Damages in Alexandria Car Accident Cases

When someone is in a car accident in Alexandria, they very likely may wish to seek damages. After a car accident, it may be possible to recover damages in three main ways: medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of wages. There are multiple forms of damages that an injured person can claim, and multiple ways in which the claim can be made. An Alexandria car accident attorney can provide clarity and guidance in this regard.

Property Damages

Who pays for property damages after a car accident may depend on an individual’s insurance coverage. If someone has collision automobile coverage, which most newer vehicles have, then their insurance may cover the cost to fix the property damage minus the individual’s deductible. However, a person may be able to include the cost of their deductible as part of their claim against any other drivers or others at fault.

If someone does not have collision coverage, then the other party’s insurance company will pay to fix the vehicle. In these types of cases, repairs may take some time because the insurance company will need to have someone come in person to inspect the vehicle and then the insurance company will require that their own car dealers fix it. The process may be slower in these cases.

For this reason it is important to make sure that people have property damage coverage from their own insurance company so that it may handle their property damage and fix it more quickly and easily.

Medical Expenses

Recovery of medical expenses generally includes the charges for all the medical treatment from the injured party’s healthcare provider. This could also include future medical expenses.

Future medical expenses are considered if a doctor concludes that the individual’s injuries are permanent and will require long-term medical treatment. In these cases, the doctor may estimate the cost of medical treatment that the individual may need for the rest of their life. These damages depend on life expectancy, which is based on tables created by the Social Security Administration. Calculating future medical expenses requires the multiplication of the cost of annual medical expenses by the remaining years of life expectancy. This is also done for pain and suffering and loss of wages depending on how much life would be affected in the future.

Pain and Suffering Damages

Pain and suffering is compensation for how an individual’s life has been affected following the accident. To recover for pain and suffering, they must present specific evidence in court of things they are no longer able to do or things they are limited in doing because of the injuries they sustained as a result of the accident. For example, if they used to go bowling or running regularly, but can no longer do so. Even the inability to partake in everyday activities such as picking up children counts towards pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering is calculated by the length of the active medical treatment as well as the length of time the individual is expected to be affected and/or have been affected by the injuries caused by the accident. Therefore, pain and suffering damages depend on the specific limitations a person faces, and how long these limitations will last.

Loss of Wages

A third element of damages is recovery for the loss of wages for missing time from work as result of injuries sustained in the accident. If the results of the injury are permanent or long-term, future wage loss for the individual’s life expectancy will also be calculated.

Damages Covered by Auto Insurance

What personal auto insurance covers depends on an individual’s specific policy. In Virginia, the minimum policy insurance limits for driving on a roadway are $25,000 per individual and $50,000 per accident. Therefore, if someone has this minimum policy but suffer damages in excess of $25,000, they would either take the $25,000 from the insurance company or they could try to obtain a higher judgment from the other individual involved in the accident personally and forego the insurance policy. If they choose to go after the other person, it is important to make sure that the person has sufficient assets in their name that can be used to cover that judgment. Otherwise, the individual may be better off taking the total of their insurance policy, even if it is less than the damages that they are claiming.

Benefit of an Attorney

An Alexandria attorney can help their client get a favorable estimate of the value of their case and then would negotiate with the other side to get as close to that value as possible. If someone goes forward without an experienced attorney, they may have to guess the value of the case. This is problematic because either there may not be any validity to the figure or the figure may be undervaluing the case. In either instance, the individual may be unable to recover what they are entitled to.

Reviewing the Insurance Policy

An individual can only recover from their own insurance policy if they have what is called underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). This means that if the other person involved in the accident was at fault and they only have the minimum policy of $25,000, but the injured party has a policy limited at $100,000, their insurance would cover what the other party’s insurance cannot. Thus, if someone’s damages exceed the policy of the other individual, they would tender their policy or offer their policy and settlement of $25,000, and then make a claim against their own insurance policy for the remaining $75,000.

The attorney can review their client’s own insurance policy to identify if there is any underinsured motorist coverage that could be triggered in case damages exceed the liability limits of the at-fault person.