If you need to file a claim for injuries caused by a car accident, slip and fall accident, medical malpractice, or another type of personal injury accident, it is important that you understand the basics in a personal injury action. This includes learning about the specific dealings with an insurance company and what the statute of limitations is for filing a lawsuit, and steps you should take in your case. It is also important to learn about what type of compensation you are entitled to.
Calculating the value of your claim can be complicated. However, an experienced personal injury attorney who has handled cases similar to yours and has a track record of success can help value your claim and negotiate your settlement so that you receive what you deserve from the negligent party.
Types of Compensation Could You Receive in a Personal Injury Case
There are two general types of compensation—also referred to as damages—awarded in personal injury claims: compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate you for your injuries. Punitive damages are assessed as a punishment against the negligent party and are rarely awarded in personal injury cases. Types of compensation that you may be entitled to include:
- Medical expenses. Reimbursement of medical expenses will be a component of most personal injury claims. This includes doctor visits, surgery, physical therapy, medications, assistive aids, necessary modifications to your home, and travel expenses if needed to obtain medical care. You will need to wait until you reach your maximum medical recovery from your injuries or receive a final prognosis from your doctor so that you can include all future medical expenses that you will incur in your settlement offer.
- Lost wages. You are entitled to your past and future wages for the time you are off work recovering from your injuries. You should also request compensation for any lost sick and vacation time, promotions, commissions, bonuses, and other perks of your job that you will have lost due to your injuries. If you must make a career change, have future wage losses, or are permanently disabled, you may need to retain an economic expert to calculate the value of your lost wages and lost earning capacity.
- Property loss. If your vehicle, electronic devices, or other property was damaged in your accident, you may be entitled to be reimbursed for the repair costs or the property’s fair market value.
- Pain and suffering. A large portion of your settlement could be for the pain and suffering and emotional trauma that you endured during the accident and due to your injuries. You will need the assistance of an attorney to accurately determine the amount you should receive since it is based on less tangible factors than other portions of your claim.
- Wrongful death. If a family member died as a result of an accident, you could be entitled to bring a wrongful death action against the person or business who caused his or her death. In a wrongful death action, you could receive funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses for his or her pre-death injuries. Also, you may be entitled to damages for the loss of the financial support, companionship, and consortium of your loved one. In addition, you may receive damages for the loss of the inheritance you would have received if your family member had lived a normal life.
- Punitive damages. Punitive damages are only awarded in Virginia if an accident victim can show that the negligent party acted with malice or engaged in willful and wanton misconduct. There is a $350,000 cap on the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded.
Did you or a family member suffer injuries in a personal injury accident? The experienced personal injury attorneys at Greenspun Shapiro PC are committed to thoroughly investigating our clients’ accidents and vigorously fighting to obtain the compensation they deserve. We are not afraid to take a case to trial when the insurance company refuses to agree to a reasonable settlement. To learn how we can assist you, call our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.