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Wakole v. Barber Explains How to Measure Damages in North Carolina Personal Injury Case

When you are involved in a car accident in the Carolinas , you often question what you are entitled to. You need a knowledgeable and experienced South Carolina and North Carolina injury attorney to get the right information about your rights.Wakole v. Barber is a case that arose because of a car accident in Virginia. Barber was the passenger in a vehicle that was hit by Wakole. The case was originally brought in a lower court; however, Wakole appealed to the higher court in Virginia. This court discusses what the injured victim is entitled to in damages where she was involved in an accident where the other party was at fault.

Barber’s husband was going straight on a street where he had the right of way. Wakole made a left turn without looking and hit the Barber vehicle with the front of his car on the passenger side of their car. Narmina Barber (“Barber”) indicated that she felt pain at the accident scene but she did not go to the hospital. After some time, Barber began to get bad headaches and neck pain causing her to seek treatment. Additionally, Barber’s energy significantly decreases causing her relationship with family and friends to suffer. Barber even had to hire someone to assist her in cleaning her home. These are typical injuries in North Carolina car accidents. It’s worth noting that her symptoms presented after some time; another common occurrence and why it’s critical to get help in the immediate aftermath of a serious accident — even if you think no claim is necessary.

Wakole admitted liability for the car accident and acknowledged his wrongdoing; however he did not accept the severity of the injuries that Barber was alleging. He also disagreed with the style in which Barber’s attorney conducted his closing arguments at the original trial.

The question was whether Barber’s attorney was allowed to use a poster board to exhibit an itemized chart to describe Board’s damages. This chart had intangible damages measured in an itemized manner to calculate the total award requested. Upon appeal, the court contends that this is in compliance with all of the laws controlling closing arguments, and that Barber’s attorney acted in compliance with all of his obligations.

The court in Wakole explains damages by first establishing that there is no question as to whether a plaintiff is allowed to ask for a total fixed amount where there are non-economic damages that are provable. The court defines these non-economic damages as “bodily injury, physical pain, mental anguish (past and future), and inconvenience (past and future).” Furthermore it is recognized by this court that lump sums requested for non-economic damages cannot be proved with records giving exact monetary value because they are based on intangible elements. In determining the amount that will be awarded to the injured, the amount should fully and fairly compensate the injured for damages they suffered due to the at-fault party.

Therefore, this court held that because asking for a fixed amount to compensate Barber for her injuries was acceptable and customary, it would also be acceptable to break up the fixed amount into categories for each element of damages. Moreover, the court in this case found that the jury was allowed to be told of the amount being sought in the lawsuit.

Wakole shows us that it is not likely for a court to read meaning into an unambiguous statute. Subsequently, Barber was awarded economic damages to compensate for medical expenses and lost wages as well as non-economic damages to compensate for pain and suffering.

Having an attorney to explain what you are entitled to and how it must be presented is a crucial element in all North and South Carolina personal injury cases.

If you have been injured, contact our North Carolina and South Carolina injury attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP to schedule your free appointment. Call 1-800-533-6845.

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