If the jury decides in your favor on the issue of liability (or “fault”), then the same jury will decide as to whether you should be compensated for “damages.”
“Damages” refers to the 1) Past Pain and Suffering (i.e., the suffering from the date of the accident to the date of the verdict – the decision – in your trial); 2) Future Pain and Suffering (i.e., from the date of verdict for whatever period of time into the future that the jury decides you should be compensated); 3) Past economic loss (the dollar amount of money that you lost as a result of your injuries from date of accident to date of verdict); Future economic loss (e.g., lost income because you are permanently injured and unable to work); 4) Past, and Future Medical Expenses.
The jury will listen to your testimony as it relates to the type of injury you sustained, the period of time that you treated with doctors, the type of treatment that you received (e.g., chiropractic, physical therapy, surgery, etc), whether you were required to take pain medication), etc. Also, if you were unable to work (or if you are permanently disabled), the jury will decide if you are entitled to an award based on your economic loss. Your past and future medical costs will be provided by your medical provider.
A medical expert (viz-a-vis, your treating medical doctor) will be required to testify on your behalf. The doctor will testify as to what he or she did to help you, the length of treatment, etc. There will also be testimony relating to causation of your injuries to the accident, a description of your injuries, etc. Also, as stated above, the cost of future treatment, including physical therapy, surgery, etc.
The other side will have an opportunity to present a defense as to damages (i.e., that you do not deserve to be compensated or that you deserve to be compensated in a limited amount). I will discuss the defense on the issue of damages in the next blog, including cross examination of the plaintiff and cross examination of the defense “experts.”