Calculating Damages in Virginia Pedestrian Accident Cases

Below, a Virginia pedestrian accident lawyer discusses the different factors that go into calculating damages for a pedestrian accident case. For specific information on your claim, call and schedule a consultation with an attorney today.

How Are Damages Calculated?

In Virginia, damages are typically broken down into economic and non-economic damages. So, the economic damages typically consist of your medical bills, lost wages, any potential future care that’s necessary, or loss of future earnings because of a permanent injury. It can include property damage, it can include a loss of earning capacity, things like that.

Typically, when you’re involving all of those factors, expert testimony is going to be necessary to calculate that. So that would usually be in the form of an economist and probably a vocational rehabilitation expert. So, if you have some sort of permanent injury that compromises your ability to return to your prior employment, but maybe you’re still able to do some sort of job, then the economist can help project what those future earnings would be in conjunction with a vocational rehabilitation expert. A vocational rehabilitation expert can evaluate your functional capacity and determine what jobs you might still be able to do, and provide information about the availability of those jobs and how much they pay in any given market. Then the economist can take those numbers and project out your future earnings and benefits over the course of your work-life expectancy.

The same sort of thing goes for a life care plan, if you suffer permanent injuries such that you need a lifetime of care, a life care plan would generally be put together and projects what the future medical costs are going to be and any other care or costs you might need. As far as the economic side goes, typically expert testimony is required to be able to actually establish that.

Calculating Non-Economic Damages

Now, as far as the non-economic damages goes, this is typically what people call pain and suffering. This can include the impacts that your injuries  have had on your activities of daily living which can be taking a shower, doing dishes, cooking meals for yourself, being able to ambulate on your own to get around the house, to drive a car, but also the impact it has on your recreational activities too, if you are no longer able to play golf or to go to the gym, that sort of thing.  Also, maybe you’re able to return to work, but you’re experiencing pain all the time. You can be compensated for that. Some attorneys really prefer the term “harms and losses” to “pain and suffering” because the non-economic damages go beyond simply the pain you’ve endured and what people commonly think of as suffering.

You’re still entitled to compensation for your non-economic harms and losses even though it can’t quite as easily be assigned a dollar figure. You’re still entitled to compensation as an injured person if you can prove that the defendant caused your injuries and that it was because they breach the duty of care that they owed to you. If those injuries are casually related to the negligence, whether it’d be economic or non-economic damages, they can be compensable under a Virginia law.

But that’s usually up to a jury to assign a value to what the non-economic damages will be and that’s something that insurance companies and plaintiff’s attorneys fight about all the time is how much tougher it is to really quantify damages, how much are those worth. It really comes down to a plaintiff’s attorney fighting and advocating for fair compensation for their client.