When accidents result in life changing injuries, there are a number of significant measures that can be taken to ensure that the victim receives adequate treatment and is compensated properly. This is especially important with rising costs of healthcare and treatment for injuries. Local news in West Palm Beach reported on the story of one man who is dealing with exactly this problem.

Man is dealing with permanent injuries and associated costs after being hit by young driver

The story begins with the man walking to a bus stop after finishing a day of work at a local Walmart a few years earlier. He said that he was merely planning to return home and have dinner. As he was crossing Military Trail near the 45th Street intersection, he was hit by a Lincoln Navigator driven by an 18 year old woman who had just received her driver’s license a day earlier. The victim says his memory is totally blank from the moment he began to walk across the street until he woke up in the hospital. His wife remembers being told that he could possibly die from his injuries at this time.

The victim discusses how the injuries have permanently affected his ability to perform many actions that he used to perform without issue. He enjoyed riding his bike and going camping regularly, which he cannot do. He also experiences pain while walking and moving around. He ended up having to remain in the hospital for eight weeks. His treatment included a rod that was permanently placed in his leg, and his speech was also affected permanently because of trauma to his brain. He is partially blind and is now totally dependent on his family to take care of him and help him perform basic tasks.

The driver was never charged criminally, but she is now on the hook for an $8 million jury verdict, mainly due to the fact that the victim will never be able to work again. The victim’s family attorney commented on the difficulty of collecting such a large amount from the young defendant, but he is hopeful that a settlement can be reached while the case is still technically active. The defense attorney did not comment on whether the verdict would be appealed or not. The victim and his wife of 33 years say that they hope their story will caution other drivers to be careful on the roads.

The struggle to pay for treatment

Stories such as this show the gravity of permanent injuries that result in a reduced quality of life and diminished earning capacity. As a general rule, the civil law does make the person at fault in the accident responsible for paying all associated costs. However, in situations where the defendant is personally liable, it can be difficult to collect such large amounts from them or their insurance company. This is why aggressive representation from an experienced personal injury attorney is necessary.

Why was the verdict so large?

During any civil lawsuit, an attorney asks for an amount of money that is related to the actual harms that the plaintiff has endured. The legal term for this amount is called damages. Because the victim in the story above required extensive medical care and can no longer work, all of these costs can be added up in the amount of damages recorded in the complaint when the lawsuit is initially filed.

As this story shows, diminished earning capacity and future lost wages can be one of the most significant aspects of a civil lawsuit. If someone can no longer work because of their injuries, the person responsible for the accident essentially has to pay out the amount of money they would have earned for the rest of their life. This can easily turn into a very large amount because the plaintiff can multiply their annual earnings by years or even decades depending on their age.

The chances of winning

Each lawsuit is different and this needs to be discussed with an accident attorney based on the facts of the particular accident. The negligence laws in Florida and elsewhere in the country are favorable to plaintiffs because they can still collect even if they are partially at fault for the accident. This doctrine is called comparative negligence. In simple terms, this makes it easier for a victim to be entitled to money even when they are somewhat at fault for their accident, rather than preventing them from collecting entirely.

Local personal injury attorneys are available to help

If you have been injured in any kind of accident in the West Palm Beach area, there are lawyers who can speak with you and file a lawsuit on your behalf if necessary. Contact Smith and Vanture to start this process with a free case evaluation.