What Damages Can I Recover in Auto Accident Cases?

The following is excerpted from an interview with Thomas Soldan, an auto accident lawyer in Virginia. He answers questions about liability in such cases.

What might an individual be entitled to recover following an auto accident?

They would be able to recover pretty much the same damages as any other personal injury claim. There are special damages, which would be medical bills. Then there are general damages, which would include pain and suffering, loss of ability to enjoy certain things, and loss of mobility. Then there is the category of potential future pain, future medical care, lost future earnings, future loss of ability, and potential permanent injuries. The determination would be the same as it is in any personal injury case, with the addition of property damage to the vehicle, which is a totally different category than the personal injury.

Is property damage handled differently from injuries in terms of recovery?

Yes, personal injury and property damage are completely separate. They are even typically handled by different adjusters. Oftentimes a person’s own insurance company will handle the property damage part of the claim and then they will seek indemnification through the at-fault driver’s part of the claim through an intercompany compact. The property damage claim has no bearing on the personal injury claim and oftentimes their insurance company will very quickly try to alleviate the property damage part of the claim. That is something that attorneys typically don’t get involved in, except in unusual circumstances. If the person feels that they are not being fairly treated in the property damage portion of the claim, they may seek separate contractual recourse. They would want to talk to an attorney about that, but it doesn’t have any impact at all on their personal injury claim.

Why is it important to hire an attorney for an auto accident case?

Just like any other personal injury case, an attorney in an automobile accident case can alleviate the stress of dealing with the insurance company, they can put the case in the very best light for the best possible settlement, and they can really add value to the client’s case by using their experience in similar cases over the years to deal with claims adjusters. Motor vehicle accidents happen all the time and we never want anyone to be injured, but if they are, an attorney has been there hundreds if not thousands of times. They can navigate the case on the client’s behalf because they have seen it before and know the value of certain injuries. They know how to make sure that each unique case and each unique client is properly compensated.