How Much Is Your Personal Injury Case Worth?

Norfolk Car Accident Attorney - Richard SerpeWhat’s Your Personal Injury Case Worth?

If you find yourself injured because of someone else’s negligence, you might be considering your options. Hiring a personal injury lawyer may indeed be the right choice for your situation, but undoubtedly, you’re looking for answers about what your case could be worth. The answer? It’s complicated.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages – the most common type – are an attempt to make up for the pain and suffering a plaintiff experienced. Attorneys must try to put a dollar figure on the cost of that pain and suffering, which can be difficult. In some cases, compensatory damages can be straightforward; if a pedestrian is hit by a car and breaks his leg, the attorney might seek payment for the victim’s medical bills. Other times, however, determining compensatory damages isn’t as clear. The same victim with the broken leg might have been a competitive cyclist who can no longer compete, let alone cycle, due to his injury. Figuring out a monetary value for this loss of enjoyment is anything but simple.

Types of compensatory damages include:

  • Medical bills: Whether you need an ambulance ride to a hospital, a life-saving surgery, or years of physical therapy– medical bills can add up quickly. Why should you be responsible for these bills when someone else’s negligence caused your injuries? A personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation for those bills, as well as any future medical expenses associated with your injury.
  • Lost income: If you’re hospitalized after your accident, there’s a good chance you’ll miss work while you recuperate. That lost income shouldn’t be written off – seek the paychecks you missed out on. Accidents can put people out of work for months or permanently, so the loss of earnings should also be included in your settlement.
  • Pain and suffering: Long after the physical wounds heal, the emotional pain of an accident can linger. Pain and suffering may be included in your settlement. 
  • Wrongful death: If your loved one was killed because of someone else’s negligence, you’re probably grief-stricken and wondering how you’ll shoulder medical bills, funeral costs – not to mention the loss of future income for your family. The emotional loss cannot be understated, either. The loss of companionship and affection is irreplaceable. The Virginia wrongful death statute allows certain family members to bring a claim for the losses they have suffered from the death of a loved one.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are less common than compensatory damages. They occur when a defendant has acted outrageously careless. Punitive damages serve as a deterrent for both the defendant and the community at large. It sends a message, loud and clear, warning people not to act so careless with the lives of others. These damages can sometimes reach millions of dollars, but most states have set a cap on these rewards in personal injury cases.

Your Actions Can Affect Your Settlement

Your action – or lack thereof  – can be a huge factor in determining the worth of your case. If you’re even partially to blame for the accident, the damages awarded will likely reflect it. Some states even follow the idea of “contributory negligence,” wherein the plaintiff is not eligible for damages if they were partially to blame. Also, failing to mitigate damages can trip up plaintiffs seeking damages– did you faile to get medical treatment after the accident, which in turn made your injuries worse?

There’s no easy answer to this tricky, complex question. Thankfully, a good attorney can help you arrive at a number you feel fairly compensates you for your losses.

Virginia Personal Injury Lawyers

Virginia personal injury attorney Richard Serpe represents victims and their families who have suffered serious injury due to someone else’s negligence. We offer a no fee promise which means you don’t owe us any legal fees unless we settle or win your case. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact us to discuss your rights.

*All cases are different and the results of one case cannot be used as an indication of what our firm may obtain for a similar case.