An event, such as a motor vehicle or slip and fall accident, that results in an injury can have long-term physical and emotional consequences. Sleep problems that are the result of brain trauma or anxiety caused by an accident may be included in the damages outlined in a personal injury claim.
An experienced personal injury lawyer huntington wv can evaluate the unique circumstances surrounding your case and advise you on what to expect when pursuing legal action against the negligent party.
What Are Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Each personal injury case is different; however, courts allow the injured party to pursue remuneration for their losses. A plaintiff in a civil lawsuit may be awarded compensatory and punitive damages.
Compensatory Damages for Sleep Problems in a Personal Injury Claim
As the name suggests, compensatory damages are meant to compensate the injured party for losses suffered. They may include economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages include the actual costs associated with the accident. If sleep problems are related to a traumatic brain injury, for example, the out-of-pocket expenses related to that physical damage would be included here. They may involve current and future losses, such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property repairs or replacement
- Diagnostic tests
- Medical equipment
- Physical therapy
- In-home care
- Cancelled memberships and events
In some situations, the court may determine that the plaintiff’s sleep disruptions are the result of the emotional trauma associated with a personal injury accident and award noneconomic damages. While this type of injury is more subjective than the monetary losses associated with economic damages, they can be just as devastating. Noneconomic damages for sleep problems may include:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant, and they serve as a warning to others who might otherwise consider the same path. They’re only awarded in rare circumstances. To meet the burden of proof, the Supreme Court has determined that the plaintiff must show that “the defendant . . . actually appreciated the severity of the risk before consciously disregarding it.”
In other words, the defendant knew the actions would likely cause an unreasonable risk of harm to others and intentionally disregarded that knowledge. When awarded, punitive damages are in addition to compensatory damages.
How Are Damages for Sleep Problems Calculated in Personal Injury Cases?
Courts typically use either the multiplier or per diem method to calculate noneconomic damages.
The Multiplier Method
Courts and insurance companies may calculate pain and suffering compensation by using the total amount awarded for economic damages and multiplying it by a number that ranges between one and five. In this instance, five would represent the most serious injuries.
Take, for example, the economic damages from a truck accident are calculated at $2,000,000. The court then determines that the subsequent noneconomic pain and suffering damages are of the most serious consequence, multiplying the $2,000,000 by five. In this case, a $10,000,000 judgment would be added to the economic damages, for a total of $12,000,000.
The Per Diem Method
The per diem method calculates the number of days an individual’s life was negatively impacted by sleep problems associated with a personal injury accident. For illustrative purposes, a person who normally earns $200 per day is unable to perform their usual job or tasks because of poor concentration or anxiety for three months. In this instance, the court would multiply $200 by 90 days and award $18,000 in noneconomic damages. As with the multiplication method, these damages are in addition to the economic, or out-of-pocket compensation.
How To Prove Sleep Problems Occurred Because of a Personal Injury Accident
Just as with economic damages, the injured also should gather evidence to support their claim for sleep problems. The sleep disturbance must be a direct result of the accident, and regardless of whether it’s physical or emotional in nature, it needs to be documented.
A brain and other physiological trauma can be supported with MRI images or CT scans. However, it’s also imperative to talk to your doctor about any psychological disturbances that are causing sleep loss. In each instance, medical documentation of the injury provides a link between the onset of the sleep problem and the accident.
Why Hire a Memphis Personal Injury Attorney for Sleep Problems?
Personal injury cases are complex. They are time-consuming and require in-depth knowledge of the state’s laws regarding negligence. An experienced personal injury attorney from Pickford Law, PLLC can help you navigate the legal system and advocate for your rights.