Have You Been Injured? We're Ready to Fight for You.

Personal Injury Compensation Part 1: Economic or Tangible Damages

Published on Nov 8, 2018 at 2:34 pm in Car Accidents.

The Law Office of Mike Campbell has joined forces with Thomas Law Offices as of September 1st, 2020. Click here for details.

In Missouri, individuals injured through the negligence or recklessness of others in a personal injury case have the ability to seek compensation for both “tangible damages” and “intangible damages.”  “Economic” or “tangible damages” are those things that can be calculated or identified, such as lost wages, lost earning capacity, past medical expenses, and future medical expenses.

We have provided two posts to explain the difference between both types of damages. This is part one of two. For more on “intangible damages” or “non-economic damages” please watch for our post next week.

First off, what are damages?  Damages are something an injured person receives, through a settlement or jury verdict, to compensate them for the harms they suffered a result of that injury. In the American civil justice system, we use money to compensate people as damages. Below are the types of “economic” or “tangible damages” you can receive monetary compensation for in a Missouri personal injury case.

  • Medical expenses: If you are injured by someone else’s actions, then under Missouri law that person is responsible for all of the medical care you received related to that injury.  Although this seems fairly straightforward, many cases involve people who have pre-existing arthritis (or “degenerative disc disease”) or some other medical history that complicates their demand for medical expenses.  As a result, insurance company employees will scour all of your medical records to see if there is something in your past which will justify their denial of paying you for your past medical expenses.  Your attorney’s job is to fight these invasions of privacy and fight for your compensation for these past medical expenses.
  • Billed vs. Paid: In Missouri, the attorney for the insurance company is permitted to show the jury the amount your insurance “paid” for the medical care you received (or the amount they will claim you paid).  Since these adjustments typically do not reflect the true value of the medical care you received, your attorney can also show the amount “billed” by the medical provider before any adjustments.  This is the dispute that is often referred to as “Billed vs. Paid.”  You will want to work closely with your attorney to see what his/her strategy is when it comes to your medical bills and whether you should submit them to the jury.
  • Future medical expenses: If your injuries require future medical care, then the at-fault party is also responsible to cover your future medical care for those injuries as well.  Just like with medical expenses, insurance company employees and their attorneys will fight to show that these medical expenses are unnecessary for your injuries.  Because the injured party is the one bringing the demand or lawsuit, that party has the burden to show that the future medical care is medically necessary under the law.  In a personal injury case, we will do that with the testimony of a medical expert which could include your treating physician or another independent expert.
  • Lost Wages: If you are injured and are unable to work, the at-fault party is responsible for the wages you lost.  In Missouri, we can prove this through pay stubs and employment records, or through some other documentation provided by your employer.  You do not need to provide an insurance adjuster with your tax records, as these contain private information that the insurance company does not need to see!
  • Lost Earning Capacity: In addition to lost wages, another issue in personal injury cases is whether the person’s injuries limit their ability to earn income in the future. Since the injured person making the demand with the adjuster or to a jury has the burden to show future lost earnings, the person will likely need a vocational rehabilitation expert, economist, or life care expert to discuss what types of limitations the person has.  In a personal injury case, we rely upon these experts to give us a full picture of the injured person’s future economic opportunities, in addition to past and future medical expenses.

As you can see, there are a variety of damages that an injured person can claim in a personal injury case.  To ensure you get the compensation you deserve, make sure you demand compensation for all of your tangible and intangible damages. If you have any questions or would like to discuss how our firm can help you with your personal injury case, do not hesitate to contact our office.

Meet Your Team

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out-of-pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Legal & Firm News

Federal Judge Rules Wrongful Death Claims Against Monsanto as Time-Barred

As Bayer announces wanting to keep Roundup on the market for the foreseeable future without adding a warning about the potential cancer risk, a judge in Georgia has ruled a wrongful death claim against Monsanto as time-barred. This ruling, along with Monsanto’s settlement, could affect future cases. To understand why, let’s start by taking a […]

Read More

Car Accident Soreness: What to Expect in the Weeks After a Crash

The moments following a car accident are filled with adrenaline, so much so that even if you’re injured, you may not experience pain. But as your body adjusts and your brain’s chemicals return to their normal state, the pain is likely to start. So even if you seek medical attention and have your injuries treated, […]

Read More

Multi-Vehicle Accidents: Who Pays for Chain Reaction Crashes?

You’re driving down the road on your way to work in heavy traffic. Everything seems standard for your morning commute until you’re sideswiped by a passing vehicle and subsequently rear-ended by the car behind you when you brake. Emergency responders arrive at the scene, and you’re treated for your injuries and told to follow up […]

Read More