Bifurcating a trial, or splitting it into separate liability and damage phases, is a tactic often employed by defense counsel to preclude information about the victim’s injuries from being presented until after liability is determined. It is important to understand how a bifurcated trial may impact one’s rights and to retain a lawyer who is prepared to oppose such a request. In this article, we will discuss how damages are calculated in the aftermath of a catastrophic injury. If you or a loved one has been injured, we recommend contacting an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.
Working in the oil industry can pose serious risks to those onsite in oil fields or offshore rigs. When catastrophic accidents occur, victims may suffer serious injuries requiring long-term medical treatment, permanent damage, or even death. Victims may be entitled to recover damages from the responsible parties when the accident results from their negligence or willful misconduct. Damages may include direct expenses, such as past and future lost wages, medical expenses, or funeral expenses. Victims may also be entitled to recover damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, or punitive damages. Depending upon the nature of the injuries and the details of the accident, it can be difficult to quantify a victim’s damages. This is particularly true in serious injury cases, such as those resulting from explosions, fires, or oil rig collapses. An experienced personal injury law firm will have the resources and personnel to conduct a full investigation, consult with medical professionals, and identify all potential defendants to help victims receive the compensation to which they are entitled.
Given the potential severity of injuries and complex factors in these types of matters, expert witnesses play an important role in calculating damages. For instance, if a family’s primary breadwinner suffers a broken neck and is permanently prevented from working in the future, their family may be entitled damages equal to the loss of future wages. It may be necessary to engage an economist to estimate what would have been the victim’s future earning potential. Suppose, for example, the victim was being trained as a potential foreman at the time of the accident and would likely have received a series of promotions during his career. A vocational expert or economist with knowledge about similar employment trajectories and income expectations could help demonstrate future potential wages. In addition, given the nature of the injuries sustained, the victim’s physicians anticipate that he will need life-long nursing care, multiple surgeries and may never regain the use of his legs. Medical experts, such as surgeons, physical therapists, or even psychologists may be asked to help quantify the estimated damage amounts.
When a tragic oil field accident occurs, it is imperative to retain experienced personal injury counsel to help you navigate the process. When interviewing attorneys we suggest that you look for a firm with multiple lawyers on staff who are Board Certified in Personal Injury Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, with an investigator on-site, and with adequate financial resources. These traits should be sought regardless of whether you were injured in the areas of Fort Worth, Dallas, or elsewhere.