If you were injured in an accident in Lafayette, LA, you’re likely dealing with financial losses and pain and suffering. Louisiana law allows accident victims to seek compensation from at-fault parties for their economic and non-economic damages by filing personal injury claims or lawsuits.
However, to receive a financial recovery, you must prove the elements of your case, including the extent of your damages. Below, our Lafayette personal injury attorneys discuss the types of losses you can claim as economic damages and how to calculate and prove them.
What Are Economic Damages in Louisiana?
After a personal injury incident such as a car accident or slip and fall, you can file a claim against the liable party for:
- Your economic damages, which are the financial losses you incur due to the accident and your injuries
- Your non-economic damages, which are the non-financial, subjective losses that are more difficult to value (e.g., pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of companionship)
These are both compensatory damages that are awarded to make a plaintiff whole again after an accident caused by a negligent party.
Economic damages are typically easier to prove than non-economic damages. You can offer receipts, invoices, bills, statements, and other evidence proving your monetary expenses.
Alternatively, non-economic damages don’t have a price tag and are awarded to compensate a victim for their emotional trauma, diminished quality of life, pain, and suffering. Financial expert testimony is often required to prove the value of an accident victim’s non-economic damages.
Common Economic Damages in a Louisiana Personal Injury Case and How To Prove Them
Most reasonable and necessary monetary losses are considered economic damages in a Louisiana personal injury claim. The following are some of the most common types of economic losses.
Past and Future Medical Expenses
Many personal injury victims are transported to the hospital or seek immediate medical attention to address their injuries.
You can seek compensation for the following:
- Emergency room visit
- Diagnostic tests, including X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs
- Medical treatment
- Follow-up medical care
- Doctor’s visits
You should keep all receipts, bills, and other documentation together so that you can include all medical expenses in your personal injury claim.
Additionally, you may be entitled to future anticipated medical costs if you’ve sustained a severe injury, permanent disability, or impairment.
Future healthcare needs could include but are not limited to:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Ongoing treatment
- Pain management
- In-home nursing care
- Future surgeries
You will likely need to provide evidence from your healthcare providers regarding your prognosis and medical needs to prove these future damages.
Lost Wages and Diminished Earning Capacity
You may have to miss work if you’re dealing with painful injuries. It may be because your doctor recommends rest so that you can heal properly, or your treatment plan may prevent you from being available for work. Either way, you can seek your lost wages in a personal injury case.
You’ll need to gather pay stubs, evidence of your missed attendance, and other employment records. This will help you prove the lost income, benefits, sick days, and other losses you sustained due to your injuries. You may also need a statement from your doctor stating that your injuries prevented you from working.
If you’ve suffered a severe or permanent injury that prevents you from returning to work in the same capacity, you can also seek compensation for your diminished earning potential.
For example, if you’re a construction worker and sustained a spinal cord injury, you likely cannot return to the job site. In that case, you may be unable to work altogether or be forced to find alternative employment options.
Diminished earning potential damages are more difficult to assess. You may need a financial expert to calculate what you would’ve earned had you not been injured and compare it to your new projected earning capacity.
Out-of-pocket costs encompass any expense you pay with your own money. This is a catchall category for anything you spend related to your injuries or accident.
These expenses must be necessary and reasonable and could include:
- Over-the-counter medications
- Medical supplies (e.g., bandages, gauze, and crutches)
- Travel expenses to and from your medical treatments
- Accommodations (e.g., motel stays) if you need to travel to receive medical care
- Childcare expenses
- Household services, such as cleaning and cooking
- Modifications to your home and/or vehicle (e.g., installing a wheelchair ramp or handrails)
Anything you pay for that’s related to your accident or injuries should be documented. You may not be able to recover every out-of-pocket expense you incurred, but it’s best to keep everything together so that it’s easier to calculate your losses.
Contact a Lafayette Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Proving Your Economic Damages
Personal injury victims in Louisiana have limited time to file a claim against at-fault parties for their damages. Under the state’s statute of limitations, you typically only have one year from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit.
This doesn’t allow much time to investigate your accident, gather evidence, and calculate your damages – especially if you’re dealing with injuries. Contact a Lafayette personal injury attorney Kenny Habetz Injury Law for assistance with your claim at (337) 399-9000, and let them do the heavy lifting while you focus on healing. An attorney will calculate the full extent of your losses and fight for fair compensation for you.