You Deserve the Answers to Your Questions Regarding Your Accident

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  • How can I get my medical bills paid while my car accident claim is pending?

    Medical Bills After a Car WreckIf you were hurt in a car accident, you may have bills for your hospitalization, surgery, ongoing medical treatment, and other medical expenses. Unfortunately, it could take you months or longer to settle your claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. While it should ultimately pay for your necessary medical treatments, it can be a big worry to figure out how to handle your medical bills in the meantime.

    How to Deal With Your Medical Expenses While Your Claim Against the Negligent Driver Is Being Resolved

    One thing that you do NOT want to do is ignore your medical bills and not pay them. Your health care providers are not a party to your car accident claim and do not have to wait until you resolve it to be paid. If you fail to pay them, your account could be referred to a collection agency or you could be sued.

    Fortunately, you do have options for handling your medical bills while your claim is being resolved. Here are some ways to get them paid:

    • MedPay. MedPay is optional coverage in Virginia that can be purchased as part of your automobile insurance coverage. It will cover your medical bills up to the policy limits no matter who was at fault in causing your collision—including you. You can file a claim with your own insurance company if you purchased this coverage.
    • Health insurance. If you have health insurance through your employer or a policy you pay for on your own, you can submit your bills to your health insurance company. However, they may require you to reimburse them for the medical bills that they pay once you settle your claim. This is referred to as subrogation.
    • Uninsured/underinsured coverage. Unless you pay a yearly fee, you are required to purchase $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist coverage. If the negligent driver turns out to be uninsured, you can file a claim under this coverage if you have it. Another option would be underinsured motorist coverage that protects you if the other driver has insufficient liability insurance to compensate you fully.
    • Payment plan or medical lien. You may be able to work out a payment plan with the hospital and other health care providers to make a monthly payment until you resolve your claim. Another possibility is to see if they will accept a medical lien, which is an agreement by them to be paid when you receive your settlement. However, not all doctors and hospitals will agree to this.

    Filing a claim for compensation and determining how to pay your medical bills while your claim is pending is complicated. Our experienced car accident attorneys are here to file your claim, help you work with your medical care providers, and fight for the compensation that you deserve. To learn more about your legal options and the next steps you should take, call our office today to schedule a free consultation.

     

  • Can I reject the insurance company’s settlement offer in my auto accident case?

    An Attorney Rejecting a Car Accident Settlement OfferMost car accident cases settle at some point before trial because it saves money and enables accident victims to receive their settlement faster. However, this does not mean that all offers by the insurance company are fair. Here is what you need to do if you believe that the settlement you are being offered is too low.

    Your Right to Reject a Settlement Offer

    You have the right to reject any settlement offer and should do so if it fails to reasonably compensate you for your injuries. A fair settlement should pay you for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

    Many initial insurance company offers are too low. Even if the negligent driver’s liability is clear cut, the claims adjuster may make a settlement offer of less than what you should receive at the beginning of negotiations. He might do this to see if you will accept it and save the insurance company money on your claim.

    What You Should Do When Rejecting a Settlement Offer

    You should not take it personally that the insurance company made a low-ball offer. You should also realize that this will most likely not be the only offer you will receive. Here are the steps you should take to reject it:

    • Retain an attorney. If you have not yet hired an experienced car accident attorney, you should do so immediately. You should never accept the insurance company’s offer without first discussing it with your lawyer. This will ensure that you receive what you are entitled to and that your legal rights are protected. He can also reject the offer on your behalf.
    • Send a demand letter. At the beginning of a claim, it is best to reject the settlement offer in writing. Your lawyer will most likely send the insurance company a written demand letter rejecting their offer, outlining their liability to compensate you, and making a demand for the amount you should receive.
    • Negotiations. Your lawyer will engage in negotiations with the claims adjuster where each side makes a series of offers and counteroffers before you receive a reasonable one. The adjuster may raise disputes as to liability or the seriousness of your injuries. Your lawyer could have to provide further evidence that refutes these arguments before he can resolve your claim.

    Our experienced car accident attorneys are here to answer your questions, file your claim, and aggressively fight for the settlement you deserve. Schedule a free consultation to learn about our extensive experience in these cases and your right to compensation. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your appointment today.

     

  • What evidence will I need to prove the pain and suffering I experienced from my auto accident?

    Doctor Taking Medical Notes During an ExamWhen a negligent driver causes your car accident, the pain and suffering that you experience may be a large part of the injuries you suffer. You are entitled to compensation for these damages as well as for your medical expenses and lost wages. While you can obtain documents to help establish the amount you should receive for your medical bills and lost earnings, it can be harder to prove the pain and suffering you suffered.

    How to Prove That You Are Entitled to Compensation for Your Pain and Suffering

    You can suffer both physical pain and emotional distress, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and PTSD, from an auto crash. Here is how you can prove this to the insurance company or jury:

    • Evidence of physical symptoms. You may experience physical symptoms of your emotional distress. Headaches, high blood pressure, and ulcers are a few. If you can provide proof of these symptoms and the treatments you are receiving, this can help you document the emotional distress you are suffering.
    • Your doctor. Your doctor can testify about your injuries and how they can cause you to experience pain and any emotional distress you have suffered.
    • Your mental health provider. If you sought treatment with a psychologist or social worker, this person’s statement and testimony could help you prove the anxiety, depression, or other psychological conditions that you suffer with and your long-term prognosis for continuing to experience them.
    • Your testimony. Your own testimony as to the pain and suffering you experienced due to your accident and how your injuries have affected your ability to work and enjoy your daily life will be important to proving your right to compensation. It can be even stronger evidence when it is corroborated by the other types of evidence discussed here.
    • Friends and family. The testimony of friends and family members who can talk about times you experienced pain or emotional distress and how your injuries have impacted on your life can be an important piece of evidence.
    • Photos and videos. Photos that show the seriousness of your accident and injuries can paint a powerful picture of the pain and suffering your crash may have caused. Videos showing how your injuries have limited your mobility and ability to care for yourself can also be extremely helpful.

    A car accident attorney can help you prove the pain and suffering that you have suffered. Our experienced car accident attorneys are here to help you prove the other driver’s negligence in causing your crash and the amount of compensation you should receive from his insurance company. Call our Norfolk office today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about your options and how we can assist you.

     

  • What documents should I bring to my first appointment with my car accident attorney?

    Car Accident Attorney Reviewing Important Documents at an Initial MeetingWhen you are meeting with car accident attorneys to determine which one to hire, you have two objectives. The first is to interview the lawyers to find out their experience handling these cases and whether you believe that they would be the right one for you. You also want to obtain legal advice about your claim against the negligent driver. Bringing relevant documents to your consultation can help the attorney evaluate your case.

    Documents That You Should Bring to Your Initial Consultation With a Lawyer

    While a lawyer will want you to give him a detailed statement about how your crash occurred and the injuries that you sustained, he will also need to review certain documents before giving you legal advice about your claim. Here are some helpful documents to bring:

    • Police report
    • Pictures of the crash scene and damage to the vehicles
    • Medical bills and records
    • Your insurance policy and declaration page
    • Witness statements
    • Paystubs and other documentation of your lost wages
    • Any correspondence or documents that you received from the negligent driver’s insurance company
    • Any other information that you believe will be helpful, such as contact information for the at-fault driver, his insurance company, witnesses, and your doctor

    You also want to bring a list of questions to ask the attorney. Be certain to let him know at the beginning of your appointment that you have questions. That way he can leave time for them. Some questions that should be on your list include:

    • How many car accident cases has he handled and how many has he won?
    • What percentage of his practice is representing victims of car collisions?
    • How many of these cases has he taken to trial? What was the outcome?
    • How would the attorney handle your case?
    • How long will your case take?
    • What is the approximate value of your claim?
    • Will this attorney handle your case? If not, who will, and can you meet him?
    • How much would the attorney charge for his services in your case?

    Schedule Your Free Initial Consultation Today

    If you or a family member suffered injuries in a car accident in Norfolk, we are here to help. To learn about our years of experience fighting for the rights of accident victims and how we can assist you, call us to schedule a free initial appointment.

     

  • What factors can decrease a car accident settlement?

    Scene of a Two-Car Wreck When you sustain injuries in a car accident that was not your fault, you want to hold the negligent driver accountable for fully compensating you for your injuries. While this is possible in many cases, in some cases there are factors that can weaken a claim and make it impossible for even an experienced car accident attorney to settle a claim for its full value.

    Reasons Your Auto Crash Settlement May Be Reduced

    There are a few considerations to keep in mind when considering factors that might reduce the value of your claim. First, they may not apply at all in your case. In addition, just because the insurance adjuster for the negligent driver says that one of these issues is a problem, it does not mean that it is true. Insurance companies routinely raise disputes to deny or reduce claims. Finally, even if one of these issues is present in your case, you could still receive a substantial amount of compensation, but it may be a little less than you hoped for. Here are some common factors that may reduce your claim:

    • Liability. You must prove the other driver’s negligence in causing your crash to be entitled to any proceeds. If there are serious disputes about this, the insurance company may not make an offer or may only be willing to settle your claim for less than its full value.
    • Location of your collision. The location where you have to sue the negligent driver could reduce the value of your claim. If your lawsuit must be filed in a county where jury awards are lower, the insurance company may know this and not be willing to settle your case for as much as if you were in a bigger city.
    • Contributory negligence. If you were partially at fault in causing your accident, this could have a significant impact on your claim. Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence rule that bars you from receiving any money if you were at all negligent. However, in many cases, this is not a legitimate issue, but one raised to reduce or deny your claim by the insurance company.
    • Reasonable medical expenses. You are only entitled to be compensated for reasonable and necessary medical expenses. It is important to be treated by a reputable physician and to discuss your treatment with your attorney to avoid disputes about whether you should be compensated for all of your medical bills.
    • Policy limit. The policy limit of the negligent driver’s insurance company plays an important practical role in how much you receive. The insurance company is only obligated to pay you up to the policy limits no matter how serious your injuries are. This means that if your claim is worth $200,000 but the other driver only had $25,000 in liability coverage, the $25,000 is the most that you can receive from his insurance company.

    You need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to evaluate your claim and collect the evidence you need to achieve the best possible outcome. Our legal team is here to explain your legal options to you and to fight for the compensation that you deserve. Fill out our online form to schedule your free initial consultation to learn more.

     

  • What should you expect to happen at your first consultation with a car accident attorney?

    Car Crash Attorney Taking Notes During a Free ConsultationWhen you are looking for an experienced car accident attorney to represent you, you should take advantage of the offer of a free initial consultation that most lawyers offer. This meeting will be very important, and you can use it to learn more about the lawyer’s experience and your legal rights to compensation for your injuries. It can help you to select the attorney that is right for you and can set the tone of your relationship with him throughout your case.

    What Should Happen at a First Meeting With an Auto Accident Attorney

    You should come to your appointment organized and have a list of questions that you want to ask the attorney. Be sure to let him know to leave time during your meetings for your questions. There is a lot to cover, and you do not want to run out of time to get the answers you need. Here is what you can generally expect to happen at your consultation:

    • Discuss your case. The attorney will want to know the details of your accident so that he can determine if you have a strong case against the negligent driver. You should expect to answer questions about how the crash occurred, your injuries, treatment you have received, evidence you collected, and any conversations with the insurance company. It would be a good idea to bring a copy of the police report, witness contact information, photos, and any other information you collected for the lawyer to review.
    • Provide legal advice. Your attorney will provide you with advice on possible parties who may be responsible for compensating you and the types of compensation available. He may also give you general advice on mistakes to avoid, such as agreeing to give the insurance adjuster a recorded statement, discussing your case on social media, and other errors that could hurt your claim.
    • Explain the legal process. You should be given a general overview of what the process of settling your case or taking it to trial entails, the length of time it could take to complete, and the steps your attorney will need to take on your behalf.
    • Discuss your role. You are a team member with your attorney, and he may discuss the ways that you can help strengthen your case. This can include going to all of your doctor’s appointments, providing requested information promptly, and being truthful with him.
    • Talk about his experience. An attorney who handles many car accident cases will want to discuss his track record of success in these cases and the services that his law firm provides. You want to be certain to understand how much of his caseload is devoted to these cases and how many cases he has successfully taken to trial as well as settled out of court.
    • Explain his fees. While the attorney’s cost is not your only consideration in hiring him, it is a factor. How much you will be charged and how the fees will be paid is something that should be explained at your first appointment. If you decide to retain the attorney, you should enter into a written retainer agreement.

    If you were the victim of a car accident, take advantage of our free consultation to learn about our extensive experience in these cases and your legal options. Just call our office or fill out our convenient online form to schedule your appointment today.

     

  • How should I help my attorney in my car accident case?

    Helping Your Attorney With Your Car Accident CaseIf you have retained an experienced car accident attorney to negotiate your settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance company, you have taken an important step toward receiving the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. However, once you have researched, interviewed, and hired this person, your job is not done. You are working as a team with your lawyer, and you need to do your part to reach your goal of obtaining a fair settlement.

    Your Duties to Your Lawyer in Your Car Accident Case

    Both your lawyer and you have certain duties to each other in your attorney-client relationship. Your attorney’s responsibilities include advising you on your legal rights, keeping you informed on his progress in your case, and letting you make the important decisions regarding your claim. Here are some of what your attorney can expect of you as a client:

    • Follow your agreement. Your written retainer agreement with your attorney is a contract between you, and you should abide by its terms.
    • Gather information promptly. When your attorney requests evidence or other documents from you, he needs the information to move your case along or because it is required as part of the litigation process. You help him assist you by providing him with what he asks for promptly.
    • Provide new evidence. If you discover any new evidence that may affect your car accident case, you should give it to your attorney—even if you think it is harmful.
    • Follow-up on medical treatment. It is important that you follow your doctor’s advice on your medical treatment and keep your attorney informed on your progress. When there are gaps in your medical care or you are not obtaining needed treatments, you jeopardize your health and make it harder for your attorney to prove the seriousness of your injuries.
    • Be respectful of attorney’s time. While it is important to stay informed of the status of your case and to get your questions answered, you need to be respectful that your lawyer has other clients and responsibilities.
    • Inform your attorney about court hearings. You may be required to attend court hearings in your case. If you must miss a proceeding, it is crucial that you inform your attorney immediately so that he can seek permission from the judge to reschedule it.
    • Pay your bills. You should pay any bills that you owe on time.
    • Tell the truth. One of the worst ways that you can hurt your relationship with your attorney and your case is to lie to him. You weaken his bargaining position in negotiations if he discovers that some of what you told him about the accident or your injuries is not true.
    • Be professional. You need to keep your relationship with your attorney professional.

    When you follow these guidelines, you strengthen your relationship with your lawyer and your claim. Do you need assistance with negotiating your settlement following a car accident that was not your fault? Call our Norfolk office today to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • Can I sue an out-of-state driver who caused my auto crash in Virginia?

    What Happens When You Are in a Wreck With an Out-of-State DriverIf you are injured in a car accident in Virginia, it can be overwhelming to determine how to obtain the compensation that you deserve from the negligent driver. Your claim can be even more complex if the at-fault driver does not live in Virginia. Here, we discuss how this could impact on your claim.

    Virginia Is an At-Fault State No Matter Where the Negligent Driver Lives

    Virginia is an at-fault state, and the negligent driver who caused your auto crash is responsible for compensating you for your injuries. The good news is that this is true whether or not the driver lives in Virginia or another state. Out-of-state drivers are required to drive in a safe manner and obey Virginia traffic laws while in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    Can You Sue an Out-of-State Negligent Driver in Virginia?

    In order to sue a driver who caused your accident but lives in another state, the court in Virginia must have personal jurisdiction over this individual. What is personal jurisdiction? It is the authority of the court to make a decision about a person in a specific situation. For example, a court in Virginia may not have personal jurisdiction over a person in New York who never entered Virginia or had anything else to do with anyone in Virginia. However, a driver’s act of driving in our state would most likely give a Virginia court personal jurisdiction over him if he caused your car accident. This means that you most likely can sue him in Virginia rather than the state where he lives.

    You Need an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Norfolk

    If you were injured in an auto collision caused by an out-of-state driver, you need an experienced car accident attorney in Norfolk and not the state where the other motorist resides. A local attorney will understand the Virginia laws that apply to your case, including whether there is personal jurisdiction over this person. He can thoroughly investigate your crash and negotiate a settlement with the other driver’s insurance company. To learn about our extensive experience fighting for the rights of accident victims and your legal options, fill out our online form to schedule your free initial consultation.

     

  • Is my car accident settlement taxable?

    What You Need to Know About Auto Crash Settlements and TaxesWhen you reach the settlement stage of your car accident claim and receive your compensation, you will probably feel a sense of relief—thankful that this part of the ordeal is finally over. However, there is one more issue that you need to consider: whether you owe income taxes on your settlement. Unfortunately, this can be more complicated than you might expect.

    Do You Have to Pay Taxes on Your Auto Crash Settlement?

    If you are like many accident victims, you were most likely entitled to and received compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damages, and pain and suffering in your settlement or award at trial. It is important to know how much of your settlement was for each type of damage since this will impact on whether or not you owe income taxes. Here is how the taxability of each type of damages works:

    • Medical expenses. You generally will not owe any income taxes on the medical expenses portion of your settlement. However, if you took a deduction for medical expenses on a prior tax return, that portion that was reimbursed to you in your settlement is most likely taxable.
    • Lost wages. Your lost wages proceeds are paid to you to reimburse you for wages that you lost or will lose due to your injuries. Like your wages, the lost wages portion of your claim is taxable.
    • Pain and suffering. It is more complicated to determine if you owe taxes on compensation for your pain and suffering. The portion you receive for your pain and suffering is not taxed, but the amount for your emotional distress would be taxable. In many cases, the pain and suffering and emotional distress damages are lumped together under pain and suffering, which may mean that you don’t owe any taxes.
    • Property damages. You are not taxed on the proceeds that you receive to reimburse you for the costs to repair or replace your vehicle or property in it and rent a car while yours is in the shop.
    • Punitive damages. Punitive damages are only awarded when the negligent driver’s actions are especially outrageous. If you do receive punitive damages, they are taxable.

    If you were injured in a car accident, you need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to negotiate your settlement so that you receive what you deserve. To learn about our extensive experience fighting for the rights of car accident victims and how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office today to schedule a free consultation.

     

  • Who is at fault in a rear-end collision?

    Who Is Responsible for Your Rear-End Collision?Whenever you are injured in a car accident caused by another driver, you must prove the other driver’s fault in causing the crash. Fortunately, it may be easier for you to prove the driver’s liability in a rear-end collision. However, without the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney, it may be difficult to establish fault and receive fair compensation from the other driver’s insurance company.

    Who Is Liable in a Rear-End Collision in Norfolk?

    In Virginia, all drivers are required to maintain a safe distance between their vehicle and the one in front of them so that they can slow or stop quickly if necessary. Because of this, the driver in the rear will almost always be presumed to be the at-fault driver. In some cases, the negligent driver’s insurance company will not argue about liability, but this does not mean that the insurance adjuster will not dispute the seriousness of a victim’s injuries.

    There are some exceptions to the general rule that the driver in the rear was negligent. The driver in the front could be found partially or completely liable in these situations:

    • He reversed suddenly.
    • He started to turn but failed to complete the turn and went forward instead.
    • He put on his signal to merge into another lane and started to merge but suddenly changed his mind.
    • His brake lights did not work properly.
    • He had a flat tire or other maintenance problem with his vehicle but did not pull over.

    Multi-Vehicle Rear-End Collisions

    In some cases, a rear-end collision will cause a multi-vehicle accident involving three or more vehicles. In this type of crash, the driver who initially caused the crash may be liable to all of the accident victims if the driver in the middle was stopped at a light or was otherwise driving safely. Determining the negligent parties and negotiating a settlement with the insurance company when there are multiple victims can be complex. You want to retain a lawyer right away if you were hurt in one of these accidents.

    Contact an Experienced Norfolk Car Accident Attorney Today

    Do you need to file a claim for compensation following a rear-end collision? You can schedule a free consultation with a member of our skilled legal team to get your questions answered and learn more about your legal options. Fill out our online form to schedule your appointment today.

     

  • How can the car’s black box help in my car accident case?

    Inspecting the Aftermath of a Car WreckWhen the negligent driver’s insurance company disputes the cause of your auto crash, you must prove the other driver was at fault in order to receive the compensation that you deserve. Pictures of the accident scene and damage to the vehicles, eyewitness testimony, and an accident reconstruction expert’s report are some of the ways that you can do this. Another key piece of evidence that may help you convince the insurance adjuster to settle your claim is data from the black boxes in the vehicles that were involved in the wreck.

    How Can Black Box Data Help Prove Liability in a Car Accident Claim?

    You may not realize that your vehicle contains a black box—also known as an electronic recording device (EDR). However, these data recording devices are required to be installed in vehicles manufactured after September 1, 2014, and were installed in some vehicles manufactured prior to that date. These black boxes do not record all the same data as an airplane’s black box, such as audio and video footage inside the vehicle, but still can provide a wealth of useful information.

    EDRs in autos will store data in two situations. If the airbag deployed in a crash, the black box will permanently store all of the information in the seconds leading up to and after the accident. When an airbag does not deploy, the data will only be stored for a shorter period of time before it is recorded over. Helpful information that an EDR provides includes:

    • Vehicle’s speed prior to the impact
    • Vehicle’s speed at the time of the actual collision
    • Steering angle when the crash occurred
    • Whether the vehicle’s occupants were using their seat belts
    • Whether the driver used his brakes before the impact
    • Whether the airbags were deployed
    • Number of crashes and the time period between them, which can be useful in a multi-vehicle crash

    You will need to act quickly to obtain this data before it is destroyed or taped over. Retaining an experienced car accident attorney right after your wreck is crucial if you want to obtain this and other evidence that could be lost if you wait too long.

    If you need assistance filing a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company, our skilled legal team is here to collect the evidence you will need and to negotiate your settlement for you. To get started, fill out our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

     

  • What is an independent medical exam in an auto accident case?

    Independent Medical Exams and What You Need to KnowWhen you file a claim for compensation following a car crash, you have to prove the negligent driver’s fault in causing the accident and the severity of your injuries. The insurance company will investigate your claim and look for information that it can use to deny or reduce your claim. One of the ways that it may try to do this is to request that you submit to an independent medical examination.

    What You Should Know About Independent Medical Exams

    An independent medical exam is a medical examination performed by a doctor at the request of the insurance company. It is also known as a compulsory medical exam because it is not independent nor is it voluntary. There is a good likelihood that the negligent driver’s insurance company will request that you submit to one if your claim is disputed. Here are some important points to keep in mind about these exams:

    • The insurance company requesting a compulsory medical exam gets to pick the doctor performing the exam and is responsible for paying for it.
    • You may not be required to submit to an independent medical exam unless you file a civil lawsuit. As part of the litigation process, the insurance company can most likely require you to submit to this exam.
    • If you file a claim under your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance company may require you to submit to this type of medical exam. You may be obligated to agree to this under the terms of your insurance policy.
    • You need to remember that the doctor for the insurance company is not your friend. He is paid by the insurance company and is looking for ways to minimize your injuries.
    • You should come to the compulsory medical exam prepared to answer questions about treatments that you have received and how your injury has limited your ability to work and do other activities.

    You should never agree to an independent medical examination or other request of the insurance company without first consulting with an experienced car accident attorney. Start learning about your legal options and pitfalls to avoid when filing your claim. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • How do I keep track of my medical bills for my injuries in an auto accident?

    Medical Bills After Auto Accident InjuriesIf you suffered injuries in a car accident caused by another driver, it can be overwhelming to deal with both your injuries and the pain that they cause you on a daily basis. Your stress can increase when you are forced to take time off work with no pay while you recover, and a barrage of medical bills starts pouring in that you cannot pay. However, it is important that you keep track of your medical bills so that you can obtain compensation for all of your medical expenses in your settlement.

    Types of Medical Expenses to Document

    You will not know if you are receiving what you are owed for your medical bills unless you keep accurate records for your attorney. The first step in staying organized is to know all the medical expenses that you should be compensated for. These include the following:

    • Surgery
    • Emergency room visits
    • Doctor and specialist appointments
    • Physical and other types of therapy
    • Diagnostic tests
    • Mental health treatments
    • Prescriptions and over-the-counter medications
    • Medical devices and equipment, such as braces, crutches, and wound dressings
    • Ambulance rides
    • Transportation and lodging expenses if you must travel to receive your treatment
    • Home health care
    • Household replacement services if you need someone to clean your house, take care of your children, or otherwise take care of your personal needs

    How to Keep Track of Your Medical Bills

    Keeping your medical bills in an organized fashion not only documents the amount of money that you are owed for medical expenses, but it also helps you keep a record of what medical treatment you received. When you are seeing doctors, specialists, and physical therapists on a regular basis, it may be hard to remember what treatment you received and when you received it. Your medical bills are one way that you can refresh your memory if you must testify at a deposition or trial. Here are ways to stay organized:

    • Keep a journal. Keeping a medical journal is an important way to keep track of your medical care. You can jot down a note about every doctor appointment, physical therapy session, and other expenses that you incur with the date of the event. You can also keep notes about your pain and limitations of movement due to your injuries on a regular basis here.
    • Take pictures. Some people like to take pictures of their medical records and bills to store on their computers and retrieve later.
    • File medical bills. File your medical bills in a designated place as you receive them to ensure that you keep track of them. You should talk to your attorney about ways that you can organize your bills that will make it easiest for him to review them and calculate your expenses when determining the value of your claim.

    Do you need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company? Our experienced car accident attorneys are here to guide you through the process and to fight for the compensation that you deserve. Call our office to schedule a free consultation to get your questions answered and learn more about your legal options.

     

  • Should I report my auto accident to my own insurance company if I was not at fault?

    Reporting Car Wrecks to the Insurance CompanyIn Virginia, the negligent driver who caused your auto crash is liable for fully compensating you for your losses, and you should file a claim with his insurance company. However, this does not mean that you should not report your accident to your own insurance company. By notifying your insurance company, you are preserving your rights to obtain additional sources of compensation if you need it.

    Why Reporting Your Wreck to Your Insurance Company Is Important

    Many people are under the misconception that they do not have to report their wreck to their auto insurance company if they plan to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company or that doing so will increase their insurance rates. Reporting an accident is different than filing a claim. You are simply notifying the insurance company of what happened. Here are reasons why you should do so:

    • Your insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company, and it most likely requires you to notify them of any accidents.
    • Promptly informing the company of your wreck is a requirement for filing a claim under the policy. You preserve your right to take this step if you later discover that you need to do so.

    Why You May Want to File a Claim Under Your Own Insurance Policy

    Even if you were not the at-fault driver, you may want to file a claim under your own policy. Here are some types of coverage that you may need to use:

    • Collision. Getting your vehicle repaired quickly will most likely be a priority. If there are disputes with the negligent driver’s insurance company about your claim, which is often the case, you may want to use your collision insurance coverage, if you purchased it, to get your vehicle repaired quickly. You may also need to use your own insurance coverage to pay for car rental or towing costs.
    • Uninsured motorist coverage. In Virginia, you are required to purchase at least $20,000 in uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage as part of the minimum auto liability insurance you must have to drive a vehicle. If the other driver had no insurance, you would need to file a claim under this coverage.
    • Underinsured motorist coverage. If the negligent driver had the minimum amount of liability coverage of $25,000 for injuries to one person or $50,000 for injuries to more than one person per accident, this may be insufficient to fully compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You can file a claim under your own underinsured motorist coverage for the amount that you are owed not covered by the other driver’s insurance policy.

    Filing a claim for compensation following a car accident can be complicated, and there are many decisions that you will need to make during the settlement process. Let our experienced car accident attorneys take over the burden of pursuing your claim and fighting for the compensation that you deserve. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • Can I file a dram shop or social host claim against the business or person who served alcohol to the drunk driver who caused my accident?

    If a drunk driver caused you to suffer injuries in a drunk driving accident, you can file a civil lawsuit against him for compensation for your injuries. In many states, you can also file an action against other parties who served the intoxicated person alcohol. Do you have a right to pursue these claims in Virginia?

    Dram Shop and Social Host Laws in Virginia

    A dram shop law allows a victim of a drunk driving wreck to pursue a claim against the bar, restaurant, or retail business that sold alcohol to the driver when they knew, or should have knownDram Shop Laws in Virginia , that the person was intoxicated. Many state laws allow accident victims to pursue these claims. Unfortunately, the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that these civil claims cannot be filed against a vendor of alcohol in our state.

    Social host laws permit claims against social hosts who serve alcohol to intoxicated persons at parties, their homes, or other locations who then drive and cause an accident. As with dram shop laws, these claims are not permitted in Virginia. However, a social host who provides alcohol to a minor under 21 years of age can face criminal charges for doing so.

    Who Is Liable for Compensating You in a Drunk Driving Accident?

    While it is harsh that Virginia does not allow accident victims to sue those that serve alcohol when they should not, the drunk driver who caused your accident is fully responsible for your injuries if you can prove that his intoxication caused your wreck. Drinking after driving can impair driving in many ways that can lead to a driver to cause a wreck including:

    • Reduced vision
    • Slowed reaction times
    • Inability to properly judge distances
    • Impaired judgment, which can lead drivers to engage in reckless driving behaviors
    • Drowsiness

    You could suffer catastrophic injuries in a drunk driving accident, such as traumatic brain injury, internal organ damage, burns, and paralysis, which could require you to be off work for long periods of time or cause permanent disability. You can hold the drunk driver accountable for compensating you for your medical bills, lost wages, and more—with the help of an experienced car accident attorney. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation to learn about your legal options and how our experienced legal team will fight for the settlement that you deserve.

     

  • How can I spot a drunk driver to avoid a car accident?

    Spotting Drunk Drivers on the RoadWhile you can control your own actions and not get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, you cannot control what other motorists do. Unfortunately, many make the wrong decision of driving when intoxicated, which can significantly reduce their ability to drive safely. Slowed reaction time, poor judgment, inability to concentrate on more than one task, and reduced vision are some of the ways that drunk driving affects driving abilities and leads to catastrophic accidents. However, you can take steps to keep you and your family safe.

    Top Signs That a Driver Is Drunk

    You need to be aware of the signs that a driver is intoxicated so that you can watch for them when you are on the road. If you spot a driver exhibiting these warning signs, you should keep a safe distance from him and contact the police. In this way, you protect others on the road as well as yourself. Here are ways that you can identify a drunk driver:

    • Veering into other lanes. Because of problems judging distances and drowsy driving, a drunk driver can veer into another traffic lane—sometimes causing a head-on collision. This can also lead the driver to suddenly overcorrect, which can cause an accident.
    • Colliding with objects. Some drunk drivers will not see traffic signs, mailboxes, and other objects and crash into them because of reduced vision.
    • Wide turns. The inability to judge distances can cause a drunk driver to make wide turns, which can lead to a head-on or side-impact wreck.
    • Straddling a lane divider. To avoid crossing into another lane or veering off the road, drunk drivers often drive too close to the center lane line or other lane dividers.
    • Driving under the speed limit. Some drunk drivers will compensate for their intoxication by driving too slowly—10 miles or more below the speed limit.
    • Tailgating. Being drunk can impair a person’s judgment, which can cause him to speed and tailgate other drivers. This can be even more dangerous due to slowed reaction times and inability to judge distances.
    • Headlights. Some drivers are so intoxicated that they do not realize that their headlights are not on, making it more challenging for them to see and to be seen by other drivers.
    • Turn signals. If a driver is intoxicated, he may use the wrong turn signal, not use it at all, or forget to turn it off, making it more difficult for you to determine whether the driver intends to turn.

    No matter how hard you try to avoid drunk drivers on the road, you could suffer injuries in an accident caused by a drunk driver. However, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries from the drunk driver. To learn about your legal options, schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys. Call our office today to schedule your appointment.

     

  • What is the sudden medical emergency defense in an auto accident case?

    Medical Emergency Defense While DrivingIf you pursue a claim for compensation for injuries following a motor vehicle accident, the negligent driver has the right to raise any defenses as to why he is not responsible for compensating you. A common defense the driver could raise is that you were partially or completely at fault for causing the wreck. A rarer defense—but one that is important to understand—that may be used to deny your claim is the sudden medical emergency defense.

    What Must Be Proven to Establish the Medical Emergency Defense?

    While most car accidents are caused by speeding, texting, not following traffic laws, or other driver error, in some cases, the crash will be the result of the driver’s medical condition. In rare cases, a driver may experience a sudden medical emergency, such as a stroke, seizure, or heart attack, without any prior notice. In order to establish the sudden medical emergency defense, the driver would need to prove the following:

    • He suffered a physical incapacity.
    • The physical incapacity was not foreseeable.
    • The incapacity caused the driver to be unable to control his vehicle.
    • The crash was in fact caused by the sudden physical incapacity.

    How Can You Fight a Medical Emergency Defense?

    If the negligent driver claims a medical emergency caused your crash, you should not take his statements at face value. Your first step should be to retain an experienced car accident attorney who can investigate your accident and obtain the driver’s medical records. In many cases, the negligent driver had warnings of the medical condition but did not seek treatment or had contacted a doctor about it. You need an experienced lawyer who can review the medical records and hire any necessary experts to refute this defense.

    Were you or a family member injured in an auto wreck? Let our experienced car accident attorneys take over the burden of investigating your accident and negotiating a settlement with all liable parties. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out our online form.

     

  • Should I sign a medical authorization for the negligent driver’s insurance company?

    Insurance Company’s Medical Authorization FormIf you must file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company following an auto accident, the insurance adjuster could contact you to sign a medical authorization for release of your medical records to the insurance company. Should you sign the medical authorization? Here, we discuss why you should not sign the insurance company’s release and how doing so could damage your claim for compensation.

    Why You Should Refuse to Sign the Insurance Company’s Medical Authorization

    While it is true that the insurance adjuster will need to review your medical records pertaining to your injuries caused by the accident, there are safer ways for you to provide this information to him without signing a release. Here are reasons why you do not want to sign this legal document:

    • Blanket authorization. The medical authorization that the insurance company wants you to sign is a broad release that would allow the adjuster to obtain all of your medical records. Much of this information is unnecessary to the settlement of your claim. By giving the adjuster a blanket authorization, you increase the risk that he will find something in your prior records that he can use to deny or reduce your claim. Many times this is not for legitimate reasons.
    • Pre-existing injuries. If you suffered a pre-existing injury to the same body part, you will have to disclose it to the insurance company. A better strategy would be to retain an experienced car accident attorney and let him disclose your pre-existing condition and provide the medical records that the adjuster truly needs.
    • Invasion of privacy. Providing the insurance company with all of your medical records is an invasion of your privacy and could result in giving the insurance company irrelevant and sensitive medical information about you.

    How Should You Provide Medical Records to the Negligent Driver’s Insurance Company?

    Signing a medical authorization for the insurance company without first consulting with an attorney is one of many mistakes in filing a car accident claim that you want to avoid. You should have an attorney review any documents before you sign them to be certain that it is in your interests to sign and you are not waiving important legal rights. Your attorney can investigate your accident, collect the necessary medical records for your claim, and send them to the insurance adjuster for you—without the need for you to sign an authorization.

    Is the negligent driver’s insurance adjuster asking you to sign a medical release? Our experienced car accident attorneys are happy to discuss your situation with you and review the document for you. To schedule your free consultation, call our Norfolk office today.

     

  • Should I file a police report following an auto accident if I suffered no obvious injuries?

    Importance of a Police Report After a Car WreckWhile you may know the importance of filing a police report if there was significant damage to the vehicles involved in the car accident or someone was injured, you may not want to bother when the property damage was minor and there were no apparent injuries. You may think that you can handle the situation yourself or work something out directly with the at-fault driver instead of involving the police or any insurance companies. However, this could be a bad decision that you later regret if you find you need to file a claim for compensation.

    Reasons to Always File a Police Report After a Car Crash

    While the police may decline to come to the accident scene in a minor collision, you always want to call them and report the accident. Here is why it would be a big mistake not to have the police investigate your crash:

    • Additional injuries or damage to the vehicle. You could discover that your vehicle suffered more serious damage that will require expensive repairs or that you suffered injuries that were not immediately apparent. Back and spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and internal organ damage are just a few medical conditions that victims do not realize they suffered until symptoms appear days or weeks after the accident. If you failed to contact the police, you may lose important information that would have been in the police report that you will need when filing your claim.
       
    • Denial of liability. If the driver admitted liability and agreed to pay you for your minor losses at the accident scene, he could change his story later and claim you were the negligent driver. This can be more difficult for a driver to do if the police were contacted and the officer included the driver’s statements as to how the accident occurred in the police report.
       
    • False information. When you exchange contact information with the negligent driver, he could give you false information regarding himself and his insurance company. If so, you may have no ability to file a claim for compensation if you discover you suffered injuries. When you call the police, the driver would be less likely to provide misleading information.

    Were you injured in a car accident caused by another driver? Let our experienced car accident attorneys take over the burden of investigating your accident, filing your claim, and negotiating your settlement so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Take advantage of our offer of a free consultation to get your questions answered and learn more about the value of your claim. Call our office today to schedule your appointment.

     

  • What happens if a friend or family member borrows my auto and gets into an accident?

    Borrowed Vehicle AccidentsWhen you let a friend or family member borrow your car and he gets into a wreck, who is responsible for paying for the damage to your vehicle and for the injuries that victims suffer can be complicated. In addition, insurance coverage may not be clear-cut either. Here, we discuss what you need to know about these accidents.

    Who Is Liable in a Borrowed Vehicle Accident?

    If a friend or family caused a wreck in your vehicle, you could be liable for compensating victims if you gave the person permission to drive your vehicle. However, whether you have insurance coverage may not be as clear-cut. If the other driver was the at-fault driver, he would be responsible for compensating your friend or family member for any injuries and the damage to your vehicle. You would need to file a claim with his insurance company for your losses.

    What Factors Influence Whether You Have Insurance Coverage When You Lend Out Your Car?

    You may assume that your own auto insurance policy will provide coverage for the accident when you lend your car to someone. However, this is not necessarily true. These factors could influence whether you have coverage:

    • Permission. If you gave the family member or friend permission to drive your vehicle, most likely your insurance policy will provide you with coverage if this person caused the accident. You should also have coverage for the damage to your vehicle if you chose to file a claim under your policy instead of the negligent driver’s insurance policy.
       
    • Household status. Did the friend or family member who was involved in the accident live with you? If so, he may be covered under your insurance policy as someone in your household. However, some insurance companies require you to specifically add these people as insured drivers in order for them to have any coverage under your policy—even if you permitted them to use your car. You will need to read your insurance policy to determine if this is required.
       
    • Exclusions. If a person is specifically excluded from coverage under your insurance policy, you would not have any insurance coverage if you lent your vehicle to him and he was involved in a crash.

    Figuring out your liability and insurance coverage is especially important if your friend or family member was at-fault in causing the crash since you may be responsible for compensating the victim. You need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to determine this. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation to learn how we can help you understand your liabilities and insurance coverage in this situation.