How Much Is Your Personal Injury Case Worth?

Norfolk Car Accident Attorney - Richard SerpeIf 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

  • Medical bills: Whether its an ambulance ride, a life-saving surgery, or months of physical therapy– medical bills 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. This may also include any future medical care you may need in the future.
  • 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 put people out of work for months or permanently, so the loss of earnings may also be added to your settlement.
  • Pain and suffering: The amount of pain and suffering you endured due to the accident may also be considered in your settlement.
  • Wrongful death: If your loved one was killed because of someone else’s negligence, you’re probably wondering how you will shoulder medical bills, funeral costs – not to mention the loss of future income for your family. The emotional loss of a loved one cannot be understated, either.  The Virginia wrongful death statute allows certain family members to file 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 fail 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 won’t owe us 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.