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Vehicle accident damages can be difficult to navigate for injured drivers.

Damages Recoverable After Vehicle Accident

Whether it’s on Interstate 64 or a county road, a vehicle accident can happen any time.  After being involved in a car accident, you may be called by your insurance company or the insurance company of the driver who is at fault.  An insurance adjuster may suggest settlement of your claim.  The settlement value of any insurance claim can only be determined after a detailed examination of liability and the harms and losses sustained by a person injured.

Damages are those harms and losses an injured driver sustained as a result of the fault of another driver.  Though each case is unique, the following types of damages may be recoverable in a car wreck case where the other driver is liable or at fault.

Special Damages in Vehicle Accidents

Special damages are specific, readily calculable damages that have been sustained as a result of a car wreck.    These are typically economic-type damages that include past and future medical bills, the cost of cosmetic surgery related to the car wreck, lost wages (both past and future), lost earning opportunity, and lost or impaired of earning capacity.

General Damages in Vehicle Accidents

General damages are damages that likely follow from a car wreck.  They are not readily calculable and are sometimes referred to as non-economic damages.  These are the type of damages that are left to the discretion of a jury to assess and calculate.  They include damages for past and future physical pain and suffering, past and future psychological damages, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and impairment of the capacity to enjoy life.

Damages for Reckless Conduct

Oftentimes, damages for willful conduct are not covered by insurance policies.  In limited circumstances, a recovery of punitive-type damages may be available in a car-accident scenario.  These damages serve to punish a person at fault for the car accident for his or her conduct.  An injured person must establish, by clear and convincing evidence, “actual malice toward the plaintiff or a conscious, reckless and outrageous indifference to the health, safety and welfare of others.”  W. Va. Code § 55-7-29(a).

Even then, in 2015, the West Virginia Legislature limited the amount of punitive damages that may be recovered.  Punitive damages are limited to four times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater.

The Importance of a Skilled Vehicle Accident Lawyer

When dealing with an insurance company, determining the nature and extent of your injuries can be difficult.  A person injured as a result of a vehicle accident should be focused on recovery, not the legal aspects of his or her accident.  The importance of having a skilled vehicle accident lawyer is without question.  A vehicle accident lawyer will be able to analyze the liability issues related to your case by examining the scene of the vehicle accident, examining the damage to the vehicles, analyzing the police report, and interviewing witnesses.  Sometimes, only a thorough investigation can determine who is at fault for the car accident.

When it comes to damages, a skilled car accident lawyer will be in a position to evaluate your medical records and earning history to determine what is recoverable as a result of the fault of the other driver.

Barney Law PLLC is a skilled vehicle accident lawyer.  Barney Law PLLC represents clients in vehicle accidents in Hurricane, Charleston, and the surrounding areas and counties.  Car accident cases are handled on a contingency fee basis.  This means that attorney’s fees are based upon a percentage of the amount recovered.  You owe us nothing unless a recovery is made for you.  If you have been injured as a result of a car accident, call us today at 304-932-8775, or you can email Mark Barney, Esquire, directly at, to schedule a free consultation.