap.
In some cases, the non economic damages cap can be blunted somewhat by maximizing the economic damages claim or case. There are often economic damages, sometimes very subtsantial, that are not obvious to the injured victim or his or her family but can be revealed and established by an experienced personal injury attorney. The best injury lawyers have a lot of experience and are highly skilled at building and presenting solid damages cases that fully establish the economic losses to an injured victim and his or her family that are not unfairly limited like the victim or his or her family's non economic damages .
Do You Think You May Have A Medical Malpractice Claim?
If you believe you may have a medical malpractice claim you need to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.You can also download our FREE book on medical malpractice.