Motorcycle accident injury claims in Virginia can lead to significant settlements. That is because the victim is entitled to several types of damages. A good motorcycle accident lawyer can examine the details of a motorcycle accident, identify the responsible parties, gather evidence, and win a settlement that includes multiple forms of compensation. The following sections discuss the damages recoverable from a personal injury claim as well as some Virginia-specific laws that are important to know.
While every personal injury claim is different, many include most or all the following damages:
• Medical bills: The responsible party is generally liable for the victim’s medical bills, both current and future. These costs can include hospital stays, surgeries, doctor visits, physical therapy, medication, and more.
• Lost wages: If a victim must miss work to recover from injuries, he can pursue the responsible party for compensation for the income he would have earned during that period. For instance, a plaintiff who earns $5,000 per month at his job and misses two months of work after an injury is eligible to receive $10,000 in lost wages from the responsible party.
• Reduced earning capacity: This refers to the victim’s ability to continue at his job on a long-term or permanent basis. If lasting physical or mental damage from an injury reduces one’s capacity to earn a living, the responsible party is liable to make up the difference in what the victim is earning now and what he would be making had he not been injured.
• Pain and suffering: Motorcycle accident injury victims may receive compensation for the mental and physical suffering they endure. While this is a subjective area and difficult to quantify, a skilled lawyer can make a case for a significant settlement.
• Punitive damages: Courts award these damages on top of all other compensation in cases where the responsible party was not merely negligent, but reckless or malicious. These damages intend to punish the defendant not compensate the plaintiff.
Virginia has a couple damage caps that limit compensation in a personal injury case. For instance:
• In cases where punitive damages apply, the victim can only recover $350,000.
• If the responsible party is a Commonwealth employee acting within the scope of her
employment, the victim can only recover $100,000.
There is one more law somewhat unique to the Commonwealth of Virginia: the contributory negligence law. This law restricts accident victims from winning compensation from another driver if they shared any fault at all in the crash — even just one percent. Accident victims who think this law might apply to them should speak with a lawyer before speaking with the insurance company or accepting a settlement.