If you experience an injury due to an accident someone else causes, you can expect to receive damages covering your calculable expenses, including medical treatment and lost wages. However, damages for non-economic losses are not as easy to determine.
These are the factors a Virginia jury may consider when deciding if you are due compensation for your pain and suffering.
Your degree of fault
Virginia bars individuals from obtaining damages if they share any degree of responsibility for their injuries. Therefore, if the other party can convince a jury that you have a minor role in causing your injury, you will not receive compensation for pain and suffering and also forfeit economic damages.
Virginia law does not limit your compensation for pain and suffering after an injury due to someone else’s negligence, except under specific circumstances. The amount you receive starts with an examination of physical, objective evidence, including copies of your medical records, doctors’ notes describing your injuries, treatment and prognosis, prescriptions for pain and photos of your injuries.
Pain and suffering damages also hinge upon subjective evidence including your testimony about how your injuries impact your life. For example, you may describe physical limitations and your inability to participate in activities you enjoy. You may also describe the emotional consequences, including depression, anxiety and frustration.
Testimony from others
A jury may also base pain and suffering damages on testimony from friends and family close to you who can describe your physical struggles and mood changes. The testimony of a mental health professional treating you for the emotional consequences of your injuries is also valuable.
Although Virginia does not limit pain and suffering damages for your injury due to someone else’s negligence, maximizing your compensation requires a thoughtful strategy.