When you’ve been injured in a serious car crash, you may be confused about how to file a claim against the at-fault driver and obtain a fair settlement for damages. With the right assistance and the right preparation, you could receive the compensation you need to begin reclaiming your independence and rebuilding your life in the wake of a tragic collision.
Taking Fast Action Is Essential After a Virginia Car Crash
Automobile accidents are inherently traumatic events capable of inflicting devastating and potentially life-altering injuries. If you have been involved in a serious Virginia car crash that was not your fault, you may be struggling with physical injuries and mounting medical debt.
That’s why it’s important to hire an attorney soon after the accident.
Why Timing Matters
- Virginia has a statute of limitations for all personal injury claims. If you wait too long to file a claim, the statute of limitations could lapse, forcing the court to dismiss your case without further consideration. If that happens, you won’t be able to obtain compensation for damages. An attorney knows the statute of limitations and all the deadlines involved when filing your claim.
- The insurance company for the at-fault driver will likely contact you soon after the crash. Because they are a for-profit organization, they will likely offer a lowball settlement, knowing that your medical bills are mounting and you may be out of work during your recovery. An attorney can handle this unfair offer and work to get you the compensation you deserve.
How an Attorney Can Help With Your Claim
After a Virginia car crash, there are many ways you can benefit from obtaining legal representation. Once a lawyer has accepted your case, they will begin investigating your accident to determine how the crash happened and who’s at fault. During the initial investigation, your lawyer may collect evidence from the crash site, speak to first responders, and interview eyewitnesses, along with other things to help your claim.
Sending a Demand Letter
Your car accident attorney will help monitor your accident-related medical costs. Once you begin recovering from your injuries, your lawyer will work with you to prepare a demand letter. This letter will be sent to the at-fault motorist’s insurance company with any relevant evidence obtained during the investigation. Under most circumstances, a demand letter will establish the at-fault motorist’s legal liability and document the damages suffered by the survivor. The insurance company could respond by agreeing to the demand, negotiating a different amount, or refusing further communication.
Negotiating a Settlement
Negotiating an insurance settlement can be time-consuming. While the insurance company may be reluctant to offer accident survivors full compensation, they may play fairly if there is significant evidence to prove the at-fault motorist was negligent and caused the victim’s injuries. If, however, the insurance company refuses to negotiate, they can be taken to court.
Initiating a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If mediation doesn’t work, and your attorney and the car insurance company cannot agree on a reasonable settlement, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. When the victim takes this step and opens up the possibility of a trial, it often causes the insurance company to come to the table to negotiate and offer a fair settlement. If your case is scheduled for trial, the trial itself can last up to a week or longer. Often, the date of the trial will be changed because of the judge’s schedule, but a delay doesn’t mean you should be concerned. Trial dates are altered all the time.
Going to Trial
Because a jury trial can have an uncertain outcome, most personal injury cases are settled before trial. However, if there’s no agreement on a settlement, a trial date will be set and the case heard by a trial judge or civil jury. Each side presents evidence, examines eyewitnesses, and delivers opening and closing statements. Once the judge or jury hears from both sides, they will deliver a verdict, which could include compensation for different damages.
Contact a Virginia Car Accident Attorney Today
Car accident claims are time-sensitive. If you wait too long to contact an attorney, you could lose your legal right to a recovery, and important evidence could be lost. If you’ve been injured in a car crash, send Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC a message online, or call us at 877-652-1553 to schedule your free, no-cost consultation as soon as possible.