You Deserve the Answers to Your Questions Regarding Your Accident
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What do I need to prove to win my whiplash injury claim?
Whiplash is a common injury caused in Norfolk and Virginia Beach car accidents. Unfortunately, victims often have a difficult time convincing the negligent driver’s insurance company of the seriousness of their injuries. If you suffered a whiplash injury and are filing an insurance claim, you need to know how to prove your case if you want to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
What Is Whiplash?
A whiplash injury can occur when a person’s neck is jerked back and forth in an auto collision. It is a soft tissue issue injury. You should be examined by a doctor if you experience any symptoms. Common ones include:
- Pain and tightness in the neck
- Limitations in the range of movement of the neck
- Headaches at the back of the skull
- Shoulder, upper back, or arm tenderness or pain
- Arm numbness
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty sleeping
- Memory and concentration problems
What Evidence Is Needed to Prove a Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash injury claims are often difficult to prove because the symptoms can take days or longer to develop. In addition, insurance adjusters often view whiplash as a temporary injury that will heal quickly. The reality is that it could take you months or longer to recover from a whiplash injury.
You need to collect strong evidence to prove your case. Types of evidence that can help you win your case include:
- Documentation of accident cause. The police report, eyewitness statements, and photos taken right after the crash can help establish its cause. It can also be essential to show the speed of your vehicle, the point of impact, where you were sitting, how the headrest was positioned, and whether the airbags deployed.
- Medical records. You need strong medical evidence proving that you sought prompt medical care and followed your doctor’s advice on the treatments you need for your injuries. It is crucial that your medical records not show gaps in your medical care or missed doctor or physical therapy appointments.
- Medication records. You should save documentation of the medications you took to manage the pain caused by the whiplash.
- Diagnostic tests. X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs may help show you suffered whiplash or a spinal injury.
- Documentation of damages. You will need to prove the amount of compensation you are entitled to for your medical bills and lost wages. You should save all your medical bills, prescription receipts, and documentation of your lost wages, vacation and sick time, and other perks of your job.
- Expert witnesses. You may need a medical expert to prove that the car crash caused your whiplash and the necessary medical treatments. If you suffered a long-term injury, you might also have to hire an economic expert to calculate your future damages.
Did you suffer whiplash in an auto collision that was not your fault in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? To schedule your free initial consultation with our experienced car accident lawyers, call our Norfolk office at 757-625-1214 or complete our convenient online form.
What could happen if I exaggerate my injuries in a car accident?
Exaggerating your injuries after an auto collision in Virginia is never a good idea. You could make it harder to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
How the Insurance Company Could Discover the Exaggeration of Your Injuries
Before offering you a settlement, the insurance company would investigate your claim. One of their investigation goals would be to search for any information they could use to deny your claim or pay you less than you are entitled to under Virginia.
They would most likely discover your exaggerations about your injuries during their investigation. Here are three ways they could discover this:
- Surveillance. The insurance company could hire a private investigator to engage in surveillance multiple times while your claim is being settled. The investigator could follow you, stake out your house, and take photographs of you doing activities you could not do if you were as hurt as you claim. If you are exaggerating how serious your injuries are, they will discover this when they spy on you.
- Social media. The insurance adjuster could also search your social media accounts for statements you make about your injuries and for posts about activities you are engaged in that you could not do if you were really hurt as much as you claim.
- Medical records. The insurance company will review all your medical records and look for inconsistencies in how you describe your injuries and your pain level to what your medical records show.
How Not Being Truthful About Your Injuries Could Hurt Your Claim
Exaggerating the severity of your injuries is always a bad idea. Here are ways this could weaken your claim:
- Your credibility. If the insurance company finds out you were not truthful about your injuries, this will weaken your credibility as a witness. They may question other statements you made, such as the cause of the car accident.
- Compensation. You may exaggerate your injuries in hopes of obtaining more compensation from the insurance company. However, this strategy could backfire. If the insurance adjuster discovers your exaggerations, it would significantly weaken your case, and you could be forced to accept less money to settle your claim.
- Fraud. Your exaggerations may be considered insurance fraud. This may be grounds for the insurance company to deny your claim or to sue you to recover any damages they paid you.
Were you injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our Norfolk office at 757-265-1214 or complete our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today to learn how our experienced car accident attorneys can help you.
How much will hiring an attorney to handle a pedestrian accident claim cost?
Fortunately, you can afford to retain an experienced car accident lawyer to settle your pedestrian collision claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. Most attorneys in Virginia handle these cases on a contingency fee basis. Here is what you need to know about how you would be charged attorney fees in your case.
How Do Contingency Fee Agreements Work?
If your lawyer charges their fees for handling your pedestrian accident claim on a contingency basis, you would not owe any upfront attorney fees. Here is how a contingency fee agreement would work:
- You would only owe attorney fees if your lawyer was able to settle your claim or won your case at a jury trial.
- Your attorney would charge you a percentage of your settlement or judgment as their attorney fees. The typical fee is 33 percent, but it could range from between 20 and 40 percent of your award.
- The attorney fees you owe would be deducted from your settlement or judgment proceeds before you receive your check.
Will You Owe Other Costs and Expenses?
You will also be charged any costs and expenses incurred in your case. These include the costs to obtain medical records and the police report, expert witness fees, court reporter fees for depositions, filing fees, and other costs if your claim must be litigated.
You may have to pay for these expenses upfront, or your attorney could pay them and deduct them from your settlement. Your lawyer should explain how they charge their attorney fees and these expenses at your initial consultation. If you agree to hire them and they agree to take your case, you should sign a retainer agreement stating what you will owe and how the attorney will be paid.
Are There Other Considerations You Should Think About When Deciding on a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
When you are deciding which lawyer to hire to handle your case, their attorney fees should only be one consideration in making your decision. You should also evaluate their experience in handling pedestrian accident claims and their track record of success in settling and litigating these types of cases. You want an attorney who is not afraid to take your case to a jury trial if the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement.
Were you injured in a pedestrian accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our convenient online form to schedule a free initial consultation today to learn how we can assist you.
Can I choose a repair shop after a car accident?
Yes, you can choose where to get your motor vehicle repaired after an auto collision in Virginia. However, there are many considerations that you need to think about when making this decision.
Can the Insurance Company Insist That I Use Their Preferred Repair Shop?
Under Virginia law, insurance companies cannot demand that a policyholder or car accident victim take their auto to a specific shop for repairs. They also cannot require selecting a repair facility or mechanic from a list of repair facilities or body shops. However, they do have the right to provide a list of preferred shops that they recommend the person use.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Using the Insurance Company’s or Your Own Repair Shop?
You need to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of selecting the repair shop to repair your vehicle vs. using one recommended by the insurance company. Some of the pros of using the insurance company’s choice of repair shop include:
- Quicker process. You may be able to get your auto repaired faster if you use the insurance company’s repair shop. Because the repair facility has an ongoing relationship with the insurance company, they may repair your vehicle quicker. In addition, you could avoid the need to get multiple estimates before getting the work done.
- Less paperwork. The insurance company may take care of more of the paperwork if you use the shop they recommend.
- Additional costs. If additional costs are incurred while your car is being repaired, the insurance company may be more likely to pay them or not argue about whether they are covered if you are using their preferred repair shop.
- Payment of claim. If you are seeking compensation for your injuries and reimbursement for the cost of repairing your vehicle, the negligent driver’s insurance company could separate the claims and pay the property damage claim immediately. They may be more likely to do this if you use a recommended repair facility.
There are also benefits to selecting the shop where your auto will be repaired:
- Your mechanic. You may have a long-term relationship with a repair facility or mechanic. You may trust them more than the one selected by the insurance company to do a good job when repairing your vehicle.
- Long distance. The insurance company's repair facility could be a long distance from your home. It may be more convenient to use a shop closer to where you live.
- Better quality repairs. The quality of repairs may be better if you choose who does them. The repair shop for the insurance company could use cheaper parts or not completely repair a problem to cut down on the costs.
Contact Our Experienced Car Accident Lawyers Today
Do you have questions about where to take your auto for repairs after a car accident or your right to compensation for your injuries? Call our Norfolk office at 757-265-1214 or complete our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today with our experienced car accident lawyers to learn about your rights and find out how we can help you.
Should I file my car accident claim or talk with an attorney first?
You may be in a hurry to settle your auto accident claim if you suffered injuries due to another driver’s negligence, have mounting medical bills, and cannot work. You may think you will speed up the process by filing your claim first, especially if you need to search for an experienced car accident lawyer to assist you. However, it would be best to hire an attorney before contacting the insurance company.
What Are the Dangers of Contacting the Insurance Company First?
If you want to receive all the compensation you deserve under Virginia law, you should avoid filing your claim with the insurance company before you hire a lawyer to represent you. You could make mistakes when speaking to the insurance company that weakens your case and gives them ammunition to dispute your claim. Here are the dangers of contacting the insurance company first:
- Your statements. You could inadvertently say something, such as “I’m sorry,” that the insurance company can argue is an admission of your negligence in causing the auto crash.
- Your injuries. Right after your collision, you do not know how serious your injuries are, the treatments you need, or whether you will make a full recovery. If you discuss your injuries with the insurance adjuster when filing your claim, you may make statements suggesting your injuries are not severe.
- Recorded statement. You could agree to give a recorded statement, which is a question and answer session with the insurance company that is recorded and transcribed into a written document. Even if you are careful, you could make a damaging statement that hurts your case.
- Quick settlement. You could agree to a quick settlement of your case for far less compensation than you are entitled to.
- Other mistakes. You could make another mistake, such as agreeing to sign the insurance company’s medical release, that raises disputes in your case.
What Are the Benefits of Talking to a Lawyer Before Filing Your Claim?
There are many advantages of retaining a skilled car accident attorney before filing your insurance claim. The process of settling your claim could go faster. Other benefits include:
- Your best interests. Your attorney will have your best interests at heart. The insurance company’s goal is to save money by denying your claim or paying you less compensation in your settlement.
- Communications. Your lawyer will take over all communications with the insurance company and file your claim. This will help you avoid making damaging statements or agreeing to something that weakens your case.
- Evidence. An attorney will collect the evidence you need to prove your case so that you receive the maximum recovery in your settlement.
- Value of your claim. A lawyer can advise you on the strength of your case and how much money you can realistically expect to receive from the insurance company.
- Settlement. Your attorney will negotiate your settlement for you and have strategies to defeat the insurance company’s unfair tactics to deny your claim. If necessary, they would file a lawsuit and litigate your claim.
Do you need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company after a car accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today to get your questions answered and learn how we can assist you.
Will my car accident attorney deal with the insurance company for me?
Dealing with a negligent driver’s insurance company can be a frustrating experience if you suffer injuries and are handling your claim on your own. It is strongly preferable to retain an experienced car accident lawyer who will take over negotiations with the insurance company.
Reasons Not to Deal With the Insurance Company on Your Own
Even if you have a strong claim against the at-fault driver, you cannot count on the insurance company to treat you fairly. An insurance company will often do everything they can to weaken your case so they can deny your claim or force you to accept less damages in your settlement. Ways they do this if you do not have a lawyer include:
- Offer you a low-ball settlement offer
- Get you to make a statement that hurts your claim
- Ask you to sign documents that waive your rights
- Get you to give a recorded statement
- Drag out settlement negotiations in hopes that you will miss the statute of limitations to file your lawsuit
How Having an Attorney Communicate With the Insurance Company Can Help You
You should retain a skilled car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your collision. Here is how having a lawyer take over communications with the insurance adjuster can help you:
- Avoid mistakes. Having an attorney talk to the insurance adjuster on your behalf will help you avoid costly mistakes, such as making an admission of guilt or signing a medical release, that can hurt your case.
- Collect evidence. Your lawyer will collect the evidence you need to prove the other motorist’s fault in causing your auto crash, the seriousness of your injuries, and the amount of compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law. This will strengthen your case and help convince the insurance company to offer you a fair settlement.
- Negotiate your settlement. Your attorney would negotiate your settlement with the insurance company. They will have strategies and evidence to defeat the adjuster’s bogus arguments to deny your claim or pay you less than you deserve.
- Litigate your claim. If your lawyer determines that the insurance company is not being reasonable or the statute of limitations to file your complaint will expire soon, they will file a lawsuit on your behalf and litigate your claim.
Were you injured in an auto collision in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Our dedicated car accident lawyers are here to explain your options to you and take over all communications with the insurance company. Call our office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today to learn more about how we can assist you.
Does the attorney-client privilege protect me when filing a car accident claim?
If you were injured in an auto collision caused by a negligent driver in Virginia, you are much more likely to obtain all the compensation you deserve for your injuries if you hire a knowledgeable car accident lawyer to settle your claim. An added benefit of retaining an attorney is that the attorney-client privilege would protect your conversations with them.
What Is the Attorney-Client Privilege?
The attorney-client privilege protects your communications with your lawyer, and they are not allowed to share your conversations with them with other individuals. It protects your communications through in-person appointments, phone calls, texts, emails, and correspondence. For your communications to be protected, these requirements must be met:
- There must be an attorney-client relationship between you and your lawyer, and you both must understand that this relationship exists between you.
- Your attorney acted in their official capacity as your lawyer when you communicated with them.
- You were communicating with your attorney to obtain legal advice from them.
- You expected the communications to be confidential.
What Are the Benefits of the Attorney-Client Privilege?
When the attorney-client privilege protects your communications with your lawyer, it will give you the freedom to discuss any potential problems, questions, or concerns you have with them. This helps you learn how specific issues could affect your claim’s strength while knowing that what you say will not be disclosed to others, such as the insurance company.
This also helps your lawyer. They need to know everything about how your car accident occurred, your injuries, and potential problems in your case to effectively represent you. They will be better prepared to deal with an issue if the insurance adjuster raises it to try to deny your claim or reduce the compensation the insurance company pays you.
Do you need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company for your injuries in an auto crash in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Our experienced car accident lawyers are here to explain your options to you and fight with the insurance company for all the damages you are entitled to under Virginia law. To schedule your free initial consultation, call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our convenient online form.
Who is liable for compensating me for my injuries in a car accident—the driver or the owner?
Your claim for compensation for your injuries is more complicated if the driver of the auto that struck yours was not its owner. In Virginia, the negligent motorist is responsible for compensating you if you were hurt in the car accident. However, you may also have a claim against the vehicle’s owner.
Which Insurance Company Should You File a Claim With If a Non-Owner Caused Your Auto Crash?
A car insurance policy attaches to a vehicle and its driver. This means that the owner’s insurance company would be primarily responsible for paying you the damages you deserve if they gave the driver permission to use their car. You could also file a claim with the driver’s insurance company if the owner’s coverage was insufficient to compensate you fully.
How to Hold the Owner Responsible for Your Injuries
Although the owner’s insurance policy would cover your auto wreck even if they were not in the vehicle, they would not be personally responsible for compensating you unless you could pursue a negligent entrustment claim against them. The owner could be liable if you can prove the following:
- The driver had the express or implied consent of the owner to use their vehicle.
- The owner negligently entrusted the vehicle to the driver. To establish this, you would need to show that they knew or should have known that allowing the driver to drive their car created an unreasonable risk of harm to others because the driver was unable to operate the motor vehicle safely.
- The negligent entrustment of the car was the direct cause of your injuries.
Were you injured in a car accident where the negligent driver was not the motor vehicle owner? You need the help of an experienced car accident lawyer who will identify all the negligent parties responsible for compensating you and fight with their insurance companies so you receive the maximum recovery in your settlement. If your collision was in Norfolk or Virginia Beach, call our office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.
How long do I have to file my lawsuit after a bicycle accident?
If you were injured in a bicycle collision caused by a negligent driver, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. When pursuing your claim with their insurance company, it is important to understand the steps you need to take to build a strong case, mistakes to avoid, and important laws that apply to your claim.
One crucial law you need to know is the statute of limitations, which is the deadline you have to sue, that applies in your case. If you fail to file your lawsuit under this time period, you could ruin your case.
What Is the Deadline to File the Bicycle Crash Lawsuit?
You have a short time to file your bicycle accident complaint in Virginia. The time period is slightly different for a claim for your personal injuries than a wrongful death lawsuit filed because a loved one died.
Time Periods to File a Civil Complaint After a Bicycle Accident
- Personal injuries. You have two years from the date of your bike crash to file a lawsuit for the injuries you suffered in the accident.
- Wrongful death. You have two years from the date of the death of your family member, which could be different than the date of their bicycle crash, to file a civil complaint.
- Property damage. You have a much longer time to file a property damage complaint. You would have five years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit.
What Happens If You Miss the Statute of Limitations to File Your Complaint?
If you miss the deadline to file your lawsuit, the consequences would be harsh. The insurance company would file a motion to dismiss your complaint. The judge would most likely grant their motion and dismiss your case. You would be barred from pursuing your right to compensation in court.
While there is no statute of limitations to filing a claim with the insurance company, the reality is that they would refuse to pay your claim if you file it or try to settle it after the statute of limitations expired. They would have no incentive to pay you because they would know that you could not successfully sue their insured.
Even if you have plenty of time to file a bicycle crash lawsuit, you should not wait to retain an experienced car accident attorney. They will have an easier time helping you settle your claim for the maximum amount you are entitled to if you contact them soon after your collision. To learn about your rights and how we can assist you, contact us online or call our office at 877-960-3441 today to schedule your free initial consultation.
What is a third-party car insurance claim?
No matter how safe a driver you are, you could be involved in a car accident caused by another driver. You may be entitled to compensation for injuries you suffered in the crash under Virginia law. When deciding how to pursue your rights, you must understand the difference between a first-party and third-party auto collision claim.
Difference Between First- and Third-Party Auto Insurance Claims
Virginia is an at-fault state in regard to car accidents. This means that the negligent driver would be fully responsible for compensating you for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damages, and pain and suffering. There are two types of claims you may need to file:
- Third-party claim. A third-party claim is a claim you would file with the at-fault motorist's insurance company. In order to be entitled to compensation, you would need to prove the other driver's negligence, the seriousness of your injuries, and the amount of damages you should recover.
- First-party claim. A first-party claim is one filed with your own auto insurance company. The basis of your claim would be the contract between the insurance company and yourself. If you purchased collision or medical coverage, you may recover additional damages under these coverages.
How to Determine Whether to File a First- or Third-Party Insurance Car Crash Claim
It can be complicated to figure out whether you should file a first-party and/or third-party insurance claim and to reach a settlement with the insurance company on your own. You need the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer to determine which claims you need to file and to go up against the insurance company to get the compensation you deserve.
You might be tempted to negotiate your settlement with the insurance company on your own to save the cost of attorney fees. However, this would be a big mistake. Your own insurance company might not treat you fairly if the value of your claim is large—which is likely if you suffered serious injuries. They could use unfair tactics to deny your claim or to pay you less money, just like the negligent driver's insurance company would do.
At Tavss Fletcher, we handle car accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you would not owe us any attorney fees until we settle your claim or win your case at a jury trial. Contact our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.
How much is my pedestrian accident claim worth?
You may have many questions if you were injured in a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent driver. If you are like many of our clients, one of your biggest worries may be about the value of your claim.
Unfortunately, there is no set formula for valuing a pedestrian injury claim, and each case is unique. However, here’s what goes into determining a ballpark figure of how much you can expect to receive in your settlement with the insurance company.
Compensation You Can Recover in a Pedestrian Collision Case
The first thing that you need to determine to value your claim is how much compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law. You should keep in mind that you should receive your future damages as well as your past damages if you have not fully recovered from your injuries or have sustained a permanent injury.
You are entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and lost earning capacity, property damages, and pain and suffering. While it can be easy to determine the cost of your medical treatment, prior lost wages, and property damages, it can be complicated to figure out your future damages and what you should recover for your pain and suffering without the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer.
Factors That Can Affect the Value of Your Claim
The value of your claim is also affected by certain factors that make your case stronger or weaker. Here are the top factors that can have an impact on your claim’s value:
- Your evidence. If you have strong evidence that proves the motorist’s negligence in causing your pedestrian accident and the seriousness of your injuries, this will strengthen your claim and increase its value.
- Disputes with the insurance company. If you have disputes with the insurance company over who caused your collision or how serious your injuries are, this could weaken your case and force you to accept less in your settlement. However, this only applies if the insurance company has legitimate arguments about their liability to pay you and not made-up ones to deny your claim.
- Your injuries. If your injuries are serious, you will have more medical expenses and lost wages. You will also experience more pain and suffering and a reduced quality of life. This can significantly increase the value of your case.
Were you or a family member injured in a pedestrian accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our office or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free case evaluation to learn how our skilled car accident legal team can assist you in obtaining justice and the compensation you deserve.
Should I represent myself in my car accident case?
If you were injured in an auto collision caused by a negligent driver, you have the right to represent yourself when filing your claim with their insurance company. However, this does not mean it is a good idea. You will almost certainly obtain far less compensation if you do not retain an experienced car accident lawyer to negotiate your settlement.
Five Reasons You Should Not Represent Yourself
You would run the risk of making a mistake that weakens your case or being taken advantage of by the insurance adjuster if an attorney does not represent you. Here are five reasons you should not handle your own case:
- Evidence. You will not understand the evidence you need to prove the other driver’s negligence, the seriousness of your injuries, and the damages you should recover. You must prove all these elements of your case if you want the insurance company to agree to a fair settlement of your claim.
- Value of your claim. You do not have the experience to determine the amount of compensation you deserve from the negligent driver. You need the help of a lawyer who has a track record of success in settling and trying car accident cases to determine the amount of past and future medical expenses, lost wages and lost earning capacity damages, and pain and suffering you should receive.
- Negotiations. It takes skill to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company because their goal is to deny your claim or pay you less money than you deserve. You would not be able to anticipate the arguments they will make or have strategies to refute them. However, an attorney will know how to effectively handle disputes with the insurance adjuster.
- Deadlines. You must file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, which is the deadline you have to sue, and comply with other deadlines in your case. You could be precluded from obtaining any compensation if you miss a crucial deadline.
- Litigation. If the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement, you will need to litigate your claim. You would be at a serious disadvantage if you tried to represent yourself in your lawsuit. You need the help of a lawyer licensed in Virginia who is not afraid to take your case to a jury trial if this is in your best interests.
Were you or a loved one injured in a car accident in the Norfolk or Virginia Beach area? Our dedicated car accident legal team is here to answer your questions and go up against the insurance company for the compensation you deserve. Call our office or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.
What should I do if the negligent driver lies to their insurance company?
If another driver was at fault in causing your car accident, they are responsible for compensating you for your injuries under Virginia law. However, they may lie to the insurance company to avoid liability for paying you. If you find yourself in this situation, take these steps to protect your rights and build a winning case.
#1: Remain Calm
If the motorist plans to lie to their insurance company, they will most likely begin by accusing you of causing the auto collision and by being dishonest when discussing the crash with the police. You should stay calm and avoid arguing with them. You will not change their mind.
#2: Be Honest
If you know the other driver is not being truthful, it is important that you be honest and concise when talking to the police and insurance adjuster. You should calmly explain what happened to the police when they interview you. Hopefully, they will also talk to witnesses who will corroborate how your accident really happened. Then, obtain a copy of the police report to provide to the insurance company.
You should also be truthful and not exaggerate how the collision occurred or the severity of your injuries when talking to the other motorist’s insurance company. You should stick to the basic facts.
#3: Collect Evidence
You should begin obtaining evidence that will help you prove the other driver’s negligence at the accident scene. Important evidence to collect includes:
- Photos and videos of the damage to the autos, weather and road conditions, and your injuries
- Surveillance footage from nearby businesses
- Witness contact information and statements
- Police report
#4: Retain a Lawyer
You will have a harder time convincing the insurance company of their liability to pay you if their insured is lying about how your collision occurred. You should hire an experienced car accident lawyer immediately after the crash. They can collect all the evidence you need to win your case, take over communications with the insurance adjuster, and negotiate your settlement so that you obtain the damages you deserve.
Were you or a family member hurt in a car accident that was not your fault? Is the other driver lying about how it happened? Fill out our online form to learn how we will fight for your right to compensation for your injuries.
What should I do if the negligent driver offers me cash at the scene of my car accident?
If the at-fault motorist who caused your auto crash offers you cash or a check right after it occurred, you should refuse to accept the money. They most likely have ulterior motives for offering to pay you, like not wanting to contact the police because they do not have insurance or a valid license or are worried that their auto insurance rates will go up. Here are three reasons why accepting money at the scene of your car collision would be a bad idea.
Reason #1: It Would Be a Final Settlement
If you accept the cash or a check and cash it, it would most likely be considered a final settlement of your case. You would not be able to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company for additional money if you discovered that the amount the driver paid you did not fully compensate you for your injuries or your property damages.
Reason #2: Your Repair Costs Could Be Higher
Even if you think the damage to your car is minor, the cost to repair it could be more expensive than you think. In addition, you could have other out-of-pocket expenses, like repair costs for other property damaged and car rental fees, that would not be covered by the payment the motorist is offering you.
Reason #3: You Could Have Suffered Serious Injuries
Even if you do not believe you were hurt in the car accident, you could have suffered serious injuries. The symptoms of some injuries can take days or longer to develop. Long-term injuries you may have suffered include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
If you suffered one of these or another injury, you could need expensive medical treatments, be off work for months or longer or become permanently disabled, and suffer emotional distress due to your injuries and how they affect your abilities and quality of life. Any cash payment that the other motorist offers you would not compensate you for all the damages you could be entitled to under Virginia law.
Were you injured in a car accident in the Norfolk or Virginia Beach area? Our experienced car accident lawyers have decades of experience helping auto crash victims obtain justice and the compensation they deserved. To learn how we can assist you, fill out our online form or call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
Can I obtain compensation above the negligent driver’s insurance limits?
If you were injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you are entitled to be fully compensated for your injuries under Virginia law. However, this may not seem possible if the at-fault motorist does not have enough insurance coverage to pay you.
Can you obtain compensation above their insurance limits? Yes, you may be able to recover more damages—if you have the help of an experienced car accident lawyer.
How to Obtain Additional Damages Above the Driver’s Policy Limits
The insurance company for the negligent driver is only responsible for compensating you up to the insurance policy limits no matter how serious the injuries are that you suffered. However, you may have other options to obtain additional damages. Here are other ways to recover what you deserve:
- Other liable parties. In some cases, more than one individual caused the car accident. Drivers of other vehicles, mechanics, parts and car manufacturers, and municipalities are some of the potentially at-fault parties who could have liability to compensate you. Pursuing claims against all possible parties increases the likelihood that you will be fully compensated for your injuries.
- Umbrella policy. The negligent driver could have an umbrella policy that provides additional liability coverage if the auto policy is not sufficient to compensate you. Your attorney can help you determine if this is an option.
- Your own insurance. You may have purchased underinsured motorist coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. If you did, you can file a claim for additional damages with your own insurance company. However, you still need the help of a knowledgeable attorney to ensure that you are treated fairly and fully compensated by them.
- At-fault driver. Another option you have is to sue the negligent driver for the additional compensation you deserve. However, they may have no or few assets to pay you. Your lawyer can help you determine if it would be worth the time and expense of a lawsuit to sue them.
We’re Here to Help
If you or a family member were hurt in a car accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach, our knowledgeable car accident legal team is here to assist you. We will help you pursue all your options so that you receive the maximum recovery you deserve. To get started, fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.
Should I let my health insurance company pay for injuries I suffered in a car accident?
If you were injured in an auto collision in Virginia, the negligent driver who caused it is responsible for paying you compensation for your injuries. However, their insurance company could spend months or longer fighting to deny your claim or delay paying you.
In the meantime, you may have mounting expensive medical bills for medical care you need to treat your injuries. One good option can be to let your health insurance company pay them.
Using Medical Coverage Under Your Own Auto Insurance Policy
When you purchased your car insurance policy, you had the option to purchase medical expense coverage, which is often referred to as Med Pay. If you did buy it, your medical bills would first be paid from this insurance coverage. However, the amount of coverage under Med Pay is not that much, and it is likely that it would not cover all of your medical expenses.
Benefits of Using Your Private Health Insurance to Cover Medical Bills
If you have a private health insurance policy, you should use it to pay your medical bills while you wait for your settlement from the negligent driver’s insurance company. Here are the benefits of doing so:
- Your medical bills will be paid on time, which will protect your credit rating.
- You will be able to choose the doctors and specialists who will best treat your injuries. Some physicians and other medical care providers would not treat you if you do not have health insurance.
- You would not have to pay your medical expenses out of your own savings.
- You will heal faster if you get the medical treatment you need.
Will You Have to Pay Back Your Health Insurance Provider?
In Virginia, a health insurance company would not be allowed to place a lien against your auto crash claim or require you to pay them back for the medical bills they paid for you once you receive your settlement. However, there are exceptions to this rule:
- If you receive health insurance benefits from your employer, the plan may be subject to a federal law called ERISA. Under ERISA, you may be required to reimburse your health insurance company for the expenses they paid. In addition, they may have a right to subrogation, which would allow them to sue the negligent driver for the medical bills they paid due to their injuries.
- You could also have to pay back your medical expenses out of your settlement if your health insurance is through Medicare or Medicaid.
Even if you have to repay your health insurance provider, you should still use this benefit to pay your medical bills. An experienced car accident lawyer may be able to negotiate with them so that you pay them less than the full amount you owe.
Were you or a loved one injured in a car accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our office to schedule your free consultation today to learn how we can assist you.
Do I have a claim if I can’t remember how my car accident happened?
If you can’t remember how your auto collision occurred, you are not alone. Many car accident victims have no memory of how their crash happened. Fortunately, you may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries from the negligent driver who caused your accident.
Why You May Not Remember How Your Auto Crash Occurred
There are a number of reasons why you may not recall how your car accident happened. Here are two common reasons:
- Trauma. Being involved in an auto crash can be a terrifying experience. The trauma of the wreck, especially if a loved one was killed or you suffered injuries, can cause your brain to block out the details of the collision.
- Your injuries. If you suffered serious injuries in the wreck, this could affect your memory. This is especially true if you suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that could cause changes to your reasoning, judgment, memory, and more.
Evidence You Can Use When You File Your Claim
If you cannot remember the details of your car accident, you can use other evidence to prove how it occurred and the other motorist’s negligence in causing it. Crucial evidence to collect includes:
- Police report. While the police report would not be admissible in court for technical reasons, it can contain helpful information that you can use to convince the insurance company of their liability to pay you. The officer would include details of how the accident occurred, driver and witness statements, who was at fault, and whether any citations were issued in their report. In addition, the officer could testify at your trial.
- Photos. Photos taken at the crash scene of the damage to the vehicles and road and weather conditions can show how the collision occurred.
- Eyewitnesses. Although you may not remember how the accident happened, witnesses who saw it as it occurred can provide powerful testimony to help you prove that the other driver caused it.
- Black box. The other driver’s black box may have recorded useful information, such as the vehicle’s speed, steering, braking, and acceleration.
- Surveillance tapes. Your accident may have been recorded by a nearby business’ surveillance camera.
- Accident reconstruction expert. An accident reconstruction expert would have the training and experience to conduct an investigation into your collision and could create a reenactment of how it occurred.
Did you suffer injuries in a car accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Our experienced car accident lawyers can pursue your claim for compensation even if you cannot recall how your crash occurred. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
Do I have a claim against the negligent driver if I was driving a leased vehicle at the time of my car accident?
More people are choosing to lease their autos rather than purchasing them due to the high purchase price for many vehicles. If you were injured in a car accident while driving a leased motor vehicle, you still have a right to compensation for your injuries. However, there are some unique considerations you need to know about when pursuing your claim.
First Steps You Should Take After an Auto Collision
You need to take immediate steps to protect your health and your legal rights after your accident. The initial steps you need to take are the same whether you lease or own your car. Here are some crucial steps to take at the crash scene:
- Get prompt medical care—even if you do not believe you were hurt.
- Call the police immediately and obtain a copy of the police report.
- Exchange contact information with the other driver.
- Talk to witnesses who saw the accident occur and obtain their contact information so you can get their written statement.
- Take photos and video of the damage to both vehicles, road and weather conditions, your injuries, and anything else you believe would be helpful.
Who Must You Notify of Your Accident?
Under your lease agreement, you are most likely required to maintain an auto insurance policy on the leased vehicle. Your contract will also have a provision requiring you to notify the dealer and leasing company of any accident. They may have specific rules that must be followed when repairing your leased vehicle.
You also have a duty to contact your insurance company immediately after the collision under your auto insurance policy. Be sure they know any requirements of the leasing company concerning the repairs to your vehicle.
How to Pursue an Injury Claim
If the other driver’s negligence was the cause of your accident, you have the same right to compensation for your injuries as if you were driving a vehicle you owned. You would need to contact the at-fault motorist’s insurance company to notify them of the crash and to file a claim for the damages you are seeking. If you want to win your case, you should retain an experienced car accident attorney to file it for you and negotiate your settlement with the insurance adjuster.
Were you or a family member injured in a car accident that was not your fault in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free consultation to get your questions answered and learn how our skilled legal team can help you.
What damages can I recover in a rideshare accident?
If you were injured in an Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare accident, you are entitled to compensation if the rideshare driver caused the collision. When filing your claim with the insurance company for the driver and rideshare company, it is important to understand the types of damages you are entitled to under Virginia law so that you are fully compensated in your settlement.
Types of Compensation You Can Obtain in a Rideshare Collision
If a rideshare driver was on the clock when they caused your accident, the rideshare company could have up to $1 million in liability insurance coverage to compensate you for your injuries. In addition, they may have a contingent liability policy that offers less money if the driver was waiting to pick up a passenger when the crash occurred. You may also be able to file a claim with the rideshare driver’s or another negligent motorist’s insurance company.
You are entitled to recover both your past and future damages. Here are the types of compensation you should request when you file your claim:
- Medical expenses. You are entitled to be fully compensated for your medical expenses to treat your injuries. Emergency room visits, hospitalizations, surgeries, doctor visits, physical therapy, and medications are some of the medical treatments that you can receive compensation for.
- Lost wages. You should recover the lost wages and other benefits you did not receive while you were off work recovering from your injuries. If you have to make a career change with a pay cut due to your injuries or become permanently disabled, you may also be able to recover lost earning capacity damages.
- Pain and suffering. You are also entitled to compensation for the pain, suffering, and emotional distress you endured due to to your injuries and how they have affected your quality of life.
- Property damages. If you suffered any property damages, such as to a vehicle, cell phone, or laptop, you should be compensated for the cost to repair or replace the damaged property.
- Wrongful death. If a family member was killed due to the negligence of the rideshare driver, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim for compensation for reasonable funeral expenses, the emotional and financial support your loved one provided, and more.
How to Know the Amount of Compensation You Should Recover
It can be complicated to determine how much your claim is worth. At Tavss Fletcher, our experienced car accident lawyers will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of your accident and the injuries you suffered so we can determine how much compensation you should receive from the rideshare company and other liable parties. We will aggressively pursue claims with all at-fault parties so that you obtain the maximum amount in your settlement. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
I was temporarily unemployed at the time of my auto accident. Can I still recover lost income in a car crash case?
If you suffered injuries in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries from their insurance company. This includes receiving damages for the past and future wages you cannot earn while you are off work recovering from your injuries, your medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Your claim could be more complicated if you were temporarily unemployed at the time of your auto crash. However, you still can receive your lost wages in your settlement if you can prove the other driver’s negligence caused your collision and the amount of compensation you should receive.
Types of Lost Wages Recoverable in a Car Accident Case
In an auto crash case, a victim is entitled to their past and future wage losses for the period they cannot work due to their injuries under Virginia law. A lost wage claim can include the following:
- Past and future wages, bonuses, and commissions
- Past and future lost sick and vacation time
- Past and future perks of their job
- Lost earning capacity if they must make a career change due to their injuries or are permanently disabled
How to Prove Your Lost Wages Claim If You Are Temporarily Unemployed
If you are unemployed at the time of your accident, you will need to prove that your unemployment is temporary. This will be easier to establish if your loss of job was recent or was not your choice, such as a layoff by your employer. You may have to obtain documentation of when you lost your job and your efforts to seek future employment. Showing the types of work you are seeking and their salary range can also help you establish your future wage loss claim.
You will also need to prove the wages that you lost and will lose in the future. This can be more challenging to show when you are temporarily unemployed. If you are looking for work in the same profession, you may be able to use paystubs from your old job to help prove the amount of wages you are losing. Your income tax returns for prior years can also help establish what you earn when you work.
You may also need to hire an expert witness, such as an occupational and economic expert. An expert can testify to how your injuries have affected your ability to find employment and the salary you can expect to receive in the jobs you can now perform—if you can return to work at all.
The best way to prove your right to lost wages if you are temporarily unemployed is to retain an experienced car accident lawyer. They can help you collect the evidence you need and will have a network of qualified experts you can hire if this is necessary.
Were you or a family member injured in a car accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our Norfolk office today to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you.