Frequently Asked Questions About Virginia Car Accidents
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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.
How does a medical lien affect my car accident claim?
A lien is a security interest placed by one party against another party’s property. For example, if you borrow money to buy a car, the bank places a lien on the title until the loan is paid in full. This means, you cannot sell the car until you’ve paid off the loan and the bank releases the lien.
Medical liens are similar, but instead of loaning money, medical care providers treat an injured party without getting paid right away, retaining the right to be paid for those services with a lien. The lien in this case is against the settlement money from your personal injury case. A healthcare provider agrees to treat you in exchange for your agreement to pay the provider once your personal injury claim has been resolved.
Medical Liens Make Personal Injury Claims More Complicated
This type of a lien is often unavoidable because injured people need immediate treatment, and that treatment is often expensive. Incurring a lien on a personal injury claim makes resolving your personal injury claim a bit more complicated. The final lien amount has to be double-checked to ensure it covers only treatment that was related to the accident.
There may be room for negotiation of the final amount owed if the claim amount is insufficient to fully compensate you for your injuries. In most situations, a personal injury attorney will try to negotiate with healthcare providers to get them to accept less than the amount of the lien.
Call Us for Help
Lien law is extremely complicated, and most people will find it difficult to navigate without the assistance of an attorney. Please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn about your rights and to discuss the actions we can take on your behalf to protect the recovery you deserve. We work on a contingency fee basis. This means, you won’t owe us any upfront legal fees, and we will be paid when your case is settled or resolved in court. To learn more, please call, or contact us through our website.
Can I get compensation for PTSD after a car accident?
Car accident victims can suffer a wide variety of injuries in a crash. Physical injuries may be fairly easy to diagnose; however, for victims and their families, there may be emotional consequences that can be more difficult to identify. While not as tangible as a physical injury, the stress, worry, and depression that victims face are just as real. Emotional trauma can have a significant impact on daily life, and victims deserve care and compensation for these injuries just as they would any medical condition. It’s not uncommon for an accident victim to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What Is PTSD?
PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can be experienced by a person who has witnessed or been involved in a traumatic event, including a serious car accident. Symptoms of PTSD can begin soon after the triggering event or may not appear for years. Commonly, these symptoms include:
- Intrusive memories. These memories can occur as upsetting nightmares or simply unwanted, pervasive thoughts related to the accident.
- Avoidance. Accident victims may try to avoid people or places that remind them of the accident. Others may try not to feel anything at all—a behavior referred to as emotional numbing.
- Negative thoughts. These negative changes can manifest as hopelessness, lack of interest in typical activities, feelings of detachment, memory changes, and negative thoughts about oneself or others.
- Changes in physical and emotional reactions. People suffering from PTSD often have trouble controlling their reactions to different situations. This can mean being easily startled or frightened, feeling constant fear, being irritable, having angry outbursts, engaging in dangerous behaviors, and having difficulty concentrating.
Obtaining Compensation When You Suffer From PTSD
Suffering from PTSD can make life extremely difficult. Accident victims who experience PTSD may have trouble maintaining their jobs, and they can require a significant amount of care from a medical professional. This disorder can manifest itself in different ways for different people, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and find the best treatment options for your unique situation.
After a crash, it is possible to obtain compensation for PTSD through a personal injury claim, but victims should know that proving claims of PTSD can be challenging. Victims must show that they truly suffer from this disorder and demonstrate its impact on their lives. Testimony and the opinions of experts in the field would likely be necessary to:
- Prove that the victim does suffer from PTSD specifically
- Prove that the PTSD is, in fact, related directly to the car accident in question
- Explain the prognosis and consequences of the PTSD on the victim’s life both now and likely in the future.
The American Psychological Association names car accidents as one of the leading causes of PTSD in the U.S. Given the extremely personal nature of the disorder, however, it can be difficult to determine how much compensation should be awarded. An experienced attorney can help accident victims and their families understand their rights, as well as prepare a comprehensive claim with ample, effective evidence. Our Fairfax lawyers understand how difficult life can be following a car accident, and we have helped many victims obtain the compensation they need to recover as fully as possible. Call our office today, or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to learn more about how we may be able to help.