Car collisions often result in immediate injuries that need time to heal properly. When injuries don't properly heal with time, they can lead to chronic and permanent health problems. It is important to recognize the types of chronic health problems that can arise and how to prove that your car collision caused them so you can be fairly compensated.
Types of Chronic Health Problems that Result from Car Collisions
The effects of a car wreck can linger in different ways depending on the accident, health, and age of the passengers. The National Library of Medicine published a study that determined that traffic injuries are significantly associated with long-term reduced Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL). Chronic pain and PTSD are other long-term problems that an individual can face after being involved in a car collision. In the past, car collisions were mostly viewed in the scope of shorter-term physical pain and trauma. Today, science is uncovering several types of chronic health problems caused by car collisions.
Spotting a Chronic Health Issue and Proving it was Caused by a Collision
Chronic pain can appear in several ways after a car collision. Collisions can affect both the physical and mental health of an individual. If you find that you are experiencing:
- Reoccurring mood swings
- Trouble sleeping
- Excessive fatigue
- Becoming Antisocial
If you are experiencing symptoms like these long after your car accident, it can be argued that your accident was the main reason. Medical experts can testify to a judge or jury that a car wreck victim suffered chronic health problems if more specific scientific information needs to be explained.
The Types of Compensation Available for Injuries Suffered in a Car Collision
In the state of Connecticut, you can receive three different types of damages in the event of a car collision. These damages are known as economic damages, non-economic damages, and in some cases, punitive damages.
- Economic damages are the type of damages that deal with the direct costs of any injuries suffered. Things such as crash related medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages or income, and property damage are types of economic damages.
- Non-economic damages are damages for the effects of injuries that are not so easily quantifiable. Things such as pain, suffering, mental anguish, and the loss of enjoyment of life activities are the types of things considered non-economic damages. The court or jury in these cases will have to determine what a fair, just, and reasonable amount is necessary to compensate for these long-term issues that an injury victim can face.
- Punitive damages, referred to as double or treble damages, are reserved in cases for intentional or reckless conduct that requires additional sanction and deterrence.
Chronic health problems will likely result in both economic and non-economic damages. Long-term injury effects can result in large awards when the court determines how injuries will negatively affect the injury victim and their ability to lead a normal life.
How to Be Compensated for Chronic Health Problems After a Car Collision
If you suffer from chronic health problems after a collision, it is important to understand what type of damages are potentially available. If you are incurring expenses due to the car collision you were involved in, then those expenses fall under the scope of economic damages. You will need to submit proof that the costs you have incurred are because of the injuries suffered in the car wreck in question. Calculating economic damages is usually straightforward but can be complicated for calculating future expenses.
If your injuries are expected to affect you long-term, you face the potential of chronic health problems. These problems can lead injury victims to face the inability to enjoy their lives as they did before the collision. The anxiety of knowing that the effect of knowing that an injury is permanent can lead to mental anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of the enjoyment of life.
In Connecticut there is no “formula” that is required to be used by the court or the jury in determining what fair compensation to an injury victim is. That decision is left solely to the court or jury (depending on the type of case) and the only guidance in our law is that the amount must be fair, just, and reasonable based on the evidence proven in court.
As the task of deterring how much is fair, just, and reasonable is difficult for most jurors many personal injury lawyers, including me, use two different methods to help calculate damages:
- The multiplier method; and
- The per diem method
Both methods are fair and valid. Let me try to explain how they work.
The Multiplier Method
The multiplier method uses the total amount of economic damages incurred as a base to use a multiplier on to determine non-economic damages. A multiplier is suggested by the injured person's personal injury trial attorney, usually between 3 and 10 depending on the severity of the injury and the court or jury is asked to multiply the economic damages using that multiplier to determine non-economic damages.
Let me give you an example how that would work. Take someone involved in a serious car wreck that suffers injuries that result in $100,000 in economic damages and the injuries were serious and also permanent. Well, in this case I would suggest a multiplier of five times (5x) the economic damages. Under this method, the injury victim could fairly be reimbursed the $100,000 in economic damages and compensated $500,000 in non-economic damages for the past and future pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life's activities and for their permanent injuries. The multiplier method is a simple and easy method we use to help “put a number” on an injured person' harms and losses.
The Per Diem Method
Another way of calculating damages is the per diem (per day) method, which some jurors like because it breaks the number down to a per day amount that is easier for some people to better visualize when determining a fair and reasonable amount for damages. Under the per diem method, we look at an amount of money that an injury victim should be paid per day as a way to calculate a fair amount.
First, we ask the jury to award the economic damages. As previously discussed, this is generally straight forward. So, for example, if the economic damages (i.e. medical bills, lost wages, etc.) are $15,000 we ask for those damages to be returned to the injured person.
Then we next turn to non-economic damages for the past and future. So, for example, if we believe that the injury victim should receive $200 per day for past pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life's activities until the time of trial and it takes 150 days to recover, then the injury victim would be awarded $30,000 in non-economic damages for the past pain and suffering.
We then next look to the future pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life's activities, and permanency of an injury using authoritative statistical life expectancy tables for the injured person. We determine a per day amount of financial compensation. The amount could be anything that is fair, just, and reasonable. However, depending on the severity of the permanent injury I may use amounts as low as $5 per day or as high as $100 per day. So, even a relatively minor permanent injury could be fairly and reasonably compensated at $5 per day ($1,825 per year) times the statistical number of years a person has left to live. For example, using the low end $5.00 per day amount for future pain and suffering for a person with a statistical life expectancy of 25 years the non-economic damages for the future would be $45,625.
So, using the per diem method our injured person would be compensated $15,000 in economic damages, $30,000 in past non-economic damages and $45,625 in future non-economic damages for total compensation of $90,625.
Get Professional Assistance
Calculating the value of a personal injury case is part “science” and part “art” as there is no formula the law mandates using. As such, if you have been injured in a collision, then it is important that you speak to an experienced personal injury attorney right away to ensure that you are properly protected and receive full, fair, just, and reasonable compensation for your injuries.