In the course of recovering from an injury one hopes that the process follows a fairly predictable, linear path. For some injuries, the initial diagnosis leads to a straightforward treatment plan that proceeds without setbacks until the patient is fully recovered. But for many patients, setbacks are a frustrating reality of the recovery process. When a significant change takes place during the course of a lawsuit it may be possible to update the damages claimed in the suit to account for those changes.
Amending complaints to account for fresh information
A lawsuit is started by filing a complaint with the appropriate court. In a complaint, the plaintiff describes the basic facts of the case and makes claims against the defendant for damages. At the preliminary stage, damages can be based on a rough estimate of all the monetary and nonmonetary costs associated with the injury: past and anticipated medical bills, lost wages, pain, and so on. For a period of time while a case is pending, claims for damages can be updated as the plaintiff uncovers details that change the scope of appropriate damages.
For a case that gets resolved through settlement negotiations, a plaintiff can use the claims in a complaint as leverage to improve the negotiated outcome. The key is that a defendant is not obligated to pay, and won’t agree to pay, costs that the plaintiff hasn’t proved with sufficient reliability to make it clear that the defendant will be held liable for it if the case were to go all the way to trial.
Proving new damages
To get compensation for any kind of damages a plaintiff must be able to prove their value and that they were caused by the defendant’s wrongful action. Causation can create interesting challenges for plaintiffs who find that their injuries are getting worse over time. The defendant may argue that an intervening cause, such as the plaintiff’s own lack of care with regard to the injury or mistakes by the plaintiff’s doctor, has made the injury worse and therefore the defendant should not be held responsible for the worsened condition.
The issue of causation often requires support from the plaintiff’s treating physician. A doctor can testify about the nature of the plaintiff’s injuries and how their prognosis has changed over time. For complex cases, expert witnesses may be needed to help the court understand how an injury could grow worse over time while still being traceable to the defendant’s negligence.
The potential for changes is one of many good reasons for working with an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented Nevada clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. Call today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or request a call through our website.