What Types of Damages Can I Recover in Virginia, D.C., and Maryland?

At Jennifer Porter Law, PLLC, we know that clients involved in an accident resulting in personal injury often wonder about the damages they may be able to recover. They have often heard terms like “pain and suffering” and “punitive damages” but don’t know if they apply in their case. 

Every situation is unique, but knowing how to protect your rights and your potential for compensation in Virginia, D.C., and Maryland is always essential, and it’s one of the primary functions of a personal injury attorney. Based on our years of experience, here are some of the types of damages that may apply to your case.

Compensatory Damages

In personal injury cases, the primary form of damages most clients receive are compensatory damages. These damages aim to provide financial compensation to individuals who have suffered harm or losses due to another party’s negligence or intentional actions. 

The goal in a civil lawsuit is to restore someone to the condition they were in before they suffered due to another person’s wrongful conduct. If someone damages another person’s property, for instance, they may be required to pay for repairs. However, there is no way to turn back time and erase the injuries, pain, and anguish suffered, so financial compensation is usually the only legal way to provide restoration after an accident. Your attorney will review each of the impacts you have suffered and establish a value for each factor based on evidence and legal precedent from earlier cases. 

Economic Damages

One type of compensation available in a personal injury case is economic damages. These are funds to compensate for the tangible and quantifiable losses directly related to the incident. 

In Virginia, D.C., and Maryland, economic damages are meant to reimburse individuals for the financial impact they have endured. This category includes medical expenses incurred due to the injury, such as hospital bills, medication costs, and any necessary rehabilitative services, including those you may need in the future. 

Additionally, economic damages also include lost wages or income stemming from the injury. This compensation ensures that individuals are financially reimbursed for the time they could not work due to the injury, and any losses or reduction in income anticipated in the future as a result of the injury. Property damage is also considered a type of economic damages, so you could receive amounts to cover damage to your vehicle or other property.

Non-Economic Damages

In contrast to economic damages, non-economic damages cover intangible losses that are more challenging to quantify in monetary terms. These losses relate to the emotional and psychological toll from the injury. 

Typical components of non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering as well as for emotional distress experienced due to the injury. Loss of enjoyment of life is another element of non-economic damages, acknowledging the impact the injury has had on the individual’s ability to engage in activities they once found pleasurable. Additionally, non-economic damages may encompass compensation for loss of consortium and companionship, recognizing the strain on personal relationships resulting from the injury.

Punitive Damages

Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are not designed to restore the victim of wrongdoing but to punish the individual or company that caused the harm. They are awarded against a defendant whose actions are deemed exceptionally reckless, malicious, or intentionally harmful. In addition to punishing those responsible for wrongful conduct, punitive damages are also intended to deter others from engaging in similar egregious behavior in the future.

Punitive damages are awarded under specific circumstances where the defendant’s conduct meets a high threshold of recklessness or malice. In Virginia, D.C., and Maryland jurisdictions, the criteria for awarding punitive damages may vary, and specific legal standards must be met to justify their imposition.

Recklessness typically involves a conscious disregard for the safety and well-being of others. It goes beyond mere negligence, suggesting that the defendant knew or should have known their actions could cause harm but proceeded without regard for the potential consequences. A court may award punitive damages in a drunk driving case, for instance, as a punishment to the driver and a warning to others who might be tempted to get behind the wheel after drinking. 

Factors Influencing Damages

The outcome of your personal injury case and the damages you can recover depend on various factors. The strength of the evidence, the clarity of liability, and the effectiveness of legal representation all play significant roles. 

If your attorney can show that your injuries are likely to have long-term impacts that affect the quality of life, you may receive considerably more than if it appears that you have made a full recovery. Working with an experienced attorney can make a substantial difference in the outcome. 

Contact Jennifer Porter Law, PLLC Today to Learn About Damages Available in Your Case

If you’ve been injured and are uncertain about the damages you may be entitled to in Virginia, D.C., or Maryland, schedule a free case evaluation with Jennifer Porter Law, PLLC. Our dedicated team is here to provide personalized and knowledgeable legal assistance. Call us at (571) 532-9070 or online to schedule a consultation to discuss the specifics of your case.