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When Would Punitive Damages Be Awarded In A Personal Injury Settlement?

Generally, punitive damages are not recoverable in a negligence cause of action. Negligence is the cause of most personal injuries. On the other hand, punitive damages are for fraudulent, malicious, or oppressive behavior. For instance, if somebody intentionally commits a battery, that would give rise to punitive damages. A drunk driver who causes a death might also bring punitive damages.

How Are Future Treatment Costs And Needs Calculated When It Is Not Clear What Those Needs Or Costs Might Be?

The client’s doctor will make a diagnosis and prognosis. If future treatment and care are needed, the doctors put that in their report. The doctor’s findings are provided to a life care planner. Life care planners are doctors or nurses who specialize in preparing life care plans. A life care plan is a plan for current and future needs, care, or treatment and the associated costs. The life care planner works with the diagnosing doctor to determine the different medical needs that a client will have over their lifetime. Then they figure out the cost of those different types of care. The life care plan encompasses all of the care that a client would need for the remainder of their life. Once that is completed, the life care plan or report is forwarded to an economist to calculate what that number should be in today’s dollars so that the jury has a guideline as to what an award for future medicals should be.

Is There A Certain Number Of Years Into The Future That Are Considered When Calculating The Value Of A Personal Injury Settlement?

There is, and the individual’s life expectancy is the determinative factor. Life expectancy tables are available through various sources. For example, the Social Security Administration has a table, and the California jury instructions provide tables too. You plug in the current age, race, sex of the plaintiff, and it will lead you to a life expectancy. The economist will use that number to calculate the damages. This calculation is only for those injuries that will persist for the remainder of one’s life. Injuries that will resolve before the life expectancy date will be calculated based on that time period.

Will Damage Experts Be Used At Some Point During A Personal Injury Or Wrongful Death Litigation?

Yes, during personal injury or wrongful death litigation, damage experts will be used. To what extent depends on how far down the road the case will go. You may not need to hire experts because the damages are more than the insurance coverage, and the insurance company will offer the policy limits. If a case is headed toward trial, experts will be necessary to prove your case. Doctors are needed to prove injury. An accident reconstructionist, engineer, or product safety specialist may be required to show the mechanism of injury or standard of care. Life care planners are required to prove the future medical costs. An economist will put those medical costs into today’s dollars, and a vocational rehabilitation expert will discuss the loss of earning or loss of earning capacity that might exist.

For more information on Personal Injury Claim Settlements In California, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you seek by calling (855) 675-2901 today.

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