Personal Injury and Medical Expenses
If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of someone else, there is a chance that you can make a case against that person in court and seek damages. But, what exactly can the court award you in terms of financial help for your medical expenses? You might hear of people walking away with millions of dollars from a personal injury case, but this is not usually what happens. Rather, for personal injury and medical expenses, an injured party can only get funds for future medical expenses that are considered “reasonably certain” to occur. The court case Hitchcock v. Mahaffey shows what can happen if the court doesn’t stick to this definition.
Ms. Mahaffey was struck by a vehicle that Ms. Hitchcock was driving and was seriously injured. Mahaffey took Hitchcock to court to seem damages for her injuries. While the court awarded Mahaffey $250,000 in the first trial for her medical expenses, Hitchcock appealed and was able to get the decision partially reversed.
There were two amounts of money discussed in this case. The first one was for $250,000. This sum was awarded for anticipated future medical expenses related to the car accident. The other amount was $5,365. This specific amount was for an admitted future surgery. As part of the case ruling, the court reminded both parties that the amount of past medical expenses incurred is not (at least by itself) an indicator or reasonable basis for a jury to award future medical expenses. As a result, the court ordered a remittitur, which threw out the original jury verdict and would significantly lower the original $250,000 amount awarded. Alternately, if both parties are unable to agree to the remittitur, there would be a new trial solely on the issue of the loss of future economic damages.
As you can see, this outcome was not so fortunate for Ms. Mahaffey since she no longer is eligible for the large sum of money she thought she had. The attorneys at SteinLaw are well versed in personal injury and medical expenses. In order to avoid something like this happening to you, contact us today.