Who Pays for Car Accident Compensation in Virginia?
In Virginia, the at-fault motorist’s car insurance generally pays for damages from a car accident. All motorists in the state are required to carry liability insurance (unless they opt-out and pay a fee), per the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. So, if you suffer harm in a collision, you could pursue damages from the at-fault party’s insurer.
Matters get complicated if the negligent party doesn’t have auto insurance. In that case, you may have uninsured motorist protection coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. In that case, you could file a claim with your own insurance provider.
Another Entity Could Be Liable for Your Losses
Usually, you would request damages from the at-fault motorist’s insurance provider. However, suppose you were hit by a truck operated by the government. Who would pay for your losses then? In that case, you could pursue recovery from the government department that oversaw the vehicle’s operations.
Depending on your situation, you could also seek damages from:
- A car manufacturer, if a dangerous or defective vehicle caused your collision
- A government municipality, if unsafe road conditions caused your accident
- An employer, if its employee’s actions caused your collision while they were on the clock
When you partner with a lawyer, they can evaluate your case and determine your sources of pursuing damages.
You Can Recover Damages Included Under the Liable Insurance Policy
What you can recover via an insurance claim depends on the liable insurance policy. Yet, if your damages exceed the liable policy’s limits, you could file a lawsuit to recover what you need.
Compensable losses in an injury lawsuit include:
You can recover the costs associated with your necessary medical treatments, such as surgeries, medical assistive devices, medications, and in-home medical assistance and support. You can also recover the costs of required short- or long-term rehab and therapies.
You can request compensation for the period that your injuries will prevent you from working. You can recover lost wages from full and part-time employment, freelance and consultation work, business losses, and any other income your injuries and recovery force you to miss.
“Pain and Suffering” and Inconvenience
The “pain and suffering” and inconvenience you experience after a car accident can be physical, mental, and emotional. The aftermath of the accident can prevent you from enjoying your usual and preferred lifestyle.
The liable party can be compelled to compensate you for these forced lifestyle changes and for your immediate and ongoing physical discomfort.
Wrongful Death-Related Damages
The loss of a loved one will mean your family has to cover funeral and burial costs. This can be covered through an injury lawsuit. You could also seek your loved one’s end-of-life healthcare expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Most personal injury cases are settled out of court. As noted, you would generally only have to file a lawsuit if the liable insurer won’t settle or the policy does not fully account for your losses. When you partner with a lawyer, they can assess your legal options and determine what measures could recover compensation.
You Must File Your Injury Lawsuit Within the Applicable Deadline
In Virginia, you have a limited time to pursue compensation from a negligent driver. The state’s personal injury statute of limitations is generally two years. According to Va. Code § 8.01-243, the statutory clock starts running on the date of the accident.
According to Va. Code § 8.01-244, the state’s wrongful death statute of limitations is also generally two years. In the case of a fatality, however, the statutory clock starts running on the date of the victim’s passing.
Remember: this deadline applies to civil lawsuits, not insurance claims. The liable insurer will have its own deadline for reporting claims. Ideally, you should notify the liable insurer as soon as possible.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Pursue Car Accident Compensation in Virginia
A personal injury lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation to establish fault for the accident. Doing so will allow them to pursue compensation for what you deserve.
Proving the at-fault driver’s negligence means proving four critical factors:
- Another motorist had a responsibility to act with care.
- The motorist breached that violation.
- Their negligence caused your injuries.
- Your injuries had financial consequences.
The evidence your lawyer collects on your behalf will include:
- The car accident report
- Your medical records and bills
- Proof of your lost income
- Photos of the accident scene and your injuries
- Witness statements
- Accident reconstruction data
Your lawyer may also request a copy of your own written statement to capture your recollections of the events leading up to the accident.
What Will a Lawyer Do With the Evidence He Collects?
Your lawyer will prepare and organize your evidence to support your allegations. Your lawyer will also:
- Conduct an independent investigation
- Calculate your losses
- Locate accident photos and videos
- Complete and submit insurance claim forms
- Meet with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- Represent you throughout the negotiation process
- Represent you in court if it becomes necessary
Evidence collection is complex and can be time-consuming. When you are represented by a personal injury lawyer, they will handle this for you so you can focus on your physical recovery.
Review Your Case with a Team Member Now
If you or someone you love was injured in a collision, our personal injury law firm can explain who pays for car accident compensation in Virginia. We will also explain how we will fight for a fair and appropriate outcome. Leave the insurance company to us and focus your energy on getting better.
Contact one of our consultation team members at the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC by calling (571) 229-1800 today.
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.