Frequently Asked Questions About Virginia Car Accidents
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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.
What happens if I’m the victim of a road rage accident with an aggressive driver?
Most drivers have seen aggressive drivers on the road. Aggressive driving is any behavior that is intended to harass, intimidate, or injure another driver. Aggressive driving can become even more dangerous with the driver exhibits “road rage” which is considered a serious criminal matter because the driver who is overcome by road rage ultimately hurts someone else. That driver may wield a weapon, run into the other driver’s car, or try to corner the other driver by jumping out of his car to physically confront him.
If you suffer an injury in an accident with an aggressive driving or someone engaging in road rage, they may face criminal charges. You may also file a civil case against the driver to recover damages.
Behaviors That Constitute Reckless or Aggressive Driving in Virginia
Most people know the signs of reckless or aggressive driving. These include:
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Failing to stop or yield the right-of-way when appropriate
- Driving outside of marked lanes
- Making unsafe lane changes
- Cutting off other drivers or preventing them from entering the roadway
- Passing illegally
Aggressive driving with the intent to injure another driver is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. Penalties can include fines and jail time (no longer than 12 months). If no one is injured in an aggressive driving incident, the charge might be a Class 2 misdemeanor. Offenders may also be required to participate in an aggressive driving program.
Filing a Civil Claim After a Road Rage Accident
Whether or not the at-fault driver is been charged with a misdemeanor in an aggressive driving incident, you can still file a personal injury lawsuit if you suffered injuries during the accident. You will have to show that the other driver violated one or more of the offenses listed in the Virginia Code, and the driver had the intent to harass, intimidate, or injure another person.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
Your chances of making a fair recovery of damages after a road rage accident is better with the help of an experienced lawyer. Your lawyer can help deal with the complexities of a complicated aggressive driving case, including police investigators, eyewitnesses, insurance companies, medical expenses, and in some cases, wrongful death.
Please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn about your rights and to discuss the details of your case.
Does Virginia place a cap on car accident damages?
If you are injured because of a car crash that involved someone else’s negligence, suing the other driver can help cover your costs for mounting medical bills and lost income. In the state of Virginia, however, a damage cap may place a limit on how much you can recover.
The Definition of a Damage Cap
When you sue someone after being injured in a car accident, you are usually seeking compensation for economic and non-economic damages. With a damage cap, this will limit the amount of money you’re awarded. Damage caps are put in place to avoid large-payout verdicts that jurors sometimes make based on emotion and negatively impact the economy.
In Virginia, certain damage caps may limit the amount of compensation you can recover in your case. If punitive damages are a consideration in your situation (which happens only in rare cases), this means the at-fault driver is found to have acted in a reckless or outrageous way that is deserving of punishment. Damages are capped at $350,000. If your accident involved a minor who damaged your property, you will only be able to collect $2,500 from their parents.
Types of Damages You Might Get in a Car Accident Case
Some of the economic damages you might be able to recover include:
- Cost for car repairs
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
Non-economic damages can be tougher to estimate, and these can include pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
The best way to ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your damages is to work with an experienced car accident attorney.
Our Fairfax Car Accident Lawyers Can Help With Your Injury Case
Virginia is one of a few states that applies a standard known as “contributory negligence.” This means that accident injury victims who are found to have contributed to the accident in any way—even if they are deemed just one percent at fault—they may not be able to recover damages. It’s crucial that you work with an attorney who has experience with this type of challenging case. Contact the law firm of Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.