Personal Injury Claim: In Virginia, Can You Get More than You Sued for?

Many people wonder if they can be compensated for more than their attorneys sued for in a Virginia personal injury case. Well, you cannot get more than what you sued for in Virginia. The award will be reduced to the damages sued upon the defendant’s motion. Therefore, knowing how Virginia law works when filing for a personal injury claim is vital.

During the case, a jury can raise your compensation in a Virginia Court after considering the facts provided by both parties. The jury will evaluate the circumstances and decide whether your case deserves more compensation than what the liable party is pushing to pay. This may increase your compensation because your injuries were more severe than they were portrayed. You should know however, that the supreme court of Virginia holds that you can’t receive more than you sued for. Therefore, the judge may most likely reverse down the amount to what you sued for. If the judge doesn’t lower the claim amount, you shouldn’t get excited yet. If the defendant decided to take the matter to the supreme court, you could lose those extra dollars. Therefore, you must have a qualified Virginia personal injury attorney handling your case to help you prepare your case and correctly advise you.

As a victim, you should know all the circumstances surrounding your personal injury claim. This will help you understand the jury’s power when awarding compensation in Virginia and how the final verdict will be made.

How the Jury Evaluates Personal Injury Claims

When you present a personal injury case in Virginia, the jury hears it. Given that the jury is an unknown factor in the case, it is difficult to predict how they will award your case. Every jury has a unique decision, meaning the amount awarded will vary from one trial case to another but will not exceed the damages sued. Keep in mind that the jury may have different reasons to increase your damages. 

During deliberations, the jury may decide to raise or lower the amount your attorney sued for. The jury may raise your personal injury claim if they decide that your damages merit extra compensation. Some of the factors that could make the jury decide to raise your compensation include the following:

  • You lost the ability to work due to the injuries
  • The injuries were severe and resulted in permanent disability

Punitive damages

Punitive damages are allowed in Virginia’s law under certain circumstances. This is one of the circumstances a jury can raise your personal injury claim. While the jury might award you more, the amount will be reduced to the ad damnum if the defense moves a motion against it. Remember that the purpose of punitive damages is to punish defendants for their egregious behavior. Punitive damages apply if any of these factors were at play:

  • The guilty party committed fraud
  • The at-fault party acted with malice
  • The guilty party acted with wanton or willful conduct

While the extra money awarded by the jury might be a welcome surprise, you shouldn’t start celebrating yet. According to Virginia laws, you can’t recover more than what you sued for. The Supreme Court of Virginia categorically states that all personal injury victims cannot recover more than what they sued for. Due to this law, the verdict made by the jury to award you more than what you sued for will not stand. In short, you can’t get more than what you sued for in Virginia. 

If the jury raises your compensation, the Judge will reduce the compensation to the amount sued for upon the defendant’s motion when making the final judgment. Therefore, make sure to get a qualified Virginia attorney to help you calculate the right amount for your personal injury claim, as this is the maximum amount the court can compensate you.

Call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp Today

If you or your loved one have been injured in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, contact an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp for a free consultation or case evaluation. Our Virginia personal injury law attorneys have represented many victims with great success. We have helped them obtain the best financial settlement thanks to our highly skilled attorneys.