You Deserve the Answers to Your Questions Regarding Your Accident
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Do I need to purchase uninsured or underinsured auto insurance in Norfolk?
Virginia law does not mandate the purchase of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. However, this additional protection could prove invaluable if you are injured in an auto crash in Norfolk or Virginia Beach that a negligent driver caused, and the driver has insufficient or no car insurance.
Unfortunately, filing a claim under one of these coverages with your insurance company can be complex. Having an experienced Norfolk car accident lawyer at Tavss Fletcher represent you can ensure that you obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
What Is Uninsured and Underinsured Insurance in Virginia?
Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance is optional car insurance coverage that offers protection when the at-fault driver in an accident either lacks insurance coverage or has inadequate insurance limits to compensate you fully for your losses. In such cases, your insurance policy will provide coverage up to the limits you have chosen for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
What Are Uninsured and Underinsured Insurance Benefits After a Norfolk Car Collision?
If you buy uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, you will have peace of mind knowing that you have an added layer of protection if you are in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. Here are ways this insurance can help you:
Coverage for Medical Expenses
If you sustain injuries in an auto crash caused by a motorist with no or insufficient liability insurance, this coverage can help pay for your medical expenses, including hospitalization, surgeries, medications, and ongoing treatment, up to your policy limits.
Compensation for Lost Wages
If your auto wreck injuries prevent you from working, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can reimburse you for the wages you lose during your recovery period.
Protection in Hit-and-Run Collisions
In a hit-and-run accident where the at-fault driver cannot be identified or located, this coverage can provide a financial safety net, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.
If the negligent driver's insurance is insufficient to cover all your damages, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can step in to bridge the gap and provide the compensation you need.
Coverage for Passengers
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage may cover the passengers in your vehicle, ensuring their protection as well.
What is the statute of limitations to sue in car accident cases in Norfolk?
If you must file a claim for compensation after a car accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach, understanding the statute of limitations laws is of utmost importance. Failing to meet this deadline can have severe consequences, potentially resulting in losing your right to pursue compensation. It is essential to retain an experienced Norfolk car accident lawyer at Tavss Fletcher who can file your complaint promptly and negotiate your settlement with the insurance company.
Deadlines to Sue in Virginia Car Accident Cases
The statute of limitations is when a lawsuit must be filed against a negligent driver after an auto collision. In Virginia, this time limit varies depending on the type of claim you are pursuing. Here are the crucial deadlines to remember:
If you sustained injuries in a car collision and need to pursue a personal injury claim, the statute of limitations to sue is two years from the accident date.
If your vehicle or other property was damaged in the accident and you intend to file a claim for property damages, the deadline to file a lawsuit is five years from the date of the auto wreck.
In the unfortunate event of a car accident resulting in the death of a loved one, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years from the date of their passing, which could be later than the date of the collision.
Consequences if You Miss the Statute of Limitations After a Norfolk Auto Crash
Failing to sue the negligent driver within the statute of limitations deadline in a car crash case can have severe consequences. Here is what you may face.
Inability to File a Lawsuit
If you fail to file a civil complaint within the prescribed timeframe, you may be permanently barred from filing a lawsuit and obtaining compensation for your injuries, property damages, or wrongful death. The insurance company would likely file a motion to dismiss your case, which the judge would grant.
Limited Options for Recovery
Once the statute of limitations has expired, insurance companies and other parties involved in the accident would likely be unwilling to negotiate or provide you with compensation because they know you cannot file a lawsuit. This would leave you without any means to recover your losses.
Am I entitled to pre- and post-judgment interest if I win my Norfolk car accident case?
While most Virginia Beach and Norfolk auto crash claims are settled out-of-court, some cases must be decided at a trial when the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement. If your case goes to a jury trial, your experienced Norfolk car accident attorney can help you obtain pre- and post-judgment interest, significantly impacting the final amount of compensation you receive.
What is Pre- and Post-Judgment Interest?
Pre-judgment interest is the interest that accrues on the damages you have suffered from the time of the collision until the date of the jury's verdict. Post-judgment interest accrues on the awarded amount from the verdict date until the insurance company pays the judgment in full.
You are entitled to pre- and post-judgment interest in your car accident case in Virginia only if your case goes to trial and you win. You will not receive interest if you reach a settlement agreement during the litigation process. However, your skilled car accident attorney could negotiate this in your settlement.
Virginia's interest rate for pre- and post-judgment is generally set at six percent per year. This rate is calculated based on the total damages awarded by the jury.
How Can You Obtain Judgment Interest After a Norfolk Car Accident?
Post-judgment interest is automatically awarded to you once the jury reaches a verdict in your favor. The court will calculate the interest based on the amount of the verdict and the number of days that pass until the judgment is fully paid.
To obtain pre-judgment interest, you need to take specific actions. Here are the key steps you must take:
- Your complaint. You must make a specific request for pre-judgment interest in your complaint. If you fail to do this, you cannot receive pre-judgment interest if your case goes to trial.
- Jury instructions. Your car accident attorney should request the inclusion of pre-judgment interest in the jury instructions. The judge would instruct the jury to consider the interest when calculating the final award.
- Verdict form. The verdict form should explicitly allow the jury to award pre-judgment interest separately from other damages. Your lawyer will ensure that this provision is included in the form submitted to the jury.
- Closing arguments. During closing arguments, your attorney should ask the jury to award pre-judgment interest. This reminder can significantly influence the jury's decision.
The award of pre-judgment interest is discretionary. The jury can choose not to award it even if they find you deserve all the compensation you request. However, following these steps increases the chances of receiving pre-judgment interest, which can significantly increase the amount of money you receive, especially if it has taken a year or longer to resolve your case.
Can I file a car accident claim in Norfolk if I'm here illegally?
If you are in the country illegally and injured in a car accident in Norfolk, you may be afraid to file a claim for damages with the negligent driver's insurance company. However, it is vital to understand that you may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Retaining an experienced Norfolk car accident lawyer to pursue your claim and ensure your rights are protected is essential. Find answers to some common questions and concerns that illegal immigrants may have when filing a car crash claim in Virginia here.
What Rights Do Illegal Immigrants Have to File a Claim After a Norfolk Auto Crash?
Individuals in the United States illegally have the same rights as U.S. citizens to pursue a claim after a car accident in Virginia. Your immigration status should not affect your ability to seek compensation for your injuries. No one should ask about your immigration status when you file your claim with the insurance company or a lawsuit.
However, you may face unique challenges in pursuing your claim as an illegal immigrant. It is crucial to retain a skilled auto collision attorney in Norfolk who will understand these challenges and work to protect your rights.
Can You File a Claim If You Do Not Speak English?
Even if you do not speak English, you can still file a claim with the insurance company after a car crash. You can also file a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to be reasonable or the statute of limitations to file your complaint will expire.
Your pleadings would have to be in English. However, a knowledgeable car crash lawyer can help you with the legal process and ensure all pleadings are in English.
What Types of Compensation Can You Recover?
An immigrant here illegally has the same rights to compensation as someone here legally. You may be entitled to these types of compensation:
- Medical expenses. You can recover the cost of medical treatment for your injuries, including hospital bills, doctor's fees, medication, and rehabilitation expenses.
- Lost wages. If you cannot work due to your injuries, you can seek compensation for the wages you lost while recovering.
- Pain and suffering. You may receive compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress you have suffered due to the auto collision.
- Property damage. If your car suffered damages in the accident, you could obtain compensation for the cost of repairs or the value of your vehicle if it was totaled. You can also receive reimbursement to cover the cost to repair or replace other property damaged in the crash.
Will I need to give a deposition in my car accident case?
As a victim of an auto crash in Virginia Beach or Norfolk, you may wonder if you will need to give a deposition as part of your case. While not all car accident victims are required to give depositions, it is important to understand what a deposition entails if you are asked to provide one. Being prepared and having an experienced car accident lawyer to represent you during the deposition process can significantly affect the outcome of your case.
What Is a Deposition?
A deposition is a type of discovery where a witness, including a car accident victim, provides sworn testimony under oath. It typically takes place outside the courtroom, and the witness is asked questions by attorneys from both sides of the case. The testimony given during a deposition is recorded and transcribed into a written document that can be used as evidence in court.
When You May Need to Give a Deposition in a Car Collision Case
You may have to attend a deposition as a car accident victim in Virginia Beach or Norfolk in several situations. These situations include:
- Litigation. If your car accident case proceeds to litigation and goes to court, you may have to give a deposition. This would happen during the discovery phase of the litigation process, where both parties exchange information and gather evidence. Attorneys often use depositions to gather information from witnesses, including the car accident victim, to understand the facts of the case, the other party's position, and prepare for trial.
- Arbitration. In some car accident cases, the crash victim and insurance company may agree to resolve the dispute through arbitration, which is a less formal alternative to litigation. If your case goes to arbitration, you may be required to give a deposition as part of the arbitration process. Depositions in arbitration are similar to depositions in litigation and involve providing sworn testimony under oath.
How Should You Prepare for a Deposition?
If you will have to attend a deposition, it is crucial to be prepared and seek the guidance of a knowledgeable car crash lawyer. Here are ways you can do to get ready for a deposition:
- Review your case. Familiarize yourself with the details of your car accident case, including the events leading up to the accident, the injuries sustained, and any medical treatment received. Also, review any documents or evidence that may be relevant to your claim.
- Understand the process. Learn about the deposition process and what to expect. Understand that you will be under oath and that your testimony will be recorded. You must be truthful and accurate in your responses.
- Practice your testimony. Work with your car accident attorney to practice your testimony. Be prepared to answer questions about the auto collision, your injuries, medical treatment, and other relevant details. Practice being clear and concise in your responses.
- Stay calm and composed. Depositions can be stressful, but it's essential to remain calm and composed during the process. Take your time to listen to questions carefully before answering, and avoid guessing or speculating. It is okay to take breaks if needed.
Who pays for physical therapy after a car accident?
You could suffer serious injuries in an auto collision caused by a negligent driver in Virginia, such as a traumatic brain injury, neck injury, or spinal injury that causes pain and limits your movements. Physical therapy could be an important part of your medical treatment that can help you recover. You should retain an experienced car accident lawyer who can advise you on who is liable to pay your physical therapy bills and can go up against the at-fault driver’s insurance company for the compensation you deserve, including your physical therapy expenses.
How Can Physical Therapy Help Car Accident Victims Recover?
Physical therapy is a non-evasive medical treatment that can help auto crash victims strengthen injured body parts, increase movement functions, and improve mobility. Manual therapy, custom exercises, and postural training are some techniques a physical therapist may use that can help treat many car collision injuries, such as:
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Knee injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Pelvic and hip injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Who Is Responsible for Paying for Physical Therapy Cost After an Auto Collision?
If a negligent driver caused your car accident, they are responsible for paying for the cost of your physical therapy. You would have to file a claim with the insurance company and document the need for physical therapy and its costs. Here are steps you can take to prove this part of your claim:
- Obtain a referral for physical therapy from your physician, and keep a copy of the referral to provide to the insurance company. Ask your doctor to document the need for physical therapy in your medical records.
- Keep good records of your physical therapy appointments, and save your bills for these sessions.
- Attend all scheduled physical therapy appointments.
- Follow your physical therapist’s treatment plan, and do the exercises they recommend at home.
How would having a poor driving record affect my car accident claim?
If you have a bad driving record, you may hesitate to file a claim with the motorist’s insurance company—even if their insured were completely at fault in causing your auto collision. Fortunately, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries if you prove the driver’s negligence caused your wreck under Virginia law.
However, you must be prepared for the insurance adjuster to use your driving record against you in settlement negotiations. You also should retain an experienced car accident lawyer who understands the arguments they may make and can help refute them.
How the Insurance Company May Use Your Driving Record Against You
Getting one speeding or other traffic ticket in Norfolk or Virginia Beach does not mean you have a bad driving record. However, if you have multiple speeding tickets, reckless driving tickets, or accidents on your driving record, it may become an issue in your car accident case.
A driving record may give the insurance company ammunition to deny your claim or try to force you to accept less compensation in your settlement. Here are two ways they may attempt to use your bad driving record to dispute your claim:
- Fault. The insurance company could argue that your poor driving record proves that you were entirely or partially at fault in causing this car accident. They often make this argument because Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence law that prohibits drivers from obtaining any compensation if they are even one percent at fault. However, the bottom line is that the insurance company cannot prove you caused the collision based on your prior driving record.
- Pre-existing condition. If you were involved in another car accident, the insurance company could also claim that your injury is a pre-existing injury that they are not liable to compensate you for. However, you are entitled to damages if the current collision aggravated a pre-existing injury under Virginia law.
Although the insurance adjuster may raise these or other disputes to deny your claim or try to reduce the compensation they must pay you, you may be able to defeat their arguments if you hire a skilled car accident attorney.
Is it illegal to drive while wearing earbuds or headphones in Virginia?
Yes, driving while wearing earbuds or headphones in Virginia is illegal. Unfortunately, more drivers on the roads and highways in Virginia Beach and Norfolk are using them to listen to music or podcasts while driving. If you were injured in a car accident caused by a motorist using earbuds or headphones, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries if you can prove their negligence caused your crash.
Virginia’s Ban on Earbuds While Driving
Under Virginia Code §46.2-1078, operating a motor vehicle, bicycle, electric bike, moped, or electric personal mobility device is illegal while using earphones on or in both ears. Earphones are defined as any device worn on or in both ears that convert electric energy to sound and limits a person’s ability to hear. Exceptions, when earbuds or headphones are permitted, include the following:
- A motorist is wearing a prosthetic device to assist with hearing.
- The driver is operating an emergency vehicle.
- The earphones are installed in a motorcycle helmet to be used as part of a communication system by motorcycle riders.
- The driver is using an open-back, closed-ear, noise-canceling device in high-noise areas and is operating a vehicle weighing 26,000 pounds or more.
Dangers of Driving While Wearing Earbuds or Headphones
Wearing earbuds or headphones is a form of distracted driving that is extremely dangerous. A person wearing them will have their minds off their driving. In addition, many of these devices cancel out noise, preventing a driver from hearing the warning signs before an auto accident occurs.
Were you or a family member injured in a car crash in Virginia Beach or Norfolk caused by a driver wearing earbuds or headphones? It may be hard to prove that their negligence caused your crash without the help of an experienced car accident lawyer. To learn how we have helped other collision victims like you and about your options for recovering the compensation you deserve, call our Norfolk office at 757-265-1214 or complete our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.
What are my rights if I verbally accept a settlement offer?
If the insurance company contacts you after a car accident caused by their insured, they may make you a settlement offer immediately. You may accept it but soon realize that the insurance company offered you far less compensation than you deserve under Virginia law.
Fortunately, you may be able to reject a verbal settlement offer. In addition, you have special protections if you signed a written settlement agreement and an experienced car accident lawyer did not represent you.
Your Right to Change Your Mind After Accepting a Verbal Settlement Offer
If you verbally accepted a settlement offer, you most likely can change your mind and revoke your acceptance. The insurance company could try to enforce the verbal agreement, but they would need to show that there was an offer, acceptance, and consideration, or value, given in the offer.
Whether you can cancel the verbal agreement will depend on the facts surrounding your acceptance. The agreement could be enforceable if the insurance company reviewed all the settlement terms in the conversation. However, if they just made an offer to pay you a certain sum without going over the details or told you that you would need to sign a release to complete the settlement, you can most likely change your mind.
You should never settle a claim without first consulting with a skilled car accident lawyer. If you verbally accept an offer and change your mind, you should retain an attorney as soon as possible. It is much more likely that you will be able to revoke a verbal agreement if you do so immediately.
Your Right to Cancel a Written Settlement Within Three Business Days Under Virginia Law
Most car accident settlements are completed in writing. The insurance company usually requires the victim to sign a Release where they agree to accept the settlement offer where they waive their right to pursue their claim in exchange for the payment.
It may be much more difficult or impossible to revoke a written settlement agreement. However, there is an exception to this rule. Under Virginia law, you have a right to cancel your acceptance after signing the release if the following conditions are met:
- You settled your car accident claim within thirty days of the crash without a lawyer.
- You cancel your acceptance in writing within three business days after signing the release.
- You return the payment that the insurance company sent you.
Were you injured in a car crash in Virginia Beach or Norfolk caused by another driver? Do you need help settling your claim or canceling a verbal settlement agreement? Call our Norfolk office at 757-265-1214 or complete our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today to learn about your options and how our dedicated car accident lawyers can aggressively fight for your rights.
What fees will come out of my car accident settlement check?
When settling your car accident claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company, you must complete several steps before receiving a check. This includes paying any expenses you owe out of your settlement proceeds. It is best to have an experienced car accident lawyer negotiate your settlement and deduct these expenses from the payment from the insurance company if you want to receive all the compensation you deserve under Virginia law.
Expenses That Will Be Deducted From Your Settlement Proceeds
Your attorney should explain the fees you owe and provide you with an itemization of the charges so you know the amount of your settlement check. Common fees owed in car accident cases include:
- Police report. If your attorney obtained a copy of the police report, they would deduct the cost from your settlement proceeds.
- Medical records. Your attorney will also order your medical records. They may provide them to the insurance company to prove the seriousness of your injuries, the medical treatments you need, and the amount of compensation you are entitled to for your medical bills. You are responsible for reimbursing your lawyer for the cost of obtaining copies of your medical records.
- Medical liens. Your health care providers, health insurance companies, and other agencies may have placed a lien on your settlement to pay for expenses you incurred while you were waiting to settle your claim. These liens will have to be paid out of your settlement before you receive your check.
- Court costs and expenses. Court filing fees, service fees, expert witness fees, and other costs of litigating your claim would be deducted from your process if your attorney fronted these expenses for you.
- Attorney fees. When you retained your lawyer, you agreed to pay them their attorney fees on a contingency fee basis. They will deduct their fees before sending you your check.
If you were injured in an auto collision in Virginia Beach or Norfolk, our skilled car accident lawyers can go up against the insurance company so that you receive the maximum recovery in your settlement. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office at 757-265-1214 or complete our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.
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.