Damages in a Virginia Wrongful Termination Claim
Wrongful termination is a civil cause of action available to employees who were fired from their job illegally. Employees who successfully bring a wrongful termination action against their employer may be entitled to collect significant damages. In civil cases such as wrongful termination, the monetary award that is collected by the employee is referred to as damages.
The damages in a Virginia wrongful termination claim will generally be calculated based on what was lost as a result of the job termination. Damages are not guaranteed when you file a wrongful termination claim, but an experienced attorney could help you build a solid argument against your employer and increase your chances of recovery.
Damages for Lost Wages
Those who are unexpectedly terminated are often left jobless and therefore without an income for an undetermined amount of time. Damages for lost wages, sometimes called back pay, are meant to compensate for these losses. The amount of damages for lost wages is usually equal to the amount of money the employee would have earned from the date of wrongful termination until they secure new employment or are reinstated to their previous position.
Employees who plan to seek damages for lost wages should actively attempt to secure new employment and maintain records of their job search and associated costs. This can help create a clear record of the losses to be used to calculate damages.
Recovering Compensation for Lost Benefits
In addition to damages for lost wages, employees may also be able to collect damages for lost benefits as the result of wrongful termination. One of the most commonly lost benefits is health insurance. Losses relating to retirement plans or stock options may also be included in the calculated damages for lost benefits.
If an employee was forced to pay for health insurance or other benefits out-of-pocket following their wrongful discharge, they may be able to recover these expenditures. However, it is essential to keep close track of the dates of any benefits that were paid out-of-pocket. This can help establish that the expenses resulted from the wrongful termination as opposed to a denied insurance claim.
Job Reinstatement in Virginia
If an employee has been wrongfully terminated, reinstatement of their job may be the easiest way to resolve the matter. Job reinstatement is a remedy that is unique to wrongful termination.
In many cases, wrongful termination victims to sue their employer to recover their job. An attorney in Virginia with experience in wrongful termination cases could help determine whether this is an appropriate course of action.
Understanding Punitive Damages
While most damages in a Virginia wrongful termination claim serve to compensate the plaintiff for their losses, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant. In cases where the employer acted in violation of public policy, these damages may be applicable.
Punitive damages are relatively rare in wrongful termination cases in Virginia. Also, there are limitations imposed on the recovery of punitive damages. Generally, the amount of punitive damages awarded cannot exceed more than $350,000.
Settling vs. Going to Trial
Many wrongful termination cases are settled before reaching trial. Depending on the circumstances, there may be many advantages to reaching a settlement agreement as opposed to pursuing the case through the trial process.
In a settlement agreement, the parties generally retain more control over the outcome of the case. Wrongful termination cases can be difficult to prove when the only evidence available is the word of the employee against the word of the employer. When the outcome of the case remains uncertain, both parties can mitigate the risks associated with trial by reaching a mutually agreeable settlement agreement. The parties will also save the additional costs associated with the litigation process.
A wrongful termination lawyer could review your case and explain the damages in a Virginia wrongful termination claim. Every wrongful termination case is different. The facts and circumstances of your case will impact the amount of damages you are entitled to receive.
We want to make sure you put forth the strongest case possible to maximize the chance of recovery. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.