One of the most common questions asked by prospective clients is, “what is my claim possibly worth?” It’s a fair question. You probably have medical bills that need to be paid, you may have missed some time from work, and you may even be coming to grips with a permanent, life-altering injury. You want the at-fault party to pay and you want to know what a personal injury claim will secure in terms of a possible settlement or jury verdict.
In total candor, no Virginia personal injury lawyer can give you an accurate settlement number or jury award during the first phone call. There are just too many variables that a responsible attorney needs to consider before even talking numbers. Below are just some of the factors our VA injury law firm considers for every case we decide to accept:
Whether negligence can be proven
This factor is critical for any personal injury claim, whether you’re in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, or elsewhere. If it is impossible to factually demonstrate that a particular party caused your injury, then initiating legal action is extremely difficult. In Virginia, the situation is even more complex since the Commonwealth adheres to the doctrine of contributory negligence. This doctrine states that even if we can prove negligence, if you were partially negligent in causing the accident, then you may be barred from pursuing damages from the at-fault party. It’s an antiquated and unfair doctrine, but it remains the law of the land in VA.
The severity of your damages
Let’s say you’ve been involved in a fender-bender. You have some bruises and were very upset that you had to be late for work because of the accident, but other than that, you have no other damages. Based on those facts, it would be unlikely that we’d prevail in pursuing a personal injury claim. If, on the other hand, you were seriously injured in the accident and had to receive medical treatment at a hospital, you’ve been forced to miss an extensive amount of time from work, and/or your injury has noticeably decreased your quality of life, then you probably have a valid claim that merits taking legal action
Whether you and/or the at-fault policy have insurance coverage
This factor is extremely important in car accident and motorcycle accident cases. Why? Because without an insurance policy, the chances of actually recovering the financial damages you want to pursue becomes much less likely. But keep in mind, even if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or has very little coverage, we can still pursue a claim if you have an insurance policy. How? Through your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage is pretty much standard in most Virginia insurance policies and helps you if a driver with no insurance causes an accident and serious personal injury. To learn more about this important insurance coverage, take a look at this article.