Many people who have been in a car, motorcycle, truck, or pedestrian accident in Virginia want to know what their case is worth.
In Virginia, the legal term “damages” is used to measure the sum of money awarded to a person injured by the negligence of another. In fact, proof of damages is an essential part of proving the case. Unless a person has suffered some legally recognized damages, they will not have a claim.
Virginia recognizes several categories of damages. One category, called “compensatory damages” are available to make the injured person “whole” again. Compensatory damages include three basic components:
- Medical and other expenses incurred, or likely to be incurred in the future, as a result of the injury.
- Lost income and lost future earning capacity, including loss of wages or the value of any lost time or earning capacity where the injuries prevent work.
- Physical and mental pain and suffering as a result of the physical injuries including emotional distress and consciousness of loss.
In addition to compensatory damages, punitive damages may be available. Punitive damages are designed to punish the irresponsible driver for his or her conduct and deter others from acting similarly. However, punitive damages are not available in an ordinary case. Rather, it must be shown that the driver’s conduct was egregious or “willful and wanton” in order to seek punitive damages. In Virginia, punitive damages of up to $350,000 can be requested.
A person may also recover for damage to their property.
There is no magic calculator or formula that will tell you what your case is worth. What a value a case has is a very subjective analysis. Reasonable people can and will not necessarily agree on what a case is worth. An accident lawyer’s job is to marshal the facts and law to make the best argument on your behalf. Some of the factors that can affect what you may be able to recover include:
- Is liability clear cut or is there a dispute as to who was at fault? For example, was it a rear end collision where liability is not contested?
- Are there any aggravating factors, such as alcohol/intoxication, racing, or texting and driving? Are the aggravating factors egregious enough to make punitive damages available?
- How much damage was done to the vehicles? Extensive damage to the vehicles can help substantiate significant injuries.
- When were your injuries first reported? At the accident scene? Were you transported from the scene by ambulance or did your symptoms appear days or weeks later?
- What is the extent of your injuries?
- What was the medical diagnosis?
- What treatment did you receive?
- Did you continue to consistently receive treatment after the accident and are you continuing with your treatment now?
- Will you fully recover or are your injuries permanent?
- What medical or other care will be required in the future?
- What is the total cost of all medical treatment received and required in the future?
- What is the impact of injuries on your daily life?
- What have you suffered in the way of pain and mental anguish? What are the emotional and psychological consequences of the injuries?
- Did you have to miss work?
- Is your earning capacity for the future diminished?
- What physical evidence was preserved at the scene
- Are there any third party witnesses?
- How does the police officer's investigation tie in?
- What insurance coverage is available? This includes both the defendant’s liability insurance and your uninsured/underinsured coverage.
These are just some of the factors that can affect the value of your case. If you would like to discuss your auto or other accident case, we can help you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
To speak with a Fairfax personal injury lawyer about your case and how to recover compensation in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia, contact Manikas Law LLC by calling 703-556-0004, or use the “Contact Us” box at the bottom of this page to tell us about your case.