What are Considered Economic Damages in a Massachusetts Injury Case?

When a person is injured, it is sometimes necessary to file a lawsuit to recover compensation. Many people have only a vague idea of what damages they might be able to recover for their injuries. Most, though, understand that a lawsuit could help recover certain financial expenses associated with their accident, a category known as economic damages.

An award for economic damages is intended to compensate a plaintiff for the monetary costs that resulted from the accident. There are many types of economic damages that a plaintiff can claim, but each will need to be calculated, and evidence will need to be presented to potentially receive compensation.

If you were injured and believe you are owed economic damages, our Massachusetts personal injury lawyers can help you decide if a lawsuit is right for you. For a free case review, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today at (617) 925-6407.

What are Considered Economic Damages in a Massachusetts Injury Case?

Economic damages are awarded to compensate a plaintiff for the financial losses and expenses they incurred because of their injuries. Economic damages represent the out-of-pocket expenses you paid to successfully treat and recover from your injuries. Economic damages are generally proved with evidence like medical invoices, bills, receipts, repair costs, pay stubs, and other financial records. Therefore, it is important to understand the different types of economic damages available for you to claim in your injury case.

Medical Expenses

The most common source of economic damages in a personal injury lawsuit is the plaintiff’s medical expenses for their injuries. Depending on the injury, treatment can be extensive and very costly. Even if you have health insurance, expensive deductibles might have to be paid before your insurance will cover any costs. Treatment expenses not covered by your insurance and deductibles you paid can all be claimed as economic damages in a personal injury lawsuit.

Lost Wages

More often than not, a person’s injuries will prevent them from returning to work for some time. Sometimes injuries could be so severe that the victim might be out of work indefinitely. Typically, a doctor will prescribe the time for you to be out of work and when you should be healed enough to return. However, you can still claim any damages you might have incurred when returning to work in a limited role. Lost wages from missed time at work can be claimed as economic damages in your lawsuit.

Property Damage

Property damage is another major type of economic damage claimed by plaintiffs in civil cases. Property damage costs can be extremely high depending on the type of accident. Cars damaged in an accident or home flooding are a few examples of property damages that can be claimed. If you can show with either repair bills or estimates, you can claim the costs as part of your economic damages.

Travel Expenses

Medical treatment for injuries typically requires changes to a person’s normal flow of life. In many cases, victims will need to travel to various doctors to assess and treat different injured areas of the body. Physical therapy is often necessary to completely heal, and you might need to visit two or three times a week to make progress. Fuel, public transportation, food, and hotels can add significant expenses to your already mounting medical costs. Records and receipts that show travel expenses for treatment or any other business related to your accident can be claimed as economic damages. Our Boston personal injury lawyers can help review your case to determine what economic damages you might be able to claim in your lawsuit.

How are Economic Damages Calculated in a Massachusetts Injury Case?

While economic damages are typically not difficult to calculate, there are some important considerations to remember when determining what numbers to claim in your Massachusetts personal injury lawsuit.

Calculating Medical Expenses

Medical expenses can be split into three different categories, past, present, and future. Past and present medical costs are relatively easy to calculate since invoices for treatment and procedures can show the amount paid.

Future medical costs are more difficult to calculate. Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 233, § 79G provides that calculations that are fair and reasonable charges for such future services can be claimed as economic damages. The following factors are some that could be considered when calculating future medical costs:

  • Prescription medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgeries needed
  • Physician reports and lab tests
  • X-rays, MRIs, and other diagnostic testing
  • Need for assistive devices
  • Counseling

It is vital to make the correct calculations the first time as you will only have one chance to be awarded future medical expenses from the court.

Calculating Lost Wages

Past and current lost wages are also fairly straightforward to calculate. Pay stubs and tax records will usually show the rate of pay for an employee and the total time they work in a given month. Future lost wages are more difficult to establish. Calculating future lost wages will include analyzing the victim’s age, the type of industry they work in, and if their injuries affected their promotional abilities.

You can also claim lost future earning capacity from your injuries. This type of compensation is meant for the income potential you would have had if not for your injuries, whereas lost wages damages compensate you for time missed from work. This calculation is based more on your inability to work due to a substantial injury. In most cases, you will need medical professionals and economic experts to testify as to how your injury will affect your ability to work and your income going forward. Our Beverly personal injury lawyers can help you collect the important records you need to accurately calculate the economic damages you suffered.

Our Massachusetts Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help

If you were hurt and plan on filing a personal injury lawsuit, our Glouchester personal injury lawyers can help by providing you with a free case evaluation. Contact the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407.