Legal Remedies for Personal Injuries Caused by Negligent Auto-accident
What is considered to be a personal injury
Permanent Injuries refers to mental or physical damages which impede the activities or/and employment of an individual for eternity. Example of permanent injury includes loss of eyes, limbs, traumatic brain injury, and serious bone fracture. Permanent injury claims increase the level of compensation offered to the victims. The amount of remedy depends on the following factors:
- Extent of damages
- Emotional and physical suffering
- Duration of the recovery
- Future possibility of recovery
- Financial loss caused by the auto-accident to the plaintiff and the family.
- Inability to recover
- Changes in lifestyle because of the accident.
- Emotional distress
Determination of Permanent Damages in auto-accident
Proving permanent injury and loss associated with the accident depends on the evidence submitted in court. Doctor’s opinion is a requirement to prove permanent injury in some cases associated with emotional distress. However, judges depend on the observation they make in court in some cases.
Washington B. & A Electric R. Co. v. Cross
The court held that permanent injuries take two years or more to recover. Additionally, such injuries do not need expert opinion in determining if they are permanent.
Hecker v. Union Cab Company
Injuries are treated as permanent if the victim proves that he was hospitalized for six weeks and took six months to recover at home. Victims are forced to take a job that pays lower salaries compared to his previous job after their recovery. However, in cases of traumatic brains injuries, a doctor’s opinion is mandatory to prove the long-term nature of the harm.
The remedies available to victims are divided into two; non-economic and economic damages. Victims are awarded economic damages if they experience an actual financial loss as a result of the auto accident. The economic damages are meant to cater for the lost wages and medical bills. The non-economic damages are accorded to plaintiffs who endure emotional distress, pain, and suffering.
These damages are not allowed in all jurisdictions but they are meant to punish and deter the defendant from repeating the offense. However, these damages are awarded to cases of intentional conduct and not accident caused by negligent behaviours.
Compensation for the Medical Bills
Defendants may be ordered to pay for the cost of the plaintiff’s medical care resulting from the injuries sustained during the accident.
Accident victims can lose their wages due to incapacitation or miss work to seek for medical treatment. Victims are compensated for the loss of their future earnings in lost wages claims.
Pain and Suffering
Accidents lead to pain and suffering which can be reduced by medications. Courts award remedy for pain and suffering that inconveniences the plaintiff.
Auto-accidents not only lead to physical injuries but also emotional trauma. Courts award remedy for the emotional distress caused. However, the trauma must be proved through the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and psychiatric records.
Loss of Companionship or Consortium
Permanent injuries adversely affect the victims and their dependents. Therefore, the courts can reward the spouses of the victims because the injury sustained through the auto-accidents can disrupt, diminish, or alter the relationship. Consequently, it is assumed that the accident affected both the spouses.