After a serious accident, it's possible that one of your joints may be so damaged that the only effective treatment option is to replace it. A knee or hip replacement after a catastrophic fall, for example, may be the best way for you to regain the mobility that you lost in the accident. If you've hired a personal injury attorney and are filing a lawsuit against the owner of the property on which you fell, you need to consider the cost of this major surgical procedure carefully. Your suit should ask for damages for the cost of the joint replacement and your pain, but don't forget to ask for future damages. Here are some specific future costs to evaluate.
Future Joint Replacement
It's an error to think that once you have a joint replaced, you're set for life. The reality is that artificial joints have a lifespan that may be shorter than you expect. For example, a knee replacement should last you around 20 years, but if you're young enough that you expect to live beyond this mark, you're apt to need another surgery to replace your original joint replacement. The cost of this procedure should factor into what you ask for in future damages.
Time Away From Work
Try to factor what your life may look like in 20 years or so. It's possible that you'll be retired when you need the joint replaced again, but it's also possible that you'll still be working. This is likely if you were on the younger side at the time of the original accident and injury. If you expect to be working, evaluate how much time you will need off work. You'll also need to estimate what you may be making as a salary at that time. This can be difficult, but a look at your employment history to notice trends of how much your earnings have increased over time could give you an idea. You'll then want to ask for an appropriate amount of money based on how much work you'll miss for the second surgery.
Other Surgery-Related Expenses
As you continue to think about the need for a future joint replacement two decades from now, consider the other expenses that you'll incur. For example, it's common to need a substantial amount of physical therapy after a joint replacement, and you may also need to rent or buy assistive devices. It's not right for these expenses to come out of your pocket, given that the defendant's negligence is responsible for everything related to your injury. Evaluate these future expenses so that you can include them when you ask for future damages.
For more information, reach out to a personal injury lawyer.