You Deserve the Answers to Your Questions Regarding Your Accident
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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.
What is subrogation and how could it affect my car accident claim?
If you were hurt in an auto collision caused by a negligent driver in Virginia, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, your medical insurance provider could place a lien or subrogation claim on your settlement proceeds. This could significantly reduce the amount of money you receive in your settlement.
How Subrogation and Liens Work in Car Accident Cases in Virginia
Subrogation and liens are different but can have the same practical effect in your auto crash case. A lien is a claim on your settlement award that would entitle your health insurance provider to be reimbursed for the medical expenses they paid on your behalf. If they claim a right to subrogation, the health insurance company would take your place in filing a claim against the negligent motorist for the medical bills they paid and demand that the payment be made directly to them.
The laws on subrogation and liens are complicated in our state. Unlike other states, Virginia has laws that prohibit health insurance contracts issued in our commonwealth from having a subrogation clause in their contract. Liens are also often not permitted to be placed on a victim’s car accident or other personal injury award.
However, there are exceptions to these laws. The anti-subrogation and lien laws would not apply in these situations:
- Contracts issued out-of-state
- Insurance policies issued to federal employees under the Federal Employee Health Benefit Act
- Self-funded health benefit plans by employers who are compliant with the Employees Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
- Federal health insurance providers, like Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare
- Workers’ compensation plans
How Can You Know If a Lien or Subrogation Claim Will Reduce Your Car Crash Compensation?
The best way to determine if your health insurance provider can make a subrogation claim or place a lien on your award is to retain an experienced car accident attorney. An attorney can review your health insurance policy and the medical expenses your provider claims reimbursement for to determine if they are valid.
If your lawyer determines that your health insurer has a valid claim against your award, they can negotiate the amount to be paid to the insurance company. However, these negotiations must be completed before the settlement of your car accident claim.
Were you injured in an auto collision in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area? Call our office to schedule your free case evaluation to learn how our knowledgeable and dedicated car accident legal team can assist you.
What is a free initial consultation?
It can be a traumatic experience to suffer injuries in an auto collision that was not your fault. One of your first steps after getting the medical treatment you need should be to retain an experienced car accident attorney.
However, it can be difficult to find a knowledgeable lawyer that will fight so that you receive all the compensation you deserve from the negligent driver who caused your crash. One way to find the right attorney for you is to take advantage of most car accident attorneys’ offer of a free initial consultation.
What Can You Expect at a Free Initial Consultation?
A free initial consultation is a short meeting that you would have with a lawyer to discuss your case and determine if you can work together to settle your claim. Your appointment would last for about 30 minutes to an hour. You would not be charged for this initial consultation—even if you decide not to hire them.
At this meeting, you would tell the attorney about how your accident occurred and the injuries you suffered. You should expect to learn the following from this meeting:
- Whether you have a claim. After you describe the details of your auto collision, the lawyer should be able to advise you whether you have a valid claim against the negligent driver and other liable parties and the types of compensation you should be able to recover from their insurance company.
- Whether you need an attorney. They should inform you whether you should retain a lawyer or whether you can settle your claim on your own. If you suffered any injuries, it is almost always in your best interest to hire an attorney to negotiate your settlement.
- Whether this is the right lawyer. Your initial consultation is also an opportunity for you to learn more about the attorney and their track record of success in settling and litigating claims for car accident victims like you. This can help you decide whether this is the right lawyer for you.
- What your next steps are. If you decide to retain the attorney, they should tell you the next steps that they need to take in your case. They will also advise you of what you need to do to help them build a winning case against the negligent driver.
How to Prepare for Your Free Initial Consultation
You need to prepare for your appointment so that you get the most benefit from it. You should organize the documents, such as the police report, pictures, and your medical reports, to show the lawyer. You should also prepare a list of questions to ask them. You need to know how much of their practice is devoted to car accident cases, their track record of success, how much they charge for their services, and how they will keep you updated on the status of your claim.
Do you need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company? Take advantage of our free consultation offer to learn how our dedicated car accident lawyers can help you. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your appointment today.
Who could be liable if my roof collapsed in my car accident?
You could suffer devastating injuries if your auto rolls over and your roof collapses in a car accident. Unlike other collisions where only the negligent driver is responsible for compensating the victim, there can be multiple causes and liable parties in a roof collapse accident. It is important to pursue claims against any potentially negligent party if you want to receive all the compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law.
Who Could Be Responsible to Compensate You If Your Car Roof Collapsed?
The liable parties in a roof collapse collision will depend on the cause of the crash. Determining this can be complicated. You need the help of an experienced car accident lawyer to identify why your auto roof collapsed and who the negligent parties are. They can include:
- Another driver. If a motorist’s negligence caused your car accident, they would face at least partial liability for compensating you for your injuries.
- Automobile manufacturer. Roof collapses are often caused by a defect in the manufacture or design of the roof. The pillars could have been too weak or situated improperly, or other vehicle parts may not have been strong enough to support the roof. If your roof collapsed for this reason, you can pursue a product liability claim against the auto manufacturer.
- Parts manufacturer. You could also file a claim with the parts manufacturer who designed or manufactured the defective part that caused your roof collapse, as well as the car manufacturer.
- Governmental agency. If a road defect or hazard caused your vehicle to roll over in the crash, you would need to file a claim with the governmental agency responsible for road maintenance. You may need to file your claim much quicker and follow other special rules when the negligent party is a city, county, or other governmental body.
Why Is it Important to File Claims With All Negligent Parties?
If you know that the other motorist’s negligence caused your accident, you may be tempted to just file a claim with their insurance company and not pursue claims against any other parties. This would be much easier and less time-consuming. However, you would be making a big mistake that could result in you not being fully compensated for your injuries.
The at-fault motorist would only be responsible for compensating you for their percentage of negligence in causing your collision. For example, if they were found 50 percent at fault, they only have to pay you half of the amount of compensation you deserve. In addition, they may not have enough insurance to pay you all the damages you deserve if they purchased the minimum coverage required under Virginia law.
If a manufacturing or road defect contributed to your roof collapse, you should file a claim with these liable parties’ insurance companies as well. They will have higher liability insurance coverage to pay you for your losses.
Did your roof collapse in a car accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Our skilled legal team can identify why it happened and who is responsible for compensating you. To get started learning about your options, fill out the convenient online form on this page to schedule your free consultation today.
What type of doctor should I see after a car accident?
No matter how extensive or minor the damage is to your vehicle, you could suffer serious injuries in an auto accident. If another driver caused your collision, you may be able to file a claim for compensation with their insurance company. Seeing the right doctors is essential to protecting your health and building a winning case so that you receive all the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Why You Always Need to See a Doctor After an Accident
Getting prompt medical care after an auto crash is crucial. You should be examined by a doctor within two days of your auto collision, even if you believe you are fine. Whiplash, back and spinal injuries, brain injuries, and internal bleeding are a few of the serious injuries you may not realize you suffered until days or longer after your crash since you may not experience symptoms right away.
You avoid an injury getting worse or turning into a life-threatening emergency by getting medical care right after your wreck. In addition, this helps you prove that your injuries were caused by the collision and that they are serious enough to entitle you to compensation.
In addition, you need to take these steps to protect your health and avoid disputes with the insurance company:
- Follow all of your physician’s instructions.
- Go to all of your appointments with your doctor, physical therapists, and others who are treating your injuries.
- Do not have any gaps in your medical treatment for your injuries.
Types of Physicians You May Need to See
The types of medical treatments and doctors you need will depend on what injuries you suffered and how serious they are. They could include:
- Emergency room doctor. If you suffered a life-threatening or apparent serious injury, you should be examined by an emergency room doctor immediately. You should either be transported there by ambulance or have someone drive you there.
- Urgent care. If you do not need to go to the emergency room, you should be examined at urgent care if you start experiencing symptoms in the hours or days after your crash or cannot be seen by your doctor right. The benefit of going to urgent care is that you do not need an appointment and can get fast treatment for your injuries.
- Primary physician. You should schedule an appointment with your primary doctor within a day or two of the wreck if you think your injuries can wait or do not believe you were hurt. However, you should be aware that some doctors do not want to see car accident victims because they do not bill to insurance companies or do not want to testify in court. Go to urgent care in this situation.
- Specialists. Your primary doctor will most likely refer you to a specialist, such as a surgeon, neurologist, or orthopedic physician, specializing in treating your injuries if you suffered a serious injury.
Were you or a loved one injured in an auto wreck caused by another driver? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation with our experienced car accident legal team to get your questions answered and learn how we can assist you in fighting for the compensation you deserve.
Should I hire an attorney in the state where my car accident happened?
You could be seriously injured in a car accident in Virginia that was not your fault while here on vacation or business. If you reside in a nearby state, you may be tempted to retain a lawyer where you live.
However, if you want to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries from the negligent driver’s insurance company, your best strategy is to retain a local experienced car accident attorney. Here are three reasons why this is important.
#1: License in Virginia
While your claim could be settled out-of-court with the insurance company, you will need to file a lawsuit in Virginia if they refuse to offer you a fair settlement or the time period—called the statute of limitations—will expire soon. Only a lawyer who is licensed in Virginia can file a civil complaint and litigate your case for you.
#2: Knowledge of Virginia Law
You need an attorney who understands the negligence laws of our state and what you need to prove to win your case. While a lawyer in a nearby state may be licensed to practice law in Virginia, they will not have as much knowledge about the statutes and case law in our commonwealth that could affect your claim. You have a better chance of obtaining the maximum recovery you are entitled to if you retain local counsel.
#3: Familiarity With Local Laws and Procedures
Courts in different counties may have their own special procedures that must be followed in civil cases. A local lawyer will have much more understanding of the local laws and procedures that must be complied with in your case.
In addition, there is another advantage to hiring local counsel. A local attorney is more likely to have relationships with court personal, lawyers for the insurance company, and insurance adjusters handling claims where your crash occurred. This can help them reach a settlement that fully compensates you and make the litigation process go smoothly and quickly.
Were you injured in a car accident in Norfolk? Our knowledgeable car accident lawyers are here to help. Call our office to schedule your no-obligation initial consultation today.
Can a passenger sue both drivers in a car accident case?
If you were a passenger in an auto collision, you are entitled to be fully compensated for your injuries under Virginia law. You should pursue claims against any driver that was negligent in causing the crash. Depending on how the wreck happened, you may need to file a claim with the insurance companies for the driver of the vehicle you were in and another motorist involved in the accident.
Why it Is Important to Sue Both Drivers
In Virginia, a driver is only responsible for compensating injured passengers if they were negligent in causing the collision. In some car accidents, only one motorist is responsible for causing it, but this is not always the case.
In addition, drivers are only liable up to their percentage of fault in causing the crash. For example, if the driver of your vehicle were 50 percent to blame, they would only have to pay half of the total compensation you should receive.
You protect your rights by pursuing claims against both drivers if there is any possibility that their actions caused the collision. Here is why this is so important:
- Both drivers could point the finger at each other and claim the other one was the at-fault party. If you only sued one driver and they were found not to be negligent, you would not receive any compensation. If they were only found partially to blame, you would not receive all that you deserve from them.
- If more than one motorist was at fault, you could file a claim with both their insurance companies. This would increase the likelihood that you would receive the maximum recovery in your settlement because there would be more liability insurance coverage to pay you.
Why You Need an Auto Accident Attorney
If you were a passenger in a car accident, you have a strong case for compensation since it would be extremely unlikely that you would have been at all at fault in causing it. However, it can be complicated to determine the cause of the crash and who was the negligent party. You need the help of an experienced car accident lawyer who will aggressively fight for your rights. To learn how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.
Should I agree to a structured settlement in my car accident case?
In most auto collision cases, the victim agrees to accept their settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance company in a lump sum payment. However, in certain situations, it may be better to accept payments over time in a structured settlement.
What Is a Structured Settlement?
A structured settlement is an agreement where the accident victim agrees to accept their settlement proceeds in payments over time. The terms of the agreement are negotiated and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the victim.
Individuals often receive an initial larger payment and then smaller payments that are paid monthly or at other set intervals. The payments can be paid over several years or for the victim’s entire life.
When You May Want to Accept a Structured Settlement
A structured settlement may be a good option for you if you suffered serious injuries and are receiving a large settlement from the insurance company. Here are some reasons why you may want to agree to one.
If you suffered permanent injuries that prevent you from working and will require expensive medical treatments in the future, you may want to accept a structured settlement. By spreading out the payments over time, you can ensure that you will have the money you need to replace your income, pay your medical bills, and get the personal care you may need throughout your life.
While much of a car accident settlement is not taxable income, some amounts, such as punitive damages and interest, could be taxed. You would spread out your tax liability by accepting your settlement proceeds over time.
Control Over Spending
If you are worried that you will not spend your settlement wisely if you get it in a lump sum, you may want to accept a structured settlement. You can work out an agreement so that you receive larger payments when you really need them, such as for expensive medical treatments, college expenses of your child, or other large expenses that you anticipate in the future.
Minor Children Settlement
If you are settling a car accident claim on behalf of your minor child, you most likely would want to accept the payments through a structured settlement. If your child needs medical care and income throughout their life, this can provide them with the regular income they need. The payments can also be designated for their future college expenses.
Do you have additional questions about whether a structured settlement is right for you? Do you need help negotiating your settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance company? Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation with our knowledgeable car accident lawyers today.
How long do I have to report a car accident?
It is always a good idea to contact the police at the scene of a car accident and obtain a copy of the police report to protect your legal right to compensation for your injuries. In addition, in some cases, you are required to report the crash under Virginia law.
When Are You Required to Report an Auto Collision in Virginia?
You are required to report most car crashes to law enforcement within 24 hours or as soon as possible if you are too injured to report it right away. When you report the collision, you must provide the officer with your name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number. You are required to contact the police under these circumstances:
- An individual is injured or killed.
- The vehicle or other property is damaged.
In addition, individuals involved in an auto accident have the following duties under Virginia law:
- Stop as close to the collision scene as possible without obstructing traffic
- Provide reasonable assistance to any individuals injured in the crash
If the driver fails to notify the police of an accident, any passenger in the vehicle who is over 16 years old has a duty to report it to law enforcement within 24 hours.
Violation of this law can result in felony charges if a victim is injured or killed or the property damage is over $1,000. It would be a misdemeanor offense if there were no injuries or death and the property damage is less than $1,000.
Why You Should Always Contact the Police at the Accident Scene
Even if your vehicle suffered little damage and you believe that you suffered no injuries, you should call the police at the accident scene. The damage to your vehicle could be more extensive and expensive to fix than you thought. In addition, the symptoms of some serious injuries, like traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, and internal organ damage, can take days or longer to develop.
If you do not report your accident, you lose important evidence that can help you prove the other driver’s negligence and responsibility to compensate you for injuries. The officer at the scene would investigate the crash and provide information, such as how the collision occurred, who was at fault, contact information for witnesses, and any traffic citations issued, in their police report.
Providing a copy of the police report to the at-fault motorist’s insurance company can help you convince them of their liability to compensate you for your injuries. In addition, it can help avoid disputes about whether the accident occurred and whether it caused your injuries.
If you need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company for your injuries in an auto collision in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area, our experienced car accident legal team is here to assist you. Call our office to schedule your free consultation today to learn more about your options.
What future compensation can I recover in my car accident settlement?
If another driver caused you to suffer injuries in a car accident, they are responsible for fully compensating you for your injuries under Virginia law. This includes compensating you for your future losses. Here are the types of future compensation you should ask for in your settlement.
Importance of Future Damages to Your Recovery
If you suffered serious injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, back and spinal injuries, or scars and disfigurement, you could need medical treatment for years after your accident. In addition, you could be off work with no wages for months or longer while you recover. Obtaining the future compensation you are entitled to in your settlement is essential so that you can afford the medical care you need and can support your family and you when you cannot work.
Types of Future Compensation You Can Recover
You need to wait until you reach your maximum medical recovery to know the amount of your future damages. This is the stage in your medical care where you have recovered, or recovered as much as you will, and your doctor can give you a prognosis of the future medical treatments you will need. Types of compensation you deserve include:
- Future medical care. You should be reimbursed for all reasonable medical expenses you will incur, and there is no cap on how much you can receive. Surgeries, physical therapy, medications, diagnostic tests, modifications to your home, and home health and personal care are some of the future medical treatments you may need if you suffered a long-term injury.
- Future wage losses. If you must take off work in the future when you are having surgery or other treatments, you are entitled to be reimbursed for your lost wages. You should also receive your lost bonuses, commissions, sick and vacation time, and other perks of your job.
- Future lost earning capacity. If you suffer a permanent injury, you may be too disabled to work or need to make a career change to a job that pays you less. You should receive your future lost earning capacity throughout your working life in your settlement. You may need an economic expert to calculate how much money you are owed.
- Future pain and suffering. Depending on your injuries, you could suffer from chronic pain, depression and other psychological conditions due to the life changes that your injuries caused and experience a much less satisfying quality of life. An experienced car accident attorney can accurately value how much you should receive for your future pain and suffering.
If you or a family member suffered an injury in a car accident, our experienced car accident lawyers are here to aggressively fight for all the compensation—including future damages—that you deserve. To find out about your options and our track record of success helping other clients like you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
Can an employer be liable for a car accident caused while an employee was driving for work?
If the driver who caused your auto collision was driving while on the job, they would be liable for compensating you for your injuries under Virginia law. You may also be able to hold their employer responsible for paying your damages. Here is why you would want to file a claim with their insurance company too.
Ways to Hold an Employer Liable for Compensating You
There are a number of legal claims that you could have against a negligent driver’s employer. Three common claims that may help you include:
- Negligent hiring. If an employer hired someone who had a poor driving record or was unqualified to drive for work, you may have a negligent hiring claim against the employer.
- Negligent supervision. Employers also have a duty to supervise their employees and to have safety procedures that must be followed when employees are on the road. When they fail to fulfill these duties or do not check an employee’s driving record for traffic offenses or a DUI, they could face liability for negligent supervision of the driver.
- Vicarious liability. Employers are responsible for the actions of their employees if the employees were acting in the course of their employment. If the person who hit you was driving for their job and not for personal reasons when they struck your vehicle, their employer could be found negligent under this legal theory.
Why it Is Important to File a Claim With the Employer’s Insurance Company
Whenever you must file a car accident claim or other personal injury claim, you want to file claims with the insurance companies for all potentially at-fault parties. By doing this, you increase the chances of there being enough insurance coverage to pay all the compensation you are entitled to in your settlement. The employer will almost certainly have far more insurance than their employee to pay you what you are owed.
Were you injured in a car accident in Norfolk? Our knowledgeable car accident lawyers are here to explain your options and to go up against the insurance companies for all the liable parties so that you receive what you are entitled to in your settlement. Fill out the online form on this page to schedule your free, no-obligation appointment today.
What should I do if I get in a car accident out of state?
Getting injured in an auto crash caused by a negligent driver in another state can make the experience even more traumatic and confusing. Who will compensate you for your injuries? What steps do you need to take? Here is what you need to know so that your legal right to compensation for your injuries is protected.
Insurance Coverage in Out-of-State Car Collisions
The good news is that you have insurance coverage under your own auto insurance policy for car accidents that happen in another state. In addition, all states—including Virginia—require residents to maintain a certain minimum amount of auto insurance to cover injuries and property damages in a collision that they cause.
Which State Laws Will Apply to Your Crash?
The laws of the state where your accident occurred will be the ones that you must follow when filing your claim. If you must file a civil lawsuit, you would most likely need to do so in the state where the collision happened.
Six Steps You Need to Take Following Your Accident
You should take the same steps you would take if your collision happened where you live when it happens in another state:
- Get medical care. Obtain immediate medical care for apparent injuries. Even if you do not believe you were hurt, you should be examined by a doctor within 48 hours of your crash to be certain you have not suffered hidden injuries and to avoid disputes with the other driver’s insurance company about their cause.
- Contact the police. Call the police at the accident scene and obtain a copy of the police report. It will contain crucial information that can help you prove the other motorist caused your auto crash.
- Exchange contact information. You should obtain the contact information for any drivers involved in the wreck and their insurance companies. You also must get contact information for any eyewitnesses who can testify about how the crash occurred and who was at fault.
- Take pictures. You should take pictures of the accident scene, damage to the vehicles, your injuries, and anything else you believe will be helpful.
- Contact your insurance company. It is important to report the collision to your own insurance company. Your contract with them most likely requires you to do this, and it will protect your rights if you decide you must file a claim with them.
- Retain a local attorney. If your car accident occurred out of state, you should retain a local lawyer in the state where it occurred. He will understand the laws and procedures that must be followed when you file your claim and a civil lawsuit if this becomes necessary.
Were you injured in a car accident in Norfolk? Our skilled and compassionate legal team represents accident victims who live out of state as well as Virginia residents. To learn about your options and how we can help, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
What questions could I be asked at a car accident deposition for my case?
If you have to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver who caused your auto collision, you will most likely have your deposition taken. A deposition is a question-and-answer session where you would give answers under oath to questions by the attorney for the other driver and his insurance company. Your answers would be transcribed into a document that could be used in settlement negotiations, at court hearings, and at your trial.
Your deposition is an important part of the discovery phase of your case where you and the attorneys for the insurance company obtain information—both helpful and harmful—to their case so that they can prepare for a trial. To ensure that your deposition goes well and strengthens your claim against the negligent driver, it is a good idea to understand the types of questions you will be asked.
Background Information Questions
The first questions you would be asked would be about your personal background, family situation, education, employment, and prior injuries. You could be questioned about the following:
- Your address and age
- Your residential address over the last five to ten years
- Your education, degrees, and training you received after leaving school
- Your family, including your marital status, who you live with, and the number of children you have
- Your current employment, duties, income, and length of employment and similar information for prior jobs
- Your criminal record
- Any lawsuits and claims you filed in the past and the outcome in these cases
- Other injuries and medical conditions you suffered before the accident, treatments you received, and doctors who cared for you
Details of Your Accident
The next set of questions will probably focus on how your auto collision occurred. You could be asked about the following:
- What was the date, time, and place of the accident?
- Where were you coming from and where were you going?
- What were the traffic conditions where your collision occurred?
- What were weather conditions like?
- What were you and the other driver doing when the accident occurred? You should also expect specific questions, such as about the speed of the vehicles, when you first noticed the vehicle that hit you, and where the vehicles struck each other.
- How was your body affected during the crash?
- What was the physical damage to each vehicle?
- Did you speak to the other driver after the crash? What was said?
- Were there witnesses to the accident?
- Do you have any photos or diagrams of the collision scenes?
- Had you consumed alcohol or drugs in the 24 hours prior to your accident?
Information About Your Injuries and Treatments
You will also be questioned about your injuries and how they have affected your ability to work and the quality of your life. You should be prepared to answer questions about:
- Injuries you suffered
- Symptoms you experienced at the time of the crash and over time
- Any medical conditions made worse by the accident
- Doctors who have treated you
- Diagnostic tests performed
- Treatments you have received
- Any gaps in your medical care
- Medical bills you received
- Your future medical treatments and prognosis
- How long you have been off work and when you expect to return to your job
- Wages you have lost and will lose in the future
- How your injuries have affected your day-to-day activities, relationships, and quality of life
At Tavss Fletcher, our experienced car accident lawyers would thoroughly prepare you for your deposition so that you know what to expect and how to answer the questions you are asked. Find out more about how we will fight for the compensation you deserve at a free consultation. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your appointment today.
Why won’t my doctor see me after my car accident?
It is crucial to be examined by a physician soon after your auto collision in order to protect your health and to avoid disputes with the negligent driver’s insurance company over the cause of your injuries and how serious they are. However, you may be shocked to discover that your primary care doctor does not want to treat you.
Why Your Physician May Not Want to Treat You
Unfortunately, some doctors do not want to treat victims of motor vehicle accidents. Some of the reasons include:
- Office policy. They may have a strict rule that they do not treat patients injured in car accidents due to the extra work, such as telephone calls, paperwork, and billing.
- Billing issues. Another reason that doctors may be unwilling to treat an accident victim is that billing auto insurance companies for medical care can be more complicated than a health care insurance company. They may be worried that they will not get paid.
What to Do If Your Doctor Will Not Treat You
Fortunately, you do have options for obtaining the medical care you need. Here are steps you can take:
- Talk to your attorney. Discuss your situation with an experienced car accident lawyer. He may be able to contact your physician and provide him with a letter of protection that states that his bills for medical services would be paid directly out of your settlement.
- See another physician. Some doctors will treat car accident victims, and you may need to find a new one. If your injuries are serious, you might need to be referred to a specialist. Your attorney may have a network of qualified doctors who can help you.
Are you having trouble getting the medical care you need for your injuries? Do you need assistance filing your claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company? Our skilled and dedicated legal team is here to help you every step of the way. Fill out our convenient online form to schedule your appointment today.
Should I talk to the police following my car accident?
You should always call the police at the scene of your auto crash even if you believe that you suffered no injuries or “minor” injuries and there was little damage to your car. Why is this important? You may find that the cost to repair your vehicle is higher than you thought or that you suffered serious injuries requiring medical treatment. The symptoms of some injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, back and spinal cord injuries, and internal bleeding, can take days or longer to emerge.
If you decide to file a claim with the negligent driver’s or your own insurance company, having a police report can be extremely useful. It can avoid disputes with the insurance company about whether your crash really happened and will have helpful information, such as the officer’s conclusions as to who was at fault and whether a traffic citation was issued.
When Are You Required to Report a Car Accident in Virginia?
Under Virginia law, you are required to report an auto accident in the following situations:
- An individual suffered injuries or was killed.
- A vehicle was damaged in the wreck.
It is best to call the police from the scene of your accident because the police report will be more detailed and help prove the other driver’s negligence. If you do not contact law enforcement, then you should do so within 24 hours of the collision or as soon as you can if your injuries prevent you from doing so right away.
Tips on What You Should Say to the Police
You will have a duty to provide the police officer with a copy of your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration. When talking to the police, you need to be careful what you say. Your statements will be included in the police report, and the other motorist’s insurance company may use them to try to deny your claim or pay you less than you are entitled to. Here are some tips on how to talk to the police:
- Be polite when speaking to the officer or anyone else.
- Do not interrupt the other driver or other witnesses when they are being interviewed by the officer.
- When answering the officer’s questions, stick with the facts, and give a general accounting of how the collision occurred. Do not embellish what happened or give too many details that you may contradict later or can be misinterpreted by the insurance company when you file your claim.
- Do not admit fault or make statements, such as “I’m sorry,” that can be interpreted as an admission of guilt.
Do you have additional questions about your legal rights following a car accident? Do you need to file a claim for compensation? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation with our experienced car accident attorneys today to get answers to your questions and learn how we can assist you with all the steps you will need to take to win your case.
What should I do after a hit and run accident?
If you were injured in a hit and run accident in Norfolk, you may still be able to obtain compensation for injuries. However, there are immediate steps you need to take to protect your legal rights. Here are five first actions that you should take.
Step #1: Stay at the Crash Scene and Call the Police
Do not try to chase the hit and run driver. It could be dangerous. Instead, you should stay at the crash scene and call the police. The police report will contain vital information that you will need if you later locate the motorist and file a claim with his insurance company or if you need to file one with your own insurance company. This includes:
- Date, time, and place of your crash
- Narration of how the collision occurred
- Witness’ contact information and statements
- Officer’s conclusions as to who caused your accident
Step #2: Obtain Medical Treatment
If you know you suffered injuries, call 911 for an ambulance or go to the emergency room as soon as possible. Even if you do not believe you were hurt, you may have suffered injuries that are not apparent right away, such as neck and back injuries, internal injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. You protect your health and your claim by having a doctor examine you within a day or two of the crash.
Step #3: Take Photos
You should use your cellphone camera to take pictures of the accident scene, damage to your vehicle, your injuries, and anything else that could help you identify the hit and run driver or prove his negligence. Ask a passenger or witness to take photos for you if you are too hurt to do it yourself.
Step #4: Obtain Witness’ Contact Information
Get the contact information for any witnesses at the crash scene before they disappear. They may have information that can help you identify the negligent driver and can corroborate his fault in causing your wreck.
Step #5: Retain an Attorney
Although you may have plenty of time before the deadline, referred to as the statute of limitations, expires to sue the negligent driver, you should retain an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after your crash. He may be able to obtain business surveillance footage and take other steps to help you locate the negligent driver and can negotiate your settlement with the insurance company so that you receive all the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one were injured in a hit and run or other type of car accident in Norfolk, call our office today to schedule a free consultation. A member of our skilled legal team can answer your questions and explain how we can help you file your claim.