You Deserve the Answers to Your Questions Regarding Your Accident
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How long do I have to file my lawsuit after a bicycle accident?
If you were injured in a bicycle collision caused by a negligent driver, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. When pursuing your claim with their insurance company, it is important to understand the steps you need to take to build a strong case, mistakes to avoid, and important laws that apply to your claim.
One crucial law you need to know is the statute of limitations, which is the deadline you have to sue, that applies in your case. If you fail to file your lawsuit under this time period, you could ruin your case.
What Is the Deadline to File the Bicycle Crash Lawsuit?
You have a short time to file your bicycle accident complaint in Virginia. The time period is slightly different for a claim for your personal injuries than a wrongful death lawsuit filed because a loved one died.
Time Periods to File a Civil Complaint After a Bicycle Accident
- Personal injuries. You have two years from the date of your bike crash to file a lawsuit for the injuries you suffered in the accident.
- Wrongful death. You have two years from the date of the death of your family member, which could be different than the date of their bicycle crash, to file a civil complaint.
- Property damage. You have a much longer time to file a property damage complaint. You would have five years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit.
What Happens If You Miss the Statute of Limitations to File Your Complaint?
If you miss the deadline to file your lawsuit, the consequences would be harsh. The insurance company would file a motion to dismiss your complaint. The judge would most likely grant their motion and dismiss your case. You would be barred from pursuing your right to compensation in court.
While there is no statute of limitations to filing a claim with the insurance company, the reality is that they would refuse to pay your claim if you file it or try to settle it after the statute of limitations expired. They would have no incentive to pay you because they would know that you could not successfully sue their insured.
Even if you have plenty of time to file a bicycle crash lawsuit, you should not wait to retain an experienced car accident attorney. They will have an easier time helping you settle your claim for the maximum amount you are entitled to if you contact them soon after your collision. To learn about your rights and how we can assist you, contact us online or call our office at 877-960-3441 today to schedule your free initial consultation.
What is a third-party car insurance claim?
No matter how safe a driver you are, you could be involved in a car accident caused by another driver. You may be entitled to compensation for injuries you suffered in the crash under Virginia law. When deciding how to pursue your rights, you must understand the difference between a first-party and third-party auto collision claim.
Difference Between First- and Third-Party Auto Insurance Claims
Virginia is an at-fault state in regard to car accidents. This means that the negligent driver would be fully responsible for compensating you for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damages, and pain and suffering. There are two types of claims you may need to file:
- Third-party claim. A third-party claim is a claim you would file with the at-fault motorist's insurance company. In order to be entitled to compensation, you would need to prove the other driver's negligence, the seriousness of your injuries, and the amount of damages you should recover.
- First-party claim. A first-party claim is one filed with your own auto insurance company. The basis of your claim would be the contract between the insurance company and yourself. If you purchased collision or medical coverage, you may recover additional damages under these coverages.
How to Determine Whether to File a First- or Third-Party Insurance Car Crash Claim
It can be complicated to figure out whether you should file a first-party and/or third-party insurance claim and to reach a settlement with the insurance company on your own. You need the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer to determine which claims you need to file and to go up against the insurance company to get the compensation you deserve.
You might be tempted to negotiate your settlement with the insurance company on your own to save the cost of attorney fees. However, this would be a big mistake. Your own insurance company might not treat you fairly if the value of your claim is large—which is likely if you suffered serious injuries. They could use unfair tactics to deny your claim or to pay you less money, just like the negligent driver's insurance company would do.
At Tavss Fletcher, we handle car accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you would not owe us any attorney fees until we settle your claim or win your case at a jury trial. Contact our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.
How much is my pedestrian accident claim worth?
You may have many questions if you were injured in a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent driver. If you are like many of our clients, one of your biggest worries may be about the value of your claim.
Unfortunately, there is no set formula for valuing a pedestrian injury claim, and each case is unique. However, here’s what goes into determining a ballpark figure of how much you can expect to receive in your settlement with the insurance company.
Compensation You Can Recover in a Pedestrian Collision Case
The first thing that you need to determine to value your claim is how much compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law. You should keep in mind that you should receive your future damages as well as your past damages if you have not fully recovered from your injuries or have sustained a permanent injury.
You are entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and lost earning capacity, property damages, and pain and suffering. While it can be easy to determine the cost of your medical treatment, prior lost wages, and property damages, it can be complicated to figure out your future damages and what you should recover for your pain and suffering without the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer.
Factors That Can Affect the Value of Your Claim
The value of your claim is also affected by certain factors that make your case stronger or weaker. Here are the top factors that can have an impact on your claim’s value:
- Your evidence. If you have strong evidence that proves the motorist’s negligence in causing your pedestrian accident and the seriousness of your injuries, this will strengthen your claim and increase its value.
- Disputes with the insurance company. If you have disputes with the insurance company over who caused your collision or how serious your injuries are, this could weaken your case and force you to accept less in your settlement. However, this only applies if the insurance company has legitimate arguments about their liability to pay you and not made-up ones to deny your claim.
- Your injuries. If your injuries are serious, you will have more medical expenses and lost wages. You will also experience more pain and suffering and a reduced quality of life. This can significantly increase the value of your case.
Were you or a family member injured in a pedestrian accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our office or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free case evaluation to learn how our skilled car accident legal team can assist you in obtaining justice and the compensation you deserve.
Should I represent myself in my car accident case?
If you were injured in an auto collision caused by a negligent driver, you have the right to represent yourself when filing your claim with their insurance company. However, this does not mean it is a good idea. You will almost certainly obtain far less compensation if you do not retain an experienced car accident lawyer to negotiate your settlement.
Five Reasons You Should Not Represent Yourself
You would run the risk of making a mistake that weakens your case or being taken advantage of by the insurance adjuster if an attorney does not represent you. Here are five reasons you should not handle your own case:
- Evidence. You will not understand the evidence you need to prove the other driver’s negligence, the seriousness of your injuries, and the damages you should recover. You must prove all these elements of your case if you want the insurance company to agree to a fair settlement of your claim.
- Value of your claim. You do not have the experience to determine the amount of compensation you deserve from the negligent driver. You need the help of a lawyer who has a track record of success in settling and trying car accident cases to determine the amount of past and future medical expenses, lost wages and lost earning capacity damages, and pain and suffering you should receive.
- Negotiations. It takes skill to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company because their goal is to deny your claim or pay you less money than you deserve. You would not be able to anticipate the arguments they will make or have strategies to refute them. However, an attorney will know how to effectively handle disputes with the insurance adjuster.
- Deadlines. You must file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, which is the deadline you have to sue, and comply with other deadlines in your case. You could be precluded from obtaining any compensation if you miss a crucial deadline.
- Litigation. If the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement, you will need to litigate your claim. You would be at a serious disadvantage if you tried to represent yourself in your lawsuit. You need the help of a lawyer licensed in Virginia who is not afraid to take your case to a jury trial if this is in your best interests.
Were you or a loved one injured in a car accident in the Norfolk or Virginia Beach area? Our dedicated car accident legal team is here to answer your questions and go up against the insurance company for the compensation you deserve. Call our office or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.
What should I do if the negligent driver lies to their insurance company?
If another driver was at fault in causing your car accident, they are responsible for compensating you for your injuries under Virginia law. However, they may lie to the insurance company to avoid liability for paying you. If you find yourself in this situation, take these steps to protect your rights and build a winning case.
#1: Remain Calm
If the motorist plans to lie to their insurance company, they will most likely begin by accusing you of causing the auto collision and by being dishonest when discussing the crash with the police. You should stay calm and avoid arguing with them. You will not change their mind.
#2: Be Honest
If you know the other driver is not being truthful, it is important that you be honest and concise when talking to the police and insurance adjuster. You should calmly explain what happened to the police when they interview you. Hopefully, they will also talk to witnesses who will corroborate how your accident really happened. Then, obtain a copy of the police report to provide to the insurance company.
You should also be truthful and not exaggerate how the collision occurred or the severity of your injuries when talking to the other motorist’s insurance company. You should stick to the basic facts.
#3: Collect Evidence
You should begin obtaining evidence that will help you prove the other driver’s negligence at the accident scene. Important evidence to collect includes:
- Photos and videos of the damage to the autos, weather and road conditions, and your injuries
- Surveillance footage from nearby businesses
- Witness contact information and statements
- Police report
#4: Retain a Lawyer
You will have a harder time convincing the insurance company of their liability to pay you if their insured is lying about how your collision occurred. You should hire an experienced car accident lawyer immediately after the crash. They can collect all the evidence you need to win your case, take over communications with the insurance adjuster, and negotiate your settlement so that you obtain the damages you deserve.
Were you or a family member hurt in a car accident that was not your fault? Is the other driver lying about how it happened? Fill out our online form to learn how we will fight for your right to compensation for your injuries.
What should I do if the negligent driver offers me cash at the scene of my car accident?
If the at-fault motorist who caused your auto crash offers you cash or a check right after it occurred, you should refuse to accept the money. They most likely have ulterior motives for offering to pay you, like not wanting to contact the police because they do not have insurance or a valid license or are worried that their auto insurance rates will go up. Here are three reasons why accepting money at the scene of your car collision would be a bad idea.
Reason #1: It Would Be a Final Settlement
If you accept the cash or a check and cash it, it would most likely be considered a final settlement of your case. You would not be able to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company for additional money if you discovered that the amount the driver paid you did not fully compensate you for your injuries or your property damages.
Reason #2: Your Repair Costs Could Be Higher
Even if you think the damage to your car is minor, the cost to repair it could be more expensive than you think. In addition, you could have other out-of-pocket expenses, like repair costs for other property damaged and car rental fees, that would not be covered by the payment the motorist is offering you.
Reason #3: You Could Have Suffered Serious Injuries
Even if you do not believe you were hurt in the car accident, you could have suffered serious injuries. The symptoms of some injuries can take days or longer to develop. Long-term injuries you may have suffered include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
If you suffered one of these or another injury, you could need expensive medical treatments, be off work for months or longer or become permanently disabled, and suffer emotional distress due to your injuries and how they affect your abilities and quality of life. Any cash payment that the other motorist offers you would not compensate you for all the damages you could be entitled to under Virginia law.
Were you injured in a car accident in the Norfolk or Virginia Beach area? Our experienced car accident lawyers have decades of experience helping auto crash victims obtain justice and the compensation they deserved. To learn how we can assist you, fill out our online form or call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
Can I obtain compensation above the negligent driver’s insurance limits?
If you were injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you are entitled to be fully compensated for your injuries under Virginia law. However, this may not seem possible if the at-fault motorist does not have enough insurance coverage to pay you.
Can you obtain compensation above their insurance limits? Yes, you may be able to recover more damages—if you have the help of an experienced car accident lawyer.
How to Obtain Additional Damages Above the Driver’s Policy Limits
The insurance company for the negligent driver is only responsible for compensating you up to the insurance policy limits no matter how serious the injuries are that you suffered. However, you may have other options to obtain additional damages. Here are other ways to recover what you deserve:
- Other liable parties. In some cases, more than one individual caused the car accident. Drivers of other vehicles, mechanics, parts and car manufacturers, and municipalities are some of the potentially at-fault parties who could have liability to compensate you. Pursuing claims against all possible parties increases the likelihood that you will be fully compensated for your injuries.
- Umbrella policy. The negligent driver could have an umbrella policy that provides additional liability coverage if the auto policy is not sufficient to compensate you. Your attorney can help you determine if this is an option.
- Your own insurance. You may have purchased underinsured motorist coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. If you did, you can file a claim for additional damages with your own insurance company. However, you still need the help of a knowledgeable attorney to ensure that you are treated fairly and fully compensated by them.
- At-fault driver. Another option you have is to sue the negligent driver for the additional compensation you deserve. However, they may have no or few assets to pay you. Your lawyer can help you determine if it would be worth the time and expense of a lawsuit to sue them.
We’re Here to Help
If you or a family member were hurt in a car accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach, our knowledgeable car accident legal team is here to assist you. We will help you pursue all your options so that you receive the maximum recovery you deserve. To get started, fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.
Should I let my health insurance company pay for injuries I suffered in a car accident?
If you were injured in an auto collision in Virginia, the negligent driver who caused it is responsible for paying you compensation for your injuries. However, their insurance company could spend months or longer fighting to deny your claim or delay paying you.
In the meantime, you may have mounting expensive medical bills for medical care you need to treat your injuries. One good option can be to let your health insurance company pay them.
Using Medical Coverage Under Your Own Auto Insurance Policy
When you purchased your car insurance policy, you had the option to purchase medical expense coverage, which is often referred to as Med Pay. If you did buy it, your medical bills would first be paid from this insurance coverage. However, the amount of coverage under Med Pay is not that much, and it is likely that it would not cover all of your medical expenses.
Benefits of Using Your Private Health Insurance to Cover Medical Bills
If you have a private health insurance policy, you should use it to pay your medical bills while you wait for your settlement from the negligent driver’s insurance company. Here are the benefits of doing so:
- Your medical bills will be paid on time, which will protect your credit rating.
- You will be able to choose the doctors and specialists who will best treat your injuries. Some physicians and other medical care providers would not treat you if you do not have health insurance.
- You would not have to pay your medical expenses out of your own savings.
- You will heal faster if you get the medical treatment you need.
Will You Have to Pay Back Your Health Insurance Provider?
In Virginia, a health insurance company would not be allowed to place a lien against your auto crash claim or require you to pay them back for the medical bills they paid for you once you receive your settlement. However, there are exceptions to this rule:
- If you receive health insurance benefits from your employer, the plan may be subject to a federal law called ERISA. Under ERISA, you may be required to reimburse your health insurance company for the expenses they paid. In addition, they may have a right to subrogation, which would allow them to sue the negligent driver for the medical bills they paid due to their injuries.
- You could also have to pay back your medical expenses out of your settlement if your health insurance is through Medicare or Medicaid.
Even if you have to repay your health insurance provider, you should still use this benefit to pay your medical bills. An experienced car accident lawyer may be able to negotiate with them so that you pay them less than the full amount you owe.
Were you or a loved one injured in a car accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our office to schedule your free consultation today to learn how we can assist you.
Do I have a claim if I can’t remember how my car accident happened?
If you can’t remember how your auto collision occurred, you are not alone. Many car accident victims have no memory of how their crash happened. Fortunately, you may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries from the negligent driver who caused your accident.
Why You May Not Remember How Your Auto Crash Occurred
There are a number of reasons why you may not recall how your car accident happened. Here are two common reasons:
- Trauma. Being involved in an auto crash can be a terrifying experience. The trauma of the wreck, especially if a loved one was killed or you suffered injuries, can cause your brain to block out the details of the collision.
- Your injuries. If you suffered serious injuries in the wreck, this could affect your memory. This is especially true if you suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that could cause changes to your reasoning, judgment, memory, and more.
Evidence You Can Use When You File Your Claim
If you cannot remember the details of your car accident, you can use other evidence to prove how it occurred and the other motorist’s negligence in causing it. Crucial evidence to collect includes:
- Police report. While the police report would not be admissible in court for technical reasons, it can contain helpful information that you can use to convince the insurance company of their liability to pay you. The officer would include details of how the accident occurred, driver and witness statements, who was at fault, and whether any citations were issued in their report. In addition, the officer could testify at your trial.
- Photos. Photos taken at the crash scene of the damage to the vehicles and road and weather conditions can show how the collision occurred.
- Eyewitnesses. Although you may not remember how the accident happened, witnesses who saw it as it occurred can provide powerful testimony to help you prove that the other driver caused it.
- Black box. The other driver’s black box may have recorded useful information, such as the vehicle’s speed, steering, braking, and acceleration.
- Surveillance tapes. Your accident may have been recorded by a nearby business’ surveillance camera.
- Accident reconstruction expert. An accident reconstruction expert would have the training and experience to conduct an investigation into your collision and could create a reenactment of how it occurred.
Did you suffer injuries in a car accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Our experienced car accident lawyers can pursue your claim for compensation even if you cannot recall how your crash occurred. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
Do I have a claim against the negligent driver if I was driving a leased vehicle at the time of my car accident?
More people are choosing to lease their autos rather than purchasing them due to the high purchase price for many vehicles. If you were injured in a car accident while driving a leased motor vehicle, you still have a right to compensation for your injuries. However, there are some unique considerations you need to know about when pursuing your claim.
First Steps You Should Take After an Auto Collision
You need to take immediate steps to protect your health and your legal rights after your accident. The initial steps you need to take are the same whether you lease or own your car. Here are some crucial steps to take at the crash scene:
- Get prompt medical care—even if you do not believe you were hurt.
- Call the police immediately and obtain a copy of the police report.
- Exchange contact information with the other driver.
- Talk to witnesses who saw the accident occur and obtain their contact information so you can get their written statement.
- Take photos and video of the damage to both vehicles, road and weather conditions, your injuries, and anything else you believe would be helpful.
Who Must You Notify of Your Accident?
Under your lease agreement, you are most likely required to maintain an auto insurance policy on the leased vehicle. Your contract will also have a provision requiring you to notify the dealer and leasing company of any accident. They may have specific rules that must be followed when repairing your leased vehicle.
You also have a duty to contact your insurance company immediately after the collision under your auto insurance policy. Be sure they know any requirements of the leasing company concerning the repairs to your vehicle.
How to Pursue an Injury Claim
If the other driver’s negligence was the cause of your accident, you have the same right to compensation for your injuries as if you were driving a vehicle you owned. You would need to contact the at-fault motorist’s insurance company to notify them of the crash and to file a claim for the damages you are seeking. If you want to win your case, you should retain an experienced car accident attorney to file it for you and negotiate your settlement with the insurance adjuster.
Were you or a family member injured in a car accident that was not your fault in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free consultation to get your questions answered and learn how our skilled legal team can help you.
What damages can I recover in a rideshare accident?
If you were injured in an Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare accident, you are entitled to compensation if the rideshare driver caused the collision. When filing your claim with the insurance company for the driver and rideshare company, it is important to understand the types of damages you are entitled to under Virginia law so that you are fully compensated in your settlement.
Types of Compensation You Can Obtain in a Rideshare Collision
If a rideshare driver was on the clock when they caused your accident, the rideshare company could have up to $1 million in liability insurance coverage to compensate you for your injuries. In addition, they may have a contingent liability policy that offers less money if the driver was waiting to pick up a passenger when the crash occurred. You may also be able to file a claim with the rideshare driver’s or another negligent motorist’s insurance company.
You are entitled to recover both your past and future damages. Here are the types of compensation you should request when you file your claim:
- Medical expenses. You are entitled to be fully compensated for your medical expenses to treat your injuries. Emergency room visits, hospitalizations, surgeries, doctor visits, physical therapy, and medications are some of the medical treatments that you can receive compensation for.
- Lost wages. You should recover the lost wages and other benefits you did not receive while you were off work recovering from your injuries. If you have to make a career change with a pay cut due to your injuries or become permanently disabled, you may also be able to recover lost earning capacity damages.
- Pain and suffering. You are also entitled to compensation for the pain, suffering, and emotional distress you endured due to to your injuries and how they have affected your quality of life.
- Property damages. If you suffered any property damages, such as to a vehicle, cell phone, or laptop, you should be compensated for the cost to repair or replace the damaged property.
- Wrongful death. If a family member was killed due to the negligence of the rideshare driver, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim for compensation for reasonable funeral expenses, the emotional and financial support your loved one provided, and more.
How to Know the Amount of Compensation You Should Recover
It can be complicated to determine how much your claim is worth. At Tavss Fletcher, our experienced car accident lawyers will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of your accident and the injuries you suffered so we can determine how much compensation you should receive from the rideshare company and other liable parties. We will aggressively pursue claims with all at-fault parties so that you obtain the maximum amount in your settlement. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
I was temporarily unemployed at the time of my auto accident. Can I still recover lost income in a car crash case?
If you suffered injuries in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries from their insurance company. This includes receiving damages for the past and future wages you cannot earn while you are off work recovering from your injuries, your medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Your claim could be more complicated if you were temporarily unemployed at the time of your auto crash. However, you still can receive your lost wages in your settlement if you can prove the other driver’s negligence caused your collision and the amount of compensation you should receive.
Types of Lost Wages Recoverable in a Car Accident Case
In an auto crash case, a victim is entitled to their past and future wage losses for the period they cannot work due to their injuries under Virginia law. A lost wage claim can include the following:
- Past and future wages, bonuses, and commissions
- Past and future lost sick and vacation time
- Past and future perks of their job
- Lost earning capacity if they must make a career change due to their injuries or are permanently disabled
How to Prove Your Lost Wages Claim If You Are Temporarily Unemployed
If you are unemployed at the time of your accident, you will need to prove that your unemployment is temporary. This will be easier to establish if your loss of job was recent or was not your choice, such as a layoff by your employer. You may have to obtain documentation of when you lost your job and your efforts to seek future employment. Showing the types of work you are seeking and their salary range can also help you establish your future wage loss claim.
You will also need to prove the wages that you lost and will lose in the future. This can be more challenging to show when you are temporarily unemployed. If you are looking for work in the same profession, you may be able to use paystubs from your old job to help prove the amount of wages you are losing. Your income tax returns for prior years can also help establish what you earn when you work.
You may also need to hire an expert witness, such as an occupational and economic expert. An expert can testify to how your injuries have affected your ability to find employment and the salary you can expect to receive in the jobs you can now perform—if you can return to work at all.
The best way to prove your right to lost wages if you are temporarily unemployed is to retain an experienced car accident lawyer. They can help you collect the evidence you need and will have a network of qualified experts you can hire if this is necessary.
Were you or a family member injured in a car accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our Norfolk office today to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you.
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.