One of the most common questions after a dangerous product injury occurs is whether economic damages like medical bills and lost wages are recoverable. That question requires analyzing the extent of the liability. If there is no liability, the case will probably not be worth pursuing and such economic expenses therefore wouldn't be recovered. The main reason for this is the high cost of dangerous product liability cases. Rest assured in these cases product manufacturers spare no expense defending claims against their products. In addition, costs of experts can easily range into the tens of thousands of dollars. Therefore, assessing liability is an important initial question. Once the liability question is answered, the next step is analyzing the extent of the damages.
In a New Jersey dangerous product liability case, two of the most common types of damages recoverable are past and future medical expenses and past and future lost wages.
Under New Jersey dangerous products liability law, the only past medical expenses which can be recovered are out of pocket expenses, co-pays, and deductibles which were not paid by health insurance. Under New Jersey law, bills paid by health insurance are usually not recoverable and likewise, health insurance companies are not allowed to stake a claim on the injured's financial recovery. There is one main exception. The only time a health insurance carrier will be able to recover what it paid on behalf of an injured insured is if the health insurance is provided by the injured's employer pursuant to ERISA or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. An experienced New Jersey injury attorney will know how to resolve these types of issues.
In a dangerous products liability trial in New Jersey, the plaintiff may present evidence of medical expenses, including what health insurance has paid. However, after a verdict and jury award, the trial court will deduct whatever was paid by health insurance from the total award. This is a special rule of recovery in all New Jersey personal injury cases.
Recovering future medical treatment costs is not as complex. Such expenses are recoverable regardless of whether health insurance will be available in the future or not and can be presented by using projections of what treatment will cost. This is done by using special experts known as life care planners who plan out every aspect of future medical treatment, even including things like costs of renovating a home for wheel chair accessibility. Life care plans are usually presented only in serious injury cases.
If a dangerous products liability accident results in lost wages or future lost wages and the plaintiff can prove that the defendant(s) is liable, the plaintiff can recover for past and future lost wages. Past lost wages would be presented by summarizing the time lost from work as a result of the accident. Future lost wages or what is known as "loss of future earning capacity" would be presented by using expert economists to project what the injured person would have made but for the accident and resulting injuries.
There are many other types of damages which can be recovered in a dangerous products liability case in New Jersey. If you'd like more information or would like to discuss your products liability case with our Pennsylvania and New Jersey dangerous products liability attorneys, call 877.944.8396.
**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case.