If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident, you need to know how state and local laws and regulations will affect your potential insurance company or lawsuit. When you decide to pursue the at-fault driver to recover damages after the accident, a personal injury lawyer will explain the biggest misconceptions regarding Virginia car accident cases.
The lawyer who represents you will also explain how misconceptions and misinformation can negatively impact your case for financial compensation. Some of the biggest misconceptions have to do with assigning liability, understanding how insurance works — yours or the at-fault driver’s — and understanding the importance of the post-accident timeline.
Misconception: The At-fault Driver’s Insurance Company Will Compensate Me
Most car accident cases in Virginia will be settled out of court with an insurance settlement. This does not mean, however, that the at-fault driver’s insurer will hand over a check for the full amount of your recoverable damages. Instead, they might:
- Make a low-ball offer very early in the negotiations. In the end, this could leave you with uncovered expenses and losses since it can take time for the accident’s costs to be known.
- Attempt to assign partial blame for the accident to you. This can be costly if any portion of the liability is assigned to you by the courts.
The lawyer who represents you will explain how a thorough investigation can prevent either of these scenarios from negatively impacting your case. Your lawyer can also clarify the steps they take to avoid bad faith insurance practices.
Misconception: Full Insurance Coverage Means Full Compensation
According to Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) guidelines, all motorists are required to carry the following minimum insurance coverage:
- Bodily injury per person: $30,000
- Bodily injury per accident: $60,000
- Property damage per accident: $20,000
If your post-accident damages exceed these limitations, you might be able to recover additional damages if your own policy includes uninsured and/or underinsured motorist coverage.
Misconception: I Can Wait Until My Injuries Heal To Seek Compensation
The injuries you sustain in a car accident can require lengthy recovery times. Sadly, Virginia law does not make room for recovery in its statute of limitations. Accordingly:
- The personal injury statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of the collision, according to Va. Code § 8.01-243
- The wrongful death statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of demise, according to Va. Code § 8.01-244
A primary benefit of hiring a personal injury law firm to support your pursuit of compensation is ensuring the filing deadline is met. While you focus on getting better, your lawyer can focus on building your case and filing it within the allotted time.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer? Can I Just Work Directly With the Insurance Company?
The state of Virginia will allow you to represent yourself and deal with the at-fault driver’s insurance company on your own. Working with a personal injury lawyer, though, can have its benefits. A personal injury lawyer can:
- Read and interpret Virginia personal injury and insurance law for you
- Obtain evidence you might have difficulty accessing on your own
- Carefully and accurately calculate the financial value of your case
- Locate and interview witnesses who benefit your case for recovery
- Identify experts and consultants who support your right to recovery
Do not let the at-fault driver’s insurer overwhelm you with bad faith tactics. A personal injury lawyer can explain your rights, the insurer’s responsibilities, and the merits of your case.
What Compensation Can a Lawyer Help Me Get?
A car accident can be costly right from the moment it occurs. It can go on costing you even as you are recovering from your injuries by preventing you from going to work and by impacting your ability to earn in the future.
The types of compensation you could be entitled to include:
- All accident-related medical expenses
- All accident-related losses of income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- “Pain and suffering” and inconvenience
- Ongoing mental and emotional distress
A lawyer can help you ensure your case file contains evidence that proves the cause of your accident and evidence that proves the cost of your recovery. The evidence your lawyer collects can include your car accident report, medical records and bills, witness statements, and photos and videos.
Let Our Car Accident Team Fill In the Blanks
Were you or someone you love injured in a recent car accident? Our personal injury lawyer can help you build a strong case for compensation. We can also help you avoid many of the biggest misconceptions regarding Virginia car accident cases that might threaten your ability to recover damages.
Get a free review of your case with one of our team members at the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC by calling (571) 229-1800 today.