Frequently Asked Questions About Virginia Car Accidents
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Can I be reimbursed for the paid time off I used after being injured in a car accident?
Any car accident can be costly, especially if your injuries require that you take time off work to recover. Depending on your employer’s policies, you may have had to use your sick days or vacation time to protect your position while your body was still healing—effectively robbing you of a later vacation and taking away free time you worked hard to earn.
If you were hurt in accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages, including the paid time off (PTO) you had to use during your recovery.
Claiming PTO After an Accident
When you’re hurt in an accident by a negligent driver, you can usually file a personal injury claim to recover damages from the liable party or their insurance company. If you had to use your PTO after an accident, you may wonder if you can get back that time you were likely saving for a more pleasant occasion.
While a Virginia car crash lawyer cannot help you get back your vacation days—only your employer has the power to restore them—we can help you get compensated for the PTO you should have been able to use for your own personal reasons.
You may be eligible for compensation for lost PTO if you used it for:
- Your hospital recovery
- Going to follow-up doctor appointments
- Speaking to an insurance company or adjuster
- Meeting your Virginia car accident attorney
How to Document Your PTO
Your PTO has its own value, often based on how much money you earn. Usually, one day of PTO is worth as much as one day’s labor. So if you make $150 per day, then one day of PTO is worth $150.
However, PTO has additional value: it’s time that most employees spend by themselves or with their families.
Virginia’s courts recognize exhausted PTO as a form of damage and will let you file a claim for recovery—provided you have documentation of your loss.
Most of the time, your employer can help you get the documentation you need. You should ask for a form or statement which:
- Is printed on company letterhead
- Lists your name, title, and salary
- Details how much time you missed or how much PTO you had to use
How an Attorney Can Help
You should never have to bear the financial burden of another person’s negligence. Not only do you deserve compensation for your missing PTO, you should also be compensated for the money you’ve already spent on hospital bills and the money you’ll need for physical rehabilitation and follow-up appointments. A Virginia car crash lawyer will help you evaluate the sum of your damages, which may include:
- Exhausted PTO
- Car repairs
- Medical bills
- Physical rehabilitation
- Continued care
- Crutches, wheelchair ramps, other medical accessories
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
Virginia, unlike other states, does not have a cap on damages in car accident cases. So, your attorney will fight to get you all the financial assistance you need. In certain cases, you may even be able to request punitive damages—a special sort of financial penalty levied on people, entities, or organizations which were exceptionally negligent in causing your accident.
Once you have decided to file a claim for damages, a lawyer will act as your advocate: collecting evidence needed to bolster your case, negotiating with the insurance company, and taking anyone who refuses to be fair to court.
Contact Us Today
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Virginia car accident, send Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi a message online today. Your initial consultation with us is free, and we handle our personal injury work on a contingency fee basis. That means, you pay no legal fees unless there is a financial recovery.
When is the right time to contact a car accident attorney?
When you get hurt in an accident that was not your fault, you should never have to pay for damages. However, getting fair compensation can be challenging. If you try to handle the claim on your own, the insurance company may be reluctant to offer you a fair deal; however, an attorney can help maximize your claim, especially if you act fast.
The Right Time to Contact a Car Crash Lawyer
If you are recovering from a car accident and contemplating a personal injury claim, you may not know when or how to contact an experienced Virginia attorney. You might think it is best to negotiate directly with an insurance adjuster or accept a settlement that covers the costs of your immediate medical expenses.
However, lawyers know that insurance companies will rarely offer a fair settlement to people who lack legal representation. Because insurance companies are for-profit businesses, they want to pay as little money as possible to help protect their bottom line. They will do everything they can to decrease the value of your claim.
When you take quick action by calling an attorney, they will help guide you through the claims process by:
- Collecting and preserving important evidence. Even if your case seems open and shut, the insurance company will still demand evidence of your damages, photographs of the crash site, repair estimates, and hospital bills. Lawyers know what evidence to gather for settlement negotiations or for court.
- Speaking to the adjuster on your behalf. Many people do not know that speaking to an insurance adjuster can be very dangerous to their claim. Adjusters will use anything you say against you. If you have an attorney, they will help you avoid mistakes that could end up hurting your claim.
- Advocating on your behalf. Insurance companies do not like it when claimants get legal help because they know lawyers are well aware of their tricks and won’t give in low-ball settlements. When you have an attorney, you have an advantage: someone who knows the insurance industry and is willing to do whatever it takes to get you the compensation you deserve.
Since evidence can disappear and adjusters can be smooth talkers, you should always contact an attorney as soon as possible. If you call quickly enough, an attorney may be able to dispatch investigators to the scene of the accident. In some cases, a legal team can reach a crash site before police or other emergency services. The sooner you reach out, the better your chances are of a fair settlement.
The Importance of Acting Fast
You should never wait too long to file a personal injury claim. The insurance company will be working hard to de-value your case, and you must file within a certain timeframe.
Virginia, like every other state, has a statute of limitation for how long someone has to file an injury claim, civil action, or lawsuit. In Virginia, most people have two years from the date of injury in a car accident to take action.
Once the statute of limitations has passed, not even the best lawyer can help. If your case is not automatically dismissed by the courts, the insurance company will tell the judge that your complaint was filed too late, and it will be immediately dismissed.
Contact Us Today
The law firm of Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi has years of experience handling Virginia car accident claims. We know that a crash can be expensive, which is why we never charge you anything up front. We work on a contingency basis, meaning we only get paid if you do.
Send us a message online to schedule your free consultation today.
When should I contact a personal injury attorney?
Even when you’re involved in a minor fender bender, the experience can be overwhelming, especially if you were injured or given a major repair bill for your vehicle. You may not be sure if insurance will help you pay for the damages. While you may have already considered taking legal action against the at-fault driver, you might still be unsure if a lawyer’s intervention would really make a difference. You may also wonder whether it is simply too soon to call an attorney, especially if you are waiting for the insurance company to write a check or offer a settlement.
If you were injured in a car accident, obtaining legal representation is essential for making a fair recovery. A Virginia car accident attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.
It’s Never Too Soon to Call an Attorney
If ever you’re involved in an automobile accident, a personal injury attorney should be the first person you call. This is especially true if:
- The crash resulted in significant physical injury or death
- You aren’t sure who was at fault
- The police report is inaccurate
- You aren’t sure about your insurance coverages
- Your insurance company offers an insufficient settlement
- The other motorist’s insurance company will not take responsibility for your medical bills
Your personal injury attorney will immediately initiate an investigation into the accident, its causes, and your potential compensation. If you call immediately after the crash, they may even be able to dispatch a quick-response team to the site. This team will begin collecting evidence, helping to ensure that no one—not the other motorist nor an insurer—can dispute the facts.
Even if your personal injury attorney does not believe you should file a claim, they will still provide critical advice to minimize your liability and expedite your financial recovery.
Why You Shouldn’t Wait Too Long
While it is never too soon to call a personal injury attorney, it can be too late. If you want to file a personal injury claim in Virginia, you are expected to do so within a particular timeframe. This timeframe is called the “statute of limitations.” Every state, and even the federal government, has its own statute of limitations.
In Virginia, the statute of limitations for filing a car crash claim or lawsuit is usually two years from the date of the accident or resultant injury. Although there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations—if, for instance, a victim does not discover an injury until later—the court will not usually offer extensions. This is why it is very important that you contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
How an Attorney Can Help
A Virginia personal injury attorney can assist you in many ways. They can help:
- Deal with the insurance company. While you may think your insurer is on your side, adjusters and other agents want to save their employer as much money as possible—even if it means paying out less than you deserve. Your attorney will negotiate with the insurer for the best settlement and take them to court, if necessary. Statistically, you are more likely to receive a larger settlement if you retain legal counsel.
- Instruct you on collecting necessary documents. An attorney can explain which medical and other documents to collect and save that could be critical to your case.
- Reduce uncertainty. An attorney can reduce any anxiety and uncertainty you may have about your claim/case and its outcome. Since your attorney will be invested in the results of your case, they will dedicate immense resources to investigating your accident, calculating your damages, and fighting for your maximum compensation.
Your attorney’s end goal is your recovery. That means, your lawyer will do everything possible to ensure you do not have to pay anything out of pocket for an accident that was not your fault.
Contact Us Today
If you were injured in a car accident, it is never too soon to contact a Virginia car crash attorney. Send Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi a message online today, and schedule your initial consultation.
How long does it take to get a car accident settlement check?
If you have been injured in a Virginia car accident that was not your fault, you know you shouldn’t be responsible for paying for costly car repairs, medical expenses, and physical rehabilitation. So, you may wonder when you can expect your settlement check from the insurance company. While you may be fortunate to receive a payment check within a matter of months, the other driver’s insurer will be in no hurry to negotiate a settlement. In fact, they may be inclined to delay negotiations as long as possible. To accelerate the receipt of your check and possibly increase your compensation, you need a personal injury attorney working for you.
Reaching a Settlement After Your Accident
After being involved in a Virginia car crash, you should immediately call a personal injury attorney. They will begin collecting evidence related to the accident and working to establish the other driver’s negligence. They will then begin the settlement process which consists of several steps, including:
- Filing a claim. Your attorney will cross-check the negligent driver’s insurance policy and then notify their carrier that you have decided to file a claim.
- Starting an investigation. Once the initial claim has been filed, your attorney will continue the investigation. They may requisition police reports and medical documents, as well as interview eyewitnesses. The investigation will also incorporate evidence of your damages such as medical expenses and lost income.
- Calculating your damages. Your attorney will not begin settlement negotiations until he knows the maximum amount you may recover. Often, this amount is not immediately obvious. While you may have a car repair estimate, a period of time with lost wages, and medical bills, you may require damages for future expenses, too. Your doctor may recommend corrective surgery, tell you take more time off work, or suggest extensive physical rehabilitation.
- Sending a demand letter. After your attorney is confident they’ve collected all the necessary evidence and calculated your damages, they will send a demand letter to the at-fault motorist’s insurance company.
- Initiating negotiations. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will almost certainly offer a lower settlement than what you deserve. Your attorney wants what is best for you, not the insurer, and will negotiate for a higher award.
If the insurance company refuses to negotiate or pay a higher settlement, your attorney may decide the best course of action is to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Often, the biggest obstacle to receiving an expedient settlement is the negotiations stage of a claim. Depending on the circumstances of your claim, you may have a check in-hand as early as three months. However, complicated cases often take longer to settle and could take years to fully resolve.
Claims can take longer to settle if they involve:
- Insufficient evidence
- Wrongful death
- Multiple defendants
- Improper or poorly-calculated claims of damages
- An uncertain medical recovery timeframe
- Catastrophic injuries
But once you, your attorney, and the insurance company agree on a settlement, you will rarely have to wait a month beyond the conclusion of a successful negation to see a check. Sometimes, it may come within a week.
Getting Started With Your Settlement
When you are physically injured, emotionally devastated, and in desperate need of assistance, you cannot afford to wait for the insurance company to take its time addressing your claim. The first step to getting paid is simple: contact a personal injury attorney immediately after your accident. Even if you are certain that the other driver was at fault, insurance companies are businesses that want to protect their profits. They may deny your claim on frivolous grounds, claim you caused the accident, or offer less money than you deserve and an amount that can’t possibly pay for your accident-related medical expenses.
Contact Us Today
The sooner you file a claim and initiate negotiations, the sooner you can get paid and start on the road to recovery. Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi can help you get the settlement you deserve. If you or a loved suffered injuries in a Virginia car accident, send us a message online to schedule your initial consultation.
Why do I need a car accident lawyer if the crash wasn’t my fault?
If you are injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may not feel you need to hire an attorney. But before you file a personal injury claim on your own and negotiate directly with the liable person’s insurance company, it’s important to understand that insurance companies operate as a business. Their ultimate goal is to pay out as little money as possible for every claim. They do not have your best interests at heart but rather their bottom line, and they’ll use many types of underhanded tactics to make sure they reduce the amount you receive.
It can be tempting for accident victims to accept the very first offer an insurance company makes, but in most cases, this will never be the amount you deserve. Working with an attorney who is experienced with car accident settlements means victims will usually recover more in damages.
What You Can Recover After a Car Accident
If you’re injured by a negligent driver, working with an experienced attorney can help ensure that you receive all the compensation you are entitled to. It’s possible to receive damages for the following:
- Medical expenses for the treatment you’re receiving and care you might need in the future
- Lost wages if you were unable to work during your recovery
- Lost potential income if you suffered a permanent disability
- Pain and suffering for the mental, physical, and psychological pain you experienced
Call Us After a Car Accident
At Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, we work with personal injury clients on a contingency basis, so you can hire us without paying anything up front. We only collect fees when you are awarded damages. Our initial review of your case is completely free, and we are happy to come to the hospital or to your home to meet with you. Protect your rights, and call us today.
Should I contact a lawyer if I suffer a broken rib injury in a car crash?
Broken rib injuries are not uncommon in Virginia car accidents. On impact, the force of the steering wheel on the chest can be strong enough to damage ribs as well as internal organs such as the lungs or spleen. This type of injury can be scary since it can also interfere with the victim’s ability to breathe. Victims need an experienced car accident attorney to help ensure they get the compensation they deserve.
Symptoms and Complications of Broken Rib Injuries
The symptoms of a broken rib might include:
- Pain in the chest area
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Painful breathing
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
It is essential that victims who suspect they have a broken rib injury seek medical treatment immediately. Rib bones that are moved out of alignment because of the force of a crash can cause life-threatening punctures and damage to the lungs, blood vessels, soft tissues, and organs. Even with moderate trauma, lung bruising and swelling can develop, requiring emergency care. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to developing pneumonia because they cannot breathe deeply or cough due to the pain of their injury.
Treatment in mild cases usually focuses on managing the pain and limiting strenuous activity. In more serious cases, patients might need a chest tube or other surgery, a blood transfusion, or artificial ventilation.
Recovering Damages After a Broken Rib Injury
An experienced car accident attorney can help you recover damages from the party responsible for the accident, including:
- Medical treatment, including treatment for complications
- Physical therapy
- Lost income during your recovery
- Pain and suffering
Call an Experienced Virginia Car Accident Attorney
When you’re injured due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve a fair recovery, but you must act quickly. If you don’t seek compensation within the two-year statute of limitations, you will miss out on obtaining damages. Please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn about your rights and how we can help your situation.
What’s the formula for determining the value of my car accident case?
Many people who are injured in a car accident want to know how much their case is worth. But there is no formula or calculator to determine the amount of damages you might receive. Instead, your compensation will be based on a number of factors, including the extent of your injuries, the quality of gathered evidence, and the expertise of your legal representation.
Understanding How Personal Injury Damages Are Determined
Some of the costs you have incurred because of your injury such as medical bills and lost income are relatively easy to prove as long as you have copies of bills and pay stubs. If you are unable to return to your job, you may receive compensation for potential income losses. These can be more difficult to prove, but it can be done with a well-presented case that includes expert witnesses.
Pain and suffering is often a significant part of your financial recovery, and the amount you receive is usually based on statistical data from the insurance company. An attorney can advocate for you by gathering relevant evidence to show how your injuries interfered with your daily life. This can include:
- Medical records
- Photographs of your injuries
- Pharmaceutical bills, particularly for painkillers
- Expert testimony from a physician about your injuries
- Testimony about changes in your behavior or ability to do everyday tasks
- Records about changes in your performance in school or work
- A journal recording when you experienced pain and mental discomfort
Contact a Virginia Car Accident Attorney
Don’t navigate the legal system alone. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you have a better chance of receiving the damages you deserve if you work with an attorney. Give us a call, or fill out our confidential contact form.
What should I do if I break my collarbone in a car accident in Virginia?
A collarbone fracture is a common car crash injury. It frequently happens when the seatbelt that saved your life by holding you in place pulls with so much force, your collarbone, also called a clavicle, simply snaps. The collarbone connects the upper part of the breastbone to the shoulder, so it is in a prime location for injury from the force of the seatbelt. Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect yours is broken.
Diagnosis and Treatment of a Clavicle Break
If your shoulder is sagging downward and forward after a crash, and you cannot lift your arm because it’s too painful, you need to see a doctor. A physician will examine the injured area and take X-rays to identify a collarbone break.
Treatment of a broken collarbone includes:
- An arm sling
- Over-the-counter pain medication
- Physical therapy as the bone heals
For more serious breaks, you might need surgery.
Your broken collarbone will likely keep you out of work for a while, but in most cases, treatment goes smoothly and you’ll be back to normal in just a few months. Sometimes, however, the following complications can prevent a smooth healing process:
- The area in the body where your collarbone is located contains many nerves and blood vessels. If you have numbness around the area, this could mean the jagged edges of the broken bone created some additional damage.
- If your bone broke through the skin in the crash, this could lead to the injury site becoming infected.
- As the collarbone fuses back together, there is sometimes a lump visible through the skin at the site. Although the lump often goes away over time, it is permanent for some people and can leave them feeling self-conscious.
Call a Virginia Car Accident Attorney
A collarbone fracture is a painful injury, but you may be able to recover damages for your medical bills, time missed from work, and other expenses. Talk to an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash. Schedule a free consultation today.
Can I recover compensation if I don’t remember the car accident?
When you are involved in a car accident, it’s not unusual to be unable to remember the crash or the moments leading up to it. This memory loss makes many accident victims wonder if they’ll be able to pursue a legal case. Chances are, you may still recover damages, although every situation is unique. Contact an accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.
Causes of Memory Loss After an Accident
Although many believe memory loss occurs because an event may have been too traumatic and the mind wants to forget, the truth is that the brain’s focus is on survival rather than creating memories. This is what is known as the “survival response.”
Additionally, head injuries are a common cause of memory loss. A blow to the head can cause a concussion, edema, a skull fracture, and/or a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Many victims experience memory loss as a result.
Filing a Claim When You Cannot Remember the Accident
Although accident victims may not be able to remember the details of the crash, they still deserve to be compensated for their injuries. With the help of an experienced attorney who can conduct a full investigation into the negligence that caused the accident, there are ways to piece together the details of the crash by gathering the following evidence:
- Medical reports
- Police reports
- Eyewitness testimony
- Videos from traffic or security cameras
- Photographs taken at the scene
Although the chaos that occurs after an accident can make it difficult to remember specific details about what happened, it’s helpful to write down whatever you can remember about the incident as soon as possible afterward.
Call Our Northern Virginia Car Accident Lawyers
If you suffered injuries because of the negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to compensation—even if you cannot remember the crash. An experienced attorney can provide assistance in helping you gather evidence to support your claim against the other driver. You may be able to recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Will my car accident compensation include chiropractic services?
If you have been injured in a car accident, you expect that your medical treatment will be paid for by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. When your treatment includes chiropractic care, you will need to prove that it is essential to your recovery to have the costs covered under your claim.
How a Chiropractor May Help With Your Injuries
Anyone who is in a car accident should receive immediate medical attention—even if they don’t think they’ve suffered any injuries. Soft tissue injuries, including backaches, neck pain, stiffness, and soreness, often don’t show up until hours or days after the crash. If your physician is unable to do much in the way of treatment other than prescribe pain pills, you might decide to see a chiropractor for these types of injuries.
Chiropractic sessions might provide the following benefits to accident victims:
- Spinal adjustments to bring the spine back into alignment, which can increase neurotransmitters and hormone levels, positively impacting the central nervous system
- Breakdown of scar tissue that can cause stiffness and soreness after an accident
- Pain control and decreased need for prescription pain medication
- Range of motion restoration, which can help with the healing process
- Management of minor injuries, so they don’t become worse or chronic
Paying for Chiropractic Care After an Accident
Medical care may be needed for a full recovery following an accident, but you will have to prove that chiropractic care is an essential treatment. Document everything, including records from your physician, as well as the following:
- A list of all symptoms
- Treatment records from your chiropractor
- How treatment has helped with your injuries
Be sure not to delay getting treatment after your accident. Waiting too long could make it more difficult to prove that your injuries were the result of the car accident. Having an experienced attorney on your side, as well as the proper medical documentation, can help you get the settlement you deserve.
Get the Full and Fair Recovery You Deserve
If you've been injured in a car accident, you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Call today to make an appointment for a free consultation.