What to Expect in Personal Injury Lawsuits
by Jeffrey J. Downey, Esq.
A personal injury lawsuit is the legal action taken by individuals who have been injured due to the negligence of others. This type of lawsuit seeks to recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
An experienced Fairfax personal injury attorney can help accident victims receive the justice they deserve. A Virginia personal injury lawyer can provide legal representation and guidance throughout the entire legal process. Hire an attorney early in the process to protect your rights.
What Can You Expect in Personal Injury Claims?
Personal injury claims are typically filed for a wide range of accidents or incidents. Here’s what you should expect in a personal injury claim:
Before filing a claim, an investigation will be conducted to gather evidence and assess the extent of the injuries. This includes taking photos, interviewing witnesses, and collecting medical records and bills. Sometimes it may be necessary to hire an expert to undertake an accident reconstruction. A personal injury attorney will help you with this investigation and also investigate the available insurance coverage. He can also help you find qualified medical providers to treat your condition if you are without health insurance.
Once the investigation is complete, the injured party’s attorney will negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company for a settlement. The first part of that process will involve the attorney sending a detailed demand package to the insurance adjustor that will include your medical records, bills and all related financial losses, like lost wages. The goal is to reach an agreement that compensates the injured party for their losses and avoids a lengthy court battle.
If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may go to trial. In this scenario, the injured party’s attorney will present evidence and arguments to prove the defendant’s liability and the extent of the damages. If your case goes into litigation, you want to make sure that you hire an experienced trial attorney. Personal injury attorney Jeffrey J. Downey has over 30 years of experience handling complex personal injury cases, including car accidents, truck accidents, bike accidents and premises liability claims.
If successful, the injured party will receive compensation for their damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. The amount of compensation will depend on the severity of the injuries and the impact they have had on the victim’s life.
Personal injury claims can take anywhere from a few months to few years to resolve. The length of time will depend on the complexity of the case and the willingness of the parties to negotiate.
It is always helpful to get an early start on your case and provide a thorough demand package to the adjustor in an effort to avoid litigation.
Personal Injury Damages
The following are the common types of personal injury damages:
Medical expenses are a type of economic damage that covers the cost of medical treatment, including hospitalization, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation. Even if your medical bills were paid through insurance, you have the right to assert them as damages in your lawsuit.
Lost wages are considered economic damages that cover the income an individual would have earned had they not been injured. This includes compensation for missed work days, as well as future lost earning capacity. Once you are injured keep track of all the time you missed from work as well as your pay stubs. Even if you were paid with sick leave, you still have a right to assert your lost wages under the collateral source rule.
Pain and Suffering
Damages for pain and suffering cover the physical and emotional distress caused by the injury. They include compensation for discomfort and emotional distress such as depression and anxiety.
Property damage is a type of economic damage that covers the cost of repairing or replacing any property that was damaged or destroyed as a result of the injury.
Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious, intentional, willful or reckless. These damages are meant to punish the defendant and deter others from engaging in similar behavior in the future. In drunk driving cases, if the defendant had a blood alcohol level over .15 (or more than 210 liters of breath), you will likely have a claim for punitive damages. Keep in mind that in Virginia the cap on punitive damages is $350,000.
Review this link for more information on punitive damages in persona injury cases. (https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title8.01/chapter3/section8.01-44.5/)
Personal injury claims can be complex and time-consuming. It is essential to work with an experienced attorney to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.
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