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How a the monetary value or judegment determined for personal injury? I live in Virginia.

1 Answers. Asked on May 04th, 2012 on Personal Injury - Virginia
More details to this question:
Situation: I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle. The operator of the vehicle was cited for failure to yield on a left hand turn. I was hit while entering the intersection. I spent 5 days in the hospital, had a plate and 8 screws inserted into my leg. I then spent 9 days in a rehabilitation center. Currently I am receiving physical therapy 3 days a week as an outpatient.
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Answered on May 04th, 2012 at 4:07 PM

The monetary value of a judgment is not an easy thing to estimate with complete certainty.  If the case does not settle, then usually (certainly if it were my case) the case would be taken before a jury who would have to determine your "damages."  Your damages are the total amount of money you get for everything that is proven caused by the accident.  This is generally done by proving the accident caused your injuries, and then proving the cost of medical care, lost wages, and showing the jury the affects those injuries have had on your life.

A civil jury in Virginia is made up of seven people.  They will hear the case, hear arguments, and then pick an amount to award you for your total damages.  You get both specific and general damages.  Specific damages are the medical charges for all medical care proven needed as a result of the accident, and all lost wages that occurred because of the accident.  These are easy, definite numbers.  General damages are much more difficult to estimate.  They are for your "pain, suffering and incontinence" - that is physical and mental or emotional pain, and you get an amount for any of that experienced in the past, and for any that are reasonably likely to be experienced in the future.   Basically, a jury is asked to pull this number out of the air, to determine an amount that is fair after hearing everything you have gone through, and will likely go through in the future.  Usually we must wait until the injury has healed fully before we determine what to even demand, or to ask a jury for if a lawsuit is filed in court, because until we know the extent of your damages, and if it is permanent or not (all proven by medical experts), we do not know what to demand.  Often an expert (medical doctor) is needed to show your damages, especially any future damages from a permanent injury.

In trying to settle the case, both sides and their counsel have to try to predict what a jury would do with the case when presented to them.  It is not easy, because one jury of seven people might give $10,000 for pain and suffering while another jury could give $100,000 for the same pain and suffering.  In many ways it is a throw of the dice, but since both sides know this, often cases can settle.  It is up to the client whether to settle or not, with the advice of counsel.

This answer is given in accordance with the laws of Virginia and may not be applicable in any other state.  It should not be construed as legal advice, as that would require a more thorough analysis of all of the facts involved in a specific case.  If you need further information or assistance, please feel free to contact my office for a consultation.

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Personal Injury
Have you been injured in accident that was someone else's fault? Has a doctor's mistake caused long-term health issues? Have you been hurt by a defective product? Under state personal injury laws, you may be entitled to compensation if you are hurt as a result of another person or company's negligent, reckless or deliberate actions. Personal injury lawyers work with the victims of all kinds of accidents, including auto accidents, motorcycle crashes, truck crashes, boating accidents, plane crashes, workplace injuries and railroad accidents. You should also hire a personal injury attorney if you've been injured as a result of dental or medical malpractice, a defective product, nursing home abuse, a slip and fall accident on someone else's property or a dog bite. Your personal injury law firm can help you collect money to pay for medical expenses, temporary or permanent disability, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other injury-related expenses.
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