What Damages are You Entitled to in Your Personal Injury Claim, Consult Wakole v. Barber


March 15, 2012
By Lee Law Offices, P.A. on March 15, 2012 1:43 PM |

What you are entitled to as a result of North Carolina car accident is a complex question. It is important to have an experienced North Carolina injury attorney explain the law to you and how it applies to your case.
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In Virginia, the court in Wakole v. Barber held that an injured plaintiff is entitled to economic and non-economic damages as a result of injuries sustained because of the negligence of the at-fault defendant. The court went on to further explain that it is at the discretion of the plaintiff's attorney to decide whether to quantify the damages in a fixed numerical value or to categorize the damages and quantify them individually for the jury.

Economic damages are damages that are provable with records, such as records for medical expenses. Conversely, non-economic damages are defined by this court as, "bodily injury, physical pain, mental anguish (past and future), and inconvenience (past and future)."

This case arose where Barber was sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle being driven by her husband. He husband was complying with all traffic laws and had the right of way. Wakole was not looking and when he tried to make a left hand turn, he hit the Barber car on the passenger side. At the scene of the crime Barber indicated that she was feeling uncomfortable in her neck and head, but did not go to the hospital to seek any treatment at that time.

Soon after this car accident, Barber began to get headaches and neck pain causing her to seek treatment. Baber also began to complain of loss of energy and was not enjoying her life or her relationships. She even needed assistance to perform common tasks around her home and work. Barber argued that this accident greatly affected her life and she was suffering with the physical and mental repercussions of the negligence of Wakole.

Barber sued Wakole and won $50,000 in damages. Wakole admitted to being liable for the accident however, he did not believe the extent of the injuries that Barber was contending. Wakole appealed the lower court ruling and was then being heard by the Circuit Court of the county. In the appeal, this court addresses the damages an injured is entitled to in a personal injury action and they discuss how these damages can be proven at trial.

The issues presented to the court in this case were twofold: first, whether Barber's attorney was correct in measuring intangible damages by itemizing them instead of using a fixed total amount and; secondly, was it appropriate for Barber's attorney to present this itemized chart of intangible damages to the jury.

It is acknowledged by the court that it is customary for the plaintiff to ask for a fixed amount to compensate for non- economic damages. It was considered more common in this jurisdiction for attorneys to present the victim's intangible damages in a total fixed amount. The court clarified that, although it is less common, it was not wrong for Barber's attorney to measure these intangible damages in separate categories of intangible damages.

This court also found that Barber's attorney was not acting incorrectly when he presented a chart that assigned a monetary value for each itemized damage.

The only standard that this case found was that the amount requested by the plaintiff's attorney should fully and fairly compensate their client for the injuries plaintiff suffered.

The law is complex and it is critical to have a lawyer who has the experience to make the difference in your North Carolina personal injury case.

If you have been injured contact North Carolina injury attorneys at Lee Law Offices to schedule a free appointment today. Call 800-887-1965.