If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident, you need to understand how the Virginia car accident settlement process and timeline work. One of the easiest ways to gain this understanding and avoid putting your right to recover damages at risk is by consulting a personal injury lawyer in your area.
The Parrish Law Firm, PLLC offers a free consultation and review of your car accident case. It allows your attorney to ask probative questions and determine the merits of your case. It also gives you a chance to ask questions of your own and to understand the anticipated timeline for resolving your case.
File and Obtain a Car Accident Report
Car accident lawyers always advise filing a car accident report no matter how minor the incident seems. While one is not always required, it is usually a good idea to get the details down in writing to avoid any change in stories or circumstances later. A report is permissible, according to Virginia Code § 46.2-372 under the following circumstances:
- Anyone in either car was injured
- Anyone in either car was deceased
- Either involved car was uninsured
Your lawyer may request a copy of this report immediately because it contains key information that can support your right to recovery. This includes contact details, accident causes and contributing factors, and notes and diagrams from the investigating officer.
Review the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Coverage
In Virginia, not every driver is required to have insurance. According to Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) guidelines, a driver can opt to pay an annual fee and forego insurance coverage altogether.
This legal fact can make post-accident financial recovery complicated. A personal injury lawyer can help you pursue damages against an uninsured or underinsured driver. Your lawyer can also help if you need to turn to your own insurance provider for coverage. He will explain how the damages you can recover may vary depending on the insurance company you pursue for damages.
Understand the Settlement Process
Your car accident case is far more likely to be settled out of court than at trial. The settlement process can be daunting, on your own, though. When a personal injury lawyer represents you, they can help you understand these steps:
- Evidence is collected and presented to the insurer
- A demand letter is made requesting compensation
- Often, a back-and-forth negotiation process begins
- A final decision is made, or your case goes to trial
The lawyer who represents you will explain how long each step in the process takes and how they can ensure you get the best possible outcome of your case.
Your Role in Securing a Settlement
The role of your personal injury attorney is to understand your damages and help you recover them from the at-fault party. You have a role to play in the settlement process, too, because the final decision is yours to make, not your lawyer’s.
Your lawyer will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each offer you receive and may make recommendations. Your lawyer will also ensure you understand the finality of your decision and the importance of ensuring your case is accurately valued before settlement negotiations start.
Virginia’s Statute of Limitations
The personal injury statute of limitations in Virginia is generally two years from the date of the accident, according to Virginia Code § 8.01-243. Similarly, the wrongful death statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of a loved one’s demise, according to Virginia Code § 8.01-244.
Many circumstances can lengthen or shorten the filing deadline. A personal injury lawyer can help clarify the appropriate filing deadline in your specific case and circumstances.
If the statute of limitations expires, you could inadvertently give up your right to recover any damages at all. A personal injury lawyer can help you avoid running out of legal avenues that compel the at-fault party to meet their financial responsibility.
Damages You Can Recover If You Do Not Run Out of Time
The damages you can recover are unique to you and can vary greatly. Even a passenger in your car can have vastly different recoverable damages. A personal injury lawyer can help you recover:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages
- “Pain and suffering” and inconvenience
Your lawyer will help you accurately assess yours and ensure your case is not undervalued or underpaid.
Get a Free Case Review Today
Are you trying to understand the financial recovery process after being injured in a vehicle collision? One of our lawyers can help you make sense of the typical car accident settlement process and timeline in the state of Virginia. We can walk you through what to expect and how the compensation process works.
Contact one of our case review team members at the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC by calling (571) 229 – 1800 to start today.
Car Accident eBook [Free Download]
Unsure about what to do after a car accident or have questions regarding your auto accident case that remain unanswered? Download our free Virginia Car Accident Guide eBook or give us a call at (571) 229 – 1800.