Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience. It can leave you…
In one unfortunate instant, our lives can change completely. However, we can sometimes face problems that are a result of a third person’s actions. This particular action can alter your health, time spent in recovery, and the financial burden that comes along with it.
While words may not express how serious the issue is, numbers can. In fact, one stat from Virginia DMV said that in 2022, there were over 1000 fatalities with almost 60000 injured in car crashes.
With that in mind, worst-case scenario, the odds are you may not recover. However, financial compensation can still help you significantly. Through compensation, you can at least ease any financial strain that arises from these incidents.
Each state or even city has its own laws and procedures when it comes to personal injury claims. So, if you’re injured in Virginia Beach, it’s important to get help from a personal injury attorney who knows the local laws and procedures.
A personal injury attorney in Virginia Beach can help you:
- Understand your legal rights and options.
- Gather evidence to support your claim.
- Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
- File a lawsuit if necessary.
- Get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Don’t try to go through the personal injury claims process on your own. It can be complex and time-consuming. Get help from a personal injury attorney in Virginia Beach who can fight for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.
So, now you may be thinking what are all the scenarios in which I can get the financial support? Actually, there is a good amount of damage types to get you the personal injury claim. You need to know this to get the best claim that you deserve.
I. Compensatory Damages: The Financial Reimbursement You Deserve
Compensatory damages are designed to restore the plaintiff to their original state by awarding monetary compensation for the losses incurred due to the defendant’s actions. These damages are classified into two primary categories:
1. Special Compensatory Damages: Reimbursing Tangible Losses
Special damages encompass measurable financial losses resulting from a personal injury. Some typical instances include:
- Medical Expenses – This involves current and anticipated future medical bills linked to the injury. It covers expenses like hospital and emergency room charges, medications, physical therapy, assistive devices (e.g., wheelchairs, crutches), in-home nursing care, and any other medical treatments required.
- Lost Income and Earning Capacity – Compensation for wages lost due to time taken off work for treatment and recovery. It also addresses reduced capacity to earn income in the future, particularly if the injury leads to long-term disability or impairs one’s career prospects.
- Property Damage – This entails repair or replacement expenses for personal property damage. Items such as vehicles, clothing, eyewear, cell phones, laptops, and other belongings that were damaged or destroyed fall under this category.
- Altered or Canceled Trips and Events – Reimbursement for non-refundable costs incurred due to the alteration, cancellation, or curtailment of travel plans and accommodations. This also covers expenses related to event tickets and any wages lost because of taking time off work.
These special damages are intended to provide direct compensation for the concrete financial losses that the plaintiff has suffered as a direct result of the injury caused by the defendant.
2. General Compensatory Damages: Accounting for Intangible Losses
General compensatory damages cover intangible, non-economic losses that arise from the injury. These include:
- Pain and Suffering – This pertains to monetary compensation for physical pain, discomfort, and any decrease in mobility or abilities stemming from the injury. It also accounts for the emotional distress and trauma experienced due to the accident and the recovery process.
- Emotional Distress – These damages are specifically allocated for any psychological distress caused by the injury. This might encompass anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), loss of independence, feelings of humiliation, diminished self-esteem, and lower confidence.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life – Compensation to address the diminished ability to partake in usual activities, hobbies, and pastimes that once brought joy and an improved quality of life prior to the injury.
- Loss of Consortium – These damages are awarded when the injury negatively impacts the intimacy or strains the relationship between spouses and domestic partners. It covers the loss of companionship, affection, and support that was previously shared.
General compensatory damages aim to provide financial reparation for the non-economic hardships endured by the plaintiff due to the defendant’s actions leading to the injury.
II. Punitive Damages: When Justice Demands More
Unlike compensatory damages, which are about paying back, punitive damages go further to punish and prevent really bad behavior.
1. The Criteria for Awarding Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are not given out as often. To be awarded punitive damages, you need to show:
- Maliciousness or Gross Negligence – This means the person acted really recklessly and ignored the safety and rights of others. They didn’t take normal care and were beyond just making a regular mistake.
- Criminal Acts – In some cases, punitive damages can be added to the regular damages when the wrongdoing was a crime, like drunk driving, assault, fraud, or harassment.
- Public Example – Sometimes, courts give a lot of punitive damages in big cases to show everyone that they shouldn’t do the same bad things.
Punitive damages are kind of like a stronger punishment and are not given out as often as regular damages.
2. The Purpose and Impact of Punitive Damages
Punitive damages have a broader purpose than just making up for what the victim lost. They also aim to:
- Prevent Future Negligence – When people see that big punitive damages can happen, they’re less likely to do the same bad things.
- Punish Really Bad Behavior – The higher penalty punishes the person who did wrong more than just making things right again.
- Bring Satisfaction to Victims – Victims feel that justice is being done when wrongdoers face serious consequences.
III. Wrongful Death Damages: When Tragedy Strikes
In cases of wrongful death, there are extra damages and things to think about when someone’s actions—whether they were careless, negligent, or on purpose—lead to someone losing their life.
1. Special Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
In wrongful death cases, there are specific compensatory damages that might come into play. These could cover:
- Funeral and Burial Costs – Money to cover all the expenses related to the person’s final arrangements, such as funeral services, cremation or burial expenses, headstones or markers, transporting the remains, flowers, and notices in the newspaper.
- Medical Expenses Before Death – Reimbursement for any medical bills that were incurred for treating the person before they passed away.
2. General Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
General damages address the intangible losses experienced by immediate family members. These encompass:
- Loss of Companionship and Guidance – These damages acknowledge the absence of guidance, care, support, and companionship that the deceased used to provide.
- Emotional Distress of Surviving Family Members – Compensation for the emotional pain, sorrow, mental anguish, and suffering that close relatives go through due to the sudden loss.
IV. How to Claim Your Rightful Compensation
If you or someone you care about has been hurt or suffered losses because of someone else’s carelessness or bad behavior, here are the important steps to take for seeking compensation:
1. Consulting an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Having an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side is crucial because they can:
- Thoroughly Investigate Liability – They’ll dig into the details to figure out who’s at fault and put together a strong case.
- Calculate Damages Accurately – They’ll make sure to properly assess both the financial losses and the intangible ones.
- Negotiate With Insurance Companies – They’ll handle discussions with insurance companies to secure a reasonable settlement.
- Pursue Legal Action if Necessary – If things don’t work out, they can take your case to court and represent you effectively.
2. Settlement Negotiations: The Art of the Deal
Often, compensation is settled through back-and-forth talks between attorneys, happening outside of court. Their goal is to come to an acceptable agreement about the damages to be paid to all involved parties.
3. Taking Legal Action: Litigation When Negotiations Fail
If both sides can’t agree on a fair settlement through negotiation, your attorney can take your case to court. They’ll represent you there, and a judge or jury will then decide on the appropriate damages during a trial.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Pain and Suffering Considered Compensatory Damage?
Yes, pain and suffering fall under the category of general compensatory damages meant to account for intangible losses. Methods for calculating appropriate compensation amounts may vary between jurisdictions.
- Can Punitive Damages Be Awarded in Any Personal Injury Case?
No, punitive damages are less frequently awarded since they require clear evidence of malicious intent, gross negligence, or other egregious behavior by the defendant beyond an everyday accident.
- What Recourse Exists If the Defendant Refuses to Pay?
If an at-fault defendant refuses to pay the damages determined through settlement negotiations or awarded by a court, additional legal avenues exist to enforce collection. An experienced personal injury lawyer can advise you throughout this process.
Experiencing an unexpected personal injury can cause a lot of financial worry and confusion. While money can’t undo what happened, knowing about the different types of damages available can help you manage costs, replace lost income, and move towards healing.
Compensatory damages deal with both measurable and harder-to-measure losses, while punitive damages discourage bad behavior. In wrongful death cases, there are added damages available. This way, you can aim for the most reimbursement that the law allows.
Teaming up with an experienced personal injury lawyer gives you the best chance of getting fair compensation and the justice you deserve. Even though the journey to recovery might be long, receiving monetary damages can provide some relief.