We’ve been discussing in recent posts the topic of brain and spinal cord injury, and the importance of working with an experienced attorney to accurately establish damages at trial. Maximizing damages, of course, is probably the most important aim of litigation in most cases, so it is really important to build a strong case in this area.
Damages vary according to type and the grounds for entitlement, and an experienced attorney knows the importance of establishing the correct theory for the type of damages sought. Compensatory damages, whether economic or non-economic, require a clear showing of the costs—both actual and projected—of a brain or spinal cord injury.
In establishing entitlement to compensatory damages in brain and spinal cord injury cases, particularly the projected costs, it may be necessary to secure the services of a damages expert. An expert will be able to provide technical and scientific insight and testimony for the jury in formulating a damages award. This includes information about the plaintiff’s prognosis for recovery, the long-term effects of the injury, and the long-term costs associated with the injury.
In cases where the defendant demonstrated particularly egregious conduct, it is also important to consider the possibility of entitlement to punitive damages and, in cases where there is such entitlement, to establish a firm basis for punitive damages at trial.
Punitive damages are different from compensatory damages in that their purpose is not to compensate the victim, but rather to punish the defendant. In our next post, we’ll look a bit more at this issue.