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Few people envision their car accident case ending in a trial, but it sometimes does. Your case is filed and taken to court when the insurance company and your attorney cannot agree on a settlement. This happens more often than you think, particularly in cases where the medical bills are very high. This is one reason it is so important to hire an auto accident attorney with trial experience.

The Jury is the Unknown Factor in Your Car Accident Case

In a trial, your personal injury case is heard by a jury. The jury is the reason it is difficult to predict how much your case will be awarded. Each jury is different, so the award amount for trial cases vary. When the jury is deliberating, they may decide to award you less, or more, than the amount pursued by you and your attorney.

If you are awarded more than your attorney requested in trial, consider it a success. The jury determined your case merits extra compensation. They likely reached this decision because your injuries were severe or you lost a lot of pay because of the accident. The extra money may be a welcome surprise, but don’t start counting your dollars yet.

The State of Virginia Says You Cannot Recover More Than You Sued For

The Supreme Court of Virginia says personal injury claimants cannot recover more than they sued for. Because of this decision, if the jury awards you more than you expected, get ready for that verdict to be changed. 

The Judge Could Change the Verdict

After the jury reads their verdict, the judge could adjust the awarded amount downward. This may occur in situations where the jury misunderstood part of the trial, and/or their decision is not reasonable. 

There Might Be “Damage Caps” In Your State

The jury may decide to award you $10 million dollars, but the state limits the damage award to $40,000. You may think the jury is aware of this, but they are not. In Virginia, there are no damage caps for personal injury cases unless the jury awards you more than you sue for. This means any amount awarded to you is not limited by state law. There are types of cases that have damage caps in Virginia; those are medical malpractice and punitive damages. Punitive damages are uncommon because your attorney has to prove the person who caused the accident acted recklessly and maliciously

Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized ERISA disability & life insurance attorney in Fairfax, VA.