Accidents are an inevitable part of life. However, when you are seriously injured by the negligent actions of someone else, you have the right to pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses under the law. A qualified personal injury lawyer can help.
Types of Personal Injury Claims in Virginia
A personal injury claim is a civil action seeking monetary compensation when someone has been injured due to the negligence of another person. It is separate from any criminal charges that the court may file as a result of the accident. However, the evidence in the criminal case might be used to establish negligence in the personal injury case.
Common types of personal injury claims include:
- Car accident
- Commercial truck accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Bicycle accident
- Pedestrian accident
- Slip and fall or premises liability claim
A wrongful death claim is a type of personal injury claim filed by the surviving family members of someone who lost their life in a fatal accident. It can be thought of as an extension of the personal injury claim the victim would have been legally entitled to file if they had lived.
Typically, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. If you do not file your claim within this timeframe and no exception applies, your case will be dismissed and you will lose your right to compensation.
Available Damages in a Personal Injury Case
Although many personal injury cases only involve minor injuries, you may still be entitled to substantial monetary damages. Don’t assume your case isn’t worth pursuing until you’ve consulted a qualified personal injury lawyer.
Personal injury cases usually involve two types of damages.
- Economic damages. Also known as specific damages, these are damages that can be documented with a precise dollar amount. This includes medical expenses, such as emergency care, physical therapy, medications, surgery, and the anticipated cost of future medical care for a permanently disabling injury. Lost wages and the value of any lost earning potential due to disability are also included in this category of damages.
- Non-economic damages. Also known as general damages, these are damages that compensate the injury victim for their losses that have a subjective value. This includes their physical pain, emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages are awarded solely to punish the negligent defendant. They are only awarded in cases where there is evidence to prove intentional, willful, or wanton misconduct. For example, punitive damages might be awarded in a case where a drunk driver with an extremely high blood alcohol content or a history of past-alcohol related offenses causes serious injury to others. Punitive damages are awarded to ensure that the conduct is not repeated in the future.
Why Experienced Legal Representation Is Essential
If you are suffering mental, physical, or emotional pain due to the negligence of someone else, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney right away so they can protect your legal rights. Personal injury attorneys gather the important facts related to your claim that are needed to hold the responsible party legally accountable.
The majority of personal injury claims can be settled out of court. A qualified personal injury attorney can negotiate on your behalf for the highest possible compensation.
If a suitable settlement agreement can’t be reached, a personal injury attorney will prepare your case for court, present effective arguments in the trial, and represent your interests throughout the process.
Don’t take chances dealing with impossible insurance companies by yourself. They have teams of lawyers working for them, so it’s vital that you have someone who can advocate for your interests. Let your personal injury lawyer focus on the legal aspect of your recovery so you can direct your attention to what matters most—healing from your injuries and moving forward with your life.
James E. Short, PLC has extensive experience helping injury victims clients from Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to request a consultation to discuss how to best proceed with your personal injury case.