Methods for Proving Damages in Serious Injury Cases
Most people assume that the purpose of litigation and trial in the personal injury context is primarily to decide whether the defendant was at fault for the accident. While this is certainly true in some cases, in many others fault is not even an issue. Even in cases where the defendant’s fault in causing the accident is beyond question — and even when the insurer or other responsible party is willing to admit as much — there is still likely to be a significant controversy about the monetary value of the plaintiff’s losses. In many ways, this issue is much more complex than the often straightforward process of determining fault.
Assigning a monetary value to anything is an imprecise process. However, there is almost always some method behind it. The legal process in no different. Juries and judges cannot simply pick a number that sounds fair. They have to approach the assessment of damages with some semblance of scientific precision. For some types of economic damages, like past medical bills and lost wages, this may be fairly easy. For future damages, however, more assumptions are necessary. Often times, a variety of expert witnesses can play a significant role in assessing these types of damages in a major personal injury case:
- One or more medical professionals may have to testify as to how the victim’s recovery is likely to proceed and what physical and mental limitations may continue into the future as well as what additional treatments may be necessary
- A vocational expert may have to consider those future limitations and provide an opinion as to how they are likely to impact the victim’s ability to work or perform other tasks.
- An economic expert may have to look at current economic trends to determine how much the victim’s earnings could be decreased over his or her lifetime.
Assessing the value of a major personal injury is a complex and multifaceted process. A knowledgeable Atlanta personal injury attorney can help gather the information you need to evaluate your claim and prove your case in court if necessary.