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Calculating Damages in Vehicular Crashes

“The True Cost of Negligence” July 17, 2023

The aftermath of a car crash can feel overwhelming to deal with, whether it’s a fender-bender or a severe impact. The potential for an accident to have devastating consequences is enormous, both physically and emotionally. The aftermath of a crash can leave you without a car, piles of medical bills, lost wages, and a change in your quality of life. When you’re focusing on your health, the last thing you want to concern yourself with is wondering if the payout will cover all the damages. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. In order to do this, it’s important to understand how damages are calculated in Virginia. 

Virginia is a "No-Fault" State

First and foremost, it's important to note that Virginia operates under a "no-fault" or contributory negligence system when it comes to car accidents. This means that the negligent party is responsible for covering medical expenses and economic losses caused by the accident. If both parties are found partially negligent, they’re responsible for their own expenses. 

Maryland and Washington, DC follow the same system.

How Damages Are Calculated

When determining damages in a personal injury case, several factors come into play. Every detail of the incident will be essential in influencing the amount of compensation you may be entitled to receive. Here are the key factors in determining the amount:

Medical Expenses: The most important thing to do in any accident is to receive prompt medical care. Your health and safety come before all else. Many people are hesitant to receive medical care due to the potential costs; however, medical bills, including hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and assistive devices, are all calculated in the damages. 

Lost Wages: If your injuries have caused you to miss work or have reduced your earning capacity, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and future income loss. 

Pain and Suffering: This category covers the physical and emotional distress caused by the accident, including pain, anxiety, depression, and loss of enjoyment of life. A frequent example of tangible pain and suffering is if the accident caused permanent disability or disfigurement. Virginia has a life expectancy table to determine an estimate of how long an individual’s life will theoretically be impacted by the crash, which is used to quantify this type of damage.

Property Damage: If your vehicle or other property was damaged in the accident, the cost of repair or replacement will be factored into the damages.

Other Economic Losses: Additional economic losses, such as transportation expenses for medical appointments or modifications to your home to accommodate disabilities, may also be included in the calculation.

Some other factors will be considered, but are not present in every car accident or personal injury case. These are determined by the facts of the case, and the nature of the plaintiff's injuries. This include:

  • Future medical expenses

  • Future lost wages

  • Permenancy

  • Scarring

  • Disfigurement

Maximizing Your Compensation

While every case is unique, there are several steps you can take to maximize your chances of obtaining the highest possible payout for your personal injury claim. To quantify the damages payout, documentation is required. As previously mentioned, medical care is of utmost importance, as well as following through with any recommended treatments, such as physical therapy. This will improve your overall health after the crash and also establish a documented record of your injuries. Additionally, you must keep detailed records of all expenses that were a direct result of the crash. Medical bills, medication receipts, mechanic reports, and any other relevant documentation. This will provide a solid foundation of evidence for calculating damage amounts.

Of course, enlisting the help of a personal injury attorney will make the process run much smoother. Your attorney will ensure that your rights are protected, help you gather evidence, and negotiate settlements on your behalf. At Blaszkow Legal, we are committed to fighting for our clients’ best interests and ensuring that they have the best chance of a fair settlement. To schedule a consultation to discuss your claim, call (703) 879-5910 today.