My job is to make sure injured people receive fair and full compensation in their insurance claims. My work is seldom easy because well-funded insurance companies fight hard to minimize the injury settlements they are willing to pay to resolve claims.
Frequently during legal consultation I am asked “ how much is my case worth”. Of course, my answer to that question changes based on the special circumstances and the specific evidence in the case. However, in this blog, I wanted to bring some insight into a special type of an injured person’s damages that should be accounted for in putting a dollar value on their injury claim.
Beyond the medical expense, lost income, and other items of personal loss suffered by my injured client, it is important to take into account how the injured person’s future loss of health is impacted by his or her injury.
Future Loss of Health
In most cases I handle, my client will receive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and be released from care at “maximum medical improvement”. This means that there is no additional medical care or rehabilitation that is going to benefit my client. In other words, they are going to just have to “live” with the effects of their injury. “Living” with an injury means the injured person is now going to have to manage their injury and this results in a substantial loss of quality of life.
Thus, a fair and full settlement for an injury claim must include sufficient compensation for their future loss of quality of life.
Consider that an injured person must now avoid certain activity that leads to pain and discomfort. They no longer have the freedom of movement they had before the injury. In many cases the injured person must now depend upon pain medication to get through their daily routine. They find it very difficult to walk, stand, or sit for extended periods. With pain and discomfort comes anxiety and frustration. All of this significantly effects his or her quality of life.
From a medical standpoint, a traumatic injury to the soft tissues, extremities, or joints carries with it a permanent partial limitation. Scar tissue replaces the previously healthy tissue. Scar tissue does not function like healthy tissue. The injured person no longer has the mobility that they had prior to the injury. Moreover, the injured person is more susceptible to re-injury. As they age, they face the early onset of arthritis and other degenerative conditions.
While it is true that future loss of health can never be fully evaluated until after medical rehabilitation, it is a major factor in terms of obtaining a fair and full settlement.