If you’ve been in a Virginia car accident, you know how overwhelming and stressful it can be. You may have suffered serious injuries, lost wages due to time off work, or be dealing with costly medical bills. I’ve helped hundreds of Virginia car accident victims, and I know the kind of stress a car accident (and the stress of waiting to be compensated) can cause. I wrote this page to answer your most pressing questions about car accidents in Virginia, and also what you should know before talking with the insurance companies.
Can You Afford to Hire an Attorney?
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be wondering if you can afford to hire an attorney to represent you. The good news is that many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t have to pay anything upfront. Instead, the attorney only gets paid if they recover compensation for you through a settlement or verdict.
This fee structure is designed to help injured individuals access legal representation without having to worry about upfront costs. It also incentivizes attorneys to work hard to get the best possible outcome for their clients.
Additionally, many attorneys offer a free initial consultation, where they can evaluate your case and advise you on the best course of action. At our firm, we offer FREE claim reviews for all accident injury victims. You can call us at (571) 253-7182 to schedule a time to speak to our attorneys.
If you’re concerned about the cost of hiring an attorney, it’s important to remember that an attorney can help you get a better outcome for your case. However, some car accident claims are easily settled without an attorney. If you are unsure if you need an attorney, you can still request a free consultation to learn more.
What Car Accident Victims Should Know About Virginia Personal Injury Law
If you’ve never been in a car accident, you may not know that Virginia has strict personal injury laws. In order to receive fair compensation for your injuries, it’s important to understand claim deadlines and how Virginia determines fault in a car accident.
Here are 5 facts that accident victims should know about Virginia personal injury law:
- Time Limit for Filing a Claim: In Virginia, there is a two-year statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim. If you miss this deadline, you may be barred from recovering compensation.
- Contributory Negligence Rule: Virginia is a pure contributory negligence state, which means that if you are found to be even 1% at fault for the accident, you may be barred from recovering compensation. This makes it crucial to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side to build a strong case and fight back against any claims of contributory negligence.
- Damages Available: If you are successful in your personal injury claim, you may be able to recover damages for a variety of losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
- Insurance Companies: Dealing with insurance companies can be complicated and stressful, but it is important to understand that their primary goal is to pay out as little as possible. Before founding the Parrish Law Firm, I worked for the insurance companies and know the tactics they might use to lower your settlement value.
- Importance of Talking to an Attorney: You might not need an attorney for your Virginia car accident claim, but I recommend talking to a personal injury attorney about your case before talking to the insurance company. When our attorneys do FREE claim review, we can help you take the first important steps.
This is not an exhaustive list of everything you should know about personal injury law, but these are the key points you should know before talking to insurance adjusters. Because of Virginia’s tight contributory negligence rule, you should be careful talking to the insurance company about who was at fault for the accident.
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Understanding Virginia Car Accident Liability
Virginia is a contributory negligence state. This means that if you are found to be even 1% at fault for the accident, you may be barred from recovering any compensation.
This can make it difficult to recover damages in a personal injury claim. Insurance companies and defense attorneys often use this principle to argue that the accident victim was partially at fault for the accident, and therefore not entitled to compensation.
Generally, insurance companies determine fault or liability by:
- Police Reports: Police should be notified of any accident with property damage and injuries. Statements from police are a huge factor in how the insurance company interprets a case.
- Witness Statements: Witnesses who saw the accident unfold can provide valuable information in determining who was at fault.
- Damage to Vehicles: The amount and type of damage to both vehicles involved in the accident can determine which driver caused it.
- Traffic Cam Footage: Video footage from traffic cameras can provide a clear picture of what happened during an accident.
- Statements from Drivers: Each driver’s statements about their version of events can be used to determine who is liable for the accident.
If there is any question about who caused an accident, then your Virginia car accident claim could be in trouble. It is important to have as much evidence as possible to show the insurance company that you were not at fault. A personal injury attorney can help you gather all of the necessary documents and evidence to file an effective claim.
Your attorney will also be able to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair settlement for your damages
Dealing with the Insurance Company After a Virginia Car Accident
Dealing with the insurance company after a Virginia car accident can be complicated, stressful, and sometimes risky. Here are some important things to keep in mind when dealing with insurance companies and talking with insurance adjusters:
- Why the Insurance Company Wants Your “Recorded Statement”: After a car accident, the insurance company may request a recorded statement from you. It is important to understand that anything you say in a recorded statement can be used against your claim later on. Insurance companies are looking for ways to minimize their liability and pay out as little as possible, and simple statements like, “I’m feeling fine” or “I’m recovering very well” can lead adjusters to offer you lower settlements.
- Understand How Much Coverage You Have: In Virginia, drivers are required to carry a minimum of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage. This means that if you are injured in an accident and the other driver is at fault, their insurance company is typically responsible for paying your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages up to the policy limit. It is important to understand how much coverage is available so that you can negotiate a fair settlement.
- When You Should Contact an Attorney: If you have been injured in a Virginia car accident, I recommend getting medical treatment before talking with an attorney. It’s not necessary to get an attorney involved right away, though you want to be mindful of the two-year statute of limitations. After your physical recovery is underway, you should consult an experienced Virginia car accident lawyer to discuss the details of your case.
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Who Covers Medical Bills in a Virginia Car Accident?
In Virginia, if you are injured in a car accident and the other driver is found to be at fault, their insurance company is generally responsible for paying your medical bills.
Virginia is an “at-fault” state, which means that the driver who caused the accident is responsible for paying for the damages they caused. If you are injured in a car accident and it is determined that the other driver is at fault, their bodily injury liability insurance may cover your medical expenses, including hospital bills, doctor’s fees, physical therapy, and other related costs.
However, not all Virginia drivers carry enough insurance coverage to cover major accident injuries. It is possible to drive WITHOUT insurance in Virginia (if the driver pays an Uninsured Motorist Fee of $500), so the at-fault driver may not have enough insurance to cover your injuries.
In this case, you will look to your own insurance company to recover compensation. Virginia motorists are required to carry an uninsured motorist policy in the event they are in an accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver. You also may have a Med Pay policy that covers your medical expenses specifically.
If the other driver is uninsured and you do not carry high enough policy limits to cover your own injuries, it’s possible to recover compensation from the other driver’s personal assets. This is less common, but possible if the other driver has assets to claim.
What Types of Compensation Can You Recover After a Virginia Car Accident?
If you are involved in a car accident in Virginia, you may be entitled to several types of compensation, depending on the circumstances of your case. Some common types of compensation that you may be able to recover after a Virginia car accident include:
- Medical Expenses: If you are injured in a car accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses, including hospital bills, doctor’s fees, physical therapy, and other related costs.
- Lost Wages: If you are unable to work due to your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages. This may include both past and future lost wages.
- Pain and Suffering: If you have experienced physical pain, emotional distress, or other types of suffering as a result of the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering.
- Property Damage: If your vehicle or other property was damaged in the accident, you may be able to recover compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged property.
- Punitive Damages: In some cases, you may be able to recover punitive damages, which are intended to punish the at-fault party for their reckless or intentional behavior.
What to Expect When Working With Virginia Car Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured in a car accident in Virginia, working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve. Here’s what you can expect when working with Virginia car accident lawyers:
- Free Consultation: Most Virginia car accident lawyers offer a free consultation to evaluate your case and determine if they can help you. During this consultation, the attorney will ask you questions about the accident, your injuries, and other details related to your case.
- Investigation: If the attorney determines that they can help you, they will begin investigating your case. This may involve gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and working with experts to build a strong case on your behalf.
- Negotiation: Once the attorney has built a strong case, they will begin negotiating with the insurance company or other parties involved in the accident. The attorney will work to get you the maximum compensation possible for your injuries, lost wages, and other damages.
- Litigation: If a settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your attorney may file a lawsuit on your behalf and take your case to court. Your attorney will represent you in court and work to get you the compensation you deserve.
Having an experienced attorney on your side when dealing with the insurance companies and other parties involved in a car accident can help you get a better outcome for your case. An attorney acts on your behalf, easing the burden of negotiating with the insurance company and saving you time. An attorney can also potentially increase the value of your settlement by utilizing their knowledge and skills to negotiate with the insurance company. However, not all car accident claims require hiring an attorney; if you’re unsure whether it would be beneficial, contact us at The Parrish Law Firm for a FREE claim review to discuss your situation.
Get Started Today – Call Parrish Law Firm for a FREE Claim Review
I’ve been representing accident victims for almost 20 years and my law firm has recovered over $30 million for Virginia car accident victims and their families. Believe it or not, I know that talking with an attorney can be scary. Some car accident victims are also very skeptical of hiring an attorney, and most people look for an attorney they can trust.
My #1 goal whenever I do a free claim review for potential clients is establishing that trust. I am open, honest, and transparent about our law firm’s processes and how we will handle your case. My team is dedicated to providing our clients with regular updates on their case, and giving them the peace of mind knowing that they’ve hired the right law firm.
You can find out yourself in a no-commitment, no obligation, FREE claim review. Just call the Parrish Law Firm at (571) 253-7182 to get started, and my team will schedule a time for you to talk with an attorney at my firm. Let us handle the legal stuff, while you focus on recovery from your injuries and recovering your life.