If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, you may be unsure as to your rights and what, if any, steps you should take next. You have come to the right place – our Virginia injury attorneys are here to evaluate your injury claim and put together a detailed plan to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Time is of the essence, so please call us right away to discuss your injury claim free of charge.
Fender-benders and minor car accidents happen regularly, but if you were physically injured in a car accident; you need to seek immediate help from one of our car accident lawyers. After some auto accidents, the victim(s) may be in shock and unaware of injuries that were sustained, such as whiplash or back injuries. Too often, victims wait several months or even years before contacting an injury lawyer after their car accident. This may jeopardize the injury claim entirely. If you were in a car accident that was not your fault, call our injury attorneys today to safeguard any and all benefits that you may be entitled to.
Our team of Virginia personal injury lawyers understands that if you were involved in a serious car accident, you may be wondering the following:
- How do I know if I have a personal injury claim in Virginia?
- Do I need to see any medical specialists?
- How much money should I expect when this is over?
- How long will the process take?
- What if the damage is solely to my vehicle and not my person?
- Do I need to pay any upfront fees to my injury lawyer?
As experienced injury attorneys, we are here to answer these questions about your specific injury claim and provide you with peace of mind. It is important that you have injury lawyers who not only understand the detailed process and timelines in your case, but who also treat you as a person in need of their help and expertise. Contact our injury attorneys today so we may explain the next steps of your car accident claim and begin fighting to ensure you obtain maximum compensation.What Are my Rights if I Have Been Injured in a Car Accident Because of Someone Else’s Negligence?
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by the recklessness or negligence of someone else, you may be entitled to money damages. Virginia law allows a party who is injured through no fault of their own to recover for:
- Past medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of ability to work, or to work in one’s chosen profession
- Pain, suﬀering, and inconvenience
- Disﬁgurement and humiliation
Punitive damages are awarded in certain kinds of cases where the person to blame for the accident acts with “such malice as to evince a spirit of malice or criminal indiﬀerence to civil obligations.” Punitive damages are to punish the wrongdoer, rather than to simply compensate the injured party. Most personal injury claims will not involve punitive damages, but in certain cases they can be added to the other damages. Consult a Virginia accident lawyer to learn more.What if I’ve Been Contacted by the Other Person’s Insurance Company. Can’t I Settle This Myself?
Many insurance companies will reach out to injured pares very soon are the accident with oﬀers of paying medical bills in an eﬀort to settle your case quickly. Insurance adjusters (the people evaluate and settle claims) are evaluated and compensated based on their ability to settle claims as quickly and cheaply as possible. They do this with years of experience and with the assistance of lawyers. They want an injured party to waive their rights in exchange for a small sum, very often before the full extent of the injuries and the claim for money damages is known.Isn’t it Better to Get it All “Over With” Quickly?
If you have injured in an accident, the claim you make now is the only opportunity you have in your life to be compensated for these injuries. In many cases an injured party will sustain an injury to their back or some other body part which they assume will get better in a few weeks, only to ﬁnd months or even years down the road that the pain hasn’t gone away and that full function has not returned. Many permanent injuries aren’t revealed to be permanent until months or years of treatment have failed and a doctor says there is no more that can be done. If a person in that situation settles their claim early, they will miss out on their ONLY OPPORTUNITY to be compensated for a lifetime of pain, suﬀering, inconvenience, and even the ability to work. Finally, even if all your bills are already known, insurance carriers still have an incentive to settle for as little as possible. They have lawyers, you should too.I Have Unpaid Medical Bills, What can I do? Can’t the Doctor go After the Person Who Hurt me?
Doctors and other providers of medical services expect to be paid at the time they provide the services. Ultimately, they can sue you, and in some cases your spouse or parent, to recover this money. They cannot, however, sue the person who hurt you. Medical providers also have a claim against any funds you recover in a settlement or at trial from the person who hurt you and their insurance company. Once a personal injury lawyer becomes involved, however, they will put your doctors on notice you are pursuing a claim for your injuries and the doctors will often back oﬀ until the case is resolved. At the end of the case, the lawyer will negotiate for a reduction in the amount owed to the doctors. In some cases this is a very signiﬁcant reduction which adds greatly to the money that ultimately goes into your pocket.I Have Good Health Insurance Which Paid for my Medical Bills, is There Anything for me to Recover?
Yes! First, you are going to entitled to damages for any lost wages, lost future wages, pain, suﬀering, inconvenience or embarrassment you suﬀer. Health insurance won’t pay for any of that. But not only that, you can still recover for the full amount of your medical bills even if health insurance has already paid them. Virginia’s “collateral source rule” basically says that if you have your own health insurance policy which pays for the medical bills, the party who hurt you does not get the beneﬁt of that insurance policy, you do. In other words, why should what they owe you be reduced because of health insurance paid for by you. For example, if Sarah is hurt in an accident and has $10,000.00 in medical bills, what happens if her health insurance carrier pays 80% and she is left with a bill for $2,000.00? What can she recover from the person who injured her? ANSWER: The full $10,000.00.What if I’m Injured by a Driver who Either Has no Insurance or a “Minimum Limits Policy?”
Virginia law requires every driver to carry at least $25,000.00 worth of insurance, but not only is that often not enough to cover a claim (or multiple claims if more than one person was hurt), many people simply ignore the law and carry no insurance. The good news is that there are often other sources of coverage. Your own insurance policy is required by law to have “uninsured/underinsured motorist” coverage. This may cover the situation where there is no coverage or inadequate coverage by the at fault party. In addition, other policies of insurance may apply. For example, if the vehicle is owned by someone else or covered by a separate policy that can apply. An injured party can also look to separate insurance policies held by other people living in the same home as them. The total amount of insurance coverage and which policy pays what is complicated. A personal injury lawyer will use their experience to ﬁnd ALL the coverage available and navigate those issues.What is Medical Payments Insurance? Does it Affect my Claim?
Many insurance policies, including possibly your own, contain a separate provision for medical payments insurance. This is a provision that will pay you dollar for dollar for your medical bills up to a certain amount. This is a claim that can be paid be the insurance carrier immediately and as additional bills come in. It is separate from your personal injury claim and does not reduce or count against your overall compensation. In addition, while your personal injury lawyer may charge a small fee to assist in making the claim, it is not subject to the contingency fee (the percentage fee the lawyer takes when the case is settled or won at trial). These medical payments can help you in the short term and can also be used for the future expenses in your case (such as paying a doctor for their testimony).What is The Cost of Representation? Do I Need to Pay Upfront? Is There any out of Pocket Expense?
Personal injury cases are taken on a contingency basis. That means we take a percentage of the overall recovery when it is received. Simply, we don’t get paid unless you get paid. There are some costs along the way such as ﬁling fees, court reporter fees, and expert witness fees. The client is responsible for these “costs.” However, in many cases, at the lawyer’s sole discretion, the law ﬁrm may choose to pay these costs as they become due and wait until the end of the case to be repaid by the client out of their share of the recovery.Virginia Car Accident: How do I Know if I Have a Legitimate Injury Claim?
Every personal injury case has two components: liability and damages. Liability is the legal question of whether someone is responsible for the accident. Damages refers to a category of expenses that a personal found to be liable may have to pay. In order to recover, the other party must be legally at fault and you must have kinds of damages recognized by the law. Both components contain a signiﬁcant amount of legal subtlety and complexity. They are issues that cause trials to happen when the two sides cannot agree. An experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer can help you understand the strength of your claim and what kind of settlement or award at trial can be reasonably expected.