It is impossible to put a price on everything a serious personal injury cost you in terms of economic and noneconomic damages. You might never fully recover from a bad accident in Virginia. While nothing can reverse your damages, the civil justice system can do its best to reimburse you appropriately for your damages if someone else caused them. The value of every case is unique. Recognizing what your Virginia personal injury case could be worth can help you with insurance settlement negotiations. It can also help you understand when hiring a lawyer could be in your best interests.
Types of Damages Payable
Civil laws in Virginia enable an injured accident victim to seek financial restitution for both his or her economic (tangible) and noneconomic (intangible) losses. After a car accident, for example, you may be able to bring a claim for the money the crash cost you as well as any personal losses, such as your grief over the death of a loved one. A personal injury settlement or judgment award in Virginia could repay you for many different types of damages as a claimant.
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages
- Property damage expenses
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional injuries or distress
- Lost quality or enjoyment of living
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death damages
- Punitive damages
The types of compensable losses that apply to your claim will depend on your accident, injury, and experience. The value of your case will change according to how long your injury will force you out of work, how much psychological trauma you suffered and many other factors. A lawyer can analyze your case and help you understand which monetary damages you might be able to seek from the defendant. In general, the more severe your injuries and losses, the more your personal injury case will be worth.
Laws to Know in Virginia
Your personal injury claim could have many different elements that ultimately alter the value of the case. These could include permanent disabilities or a defendant’s gross negligence. Several Virginia-specific laws could also affect your case. A personal injury lawyer could help you navigate these laws in pursuit of maximum financial compensation. If you have catastrophic or life-changing injuries, hiring a lawyer could be the most effective way to achieve fair compensation.
- Pure contributory negligence rule. Virginia is one of the only states that has not updated its contributory negligence law to a more enlightened version of it: comparative negligence. Under Virginia’s contributory negligence law, if the courts find you at all responsible for causing your injuries (even by 1%), you will lose all right to recover compensation. Your lawyer must prove the defendant was 100% at fault.
- Punitive damages. The civil courts in Virginia have jurisdiction to grant punitive damages to plaintiffs in personal injury claims. This is an additional type of compensation awarded to punish the defendant for gross misconduct, recklessness or intent to harm. It is up to a judge’s discretion whether or not to give a punitive award. Most cases do not result in punitive recovery.
- Damage caps. A damage cap is a maximum amount of money a plaintiff can receive for a certain type of damage under state law. Virginia places a $350,000 maximum on punitive damages. There is also a cap of $2 million on total damages for medical malpractice claims. All other claim and damage types, however, do not have maximum recovery limits in Virginia.
Your actions could affect the overall value of your Virginia personal injury claim. Taking the correct steps, such as hiring a lawyer right away, could help you maximize the money you receive from an at-fault party. A skilled fairfax personal injury lawyer can identify one or more defendants, accurately evaluate your losses, collect evidence, and go up the other side of your case in pursuit of the best possible outcome on your behalf.