The time you have to file a lawsuit (known as the statute of limitations) depends on the jurisdiction in which the accident happened. In Virginia, slips and falls, auto accidents, and other types of personal injury claims generally must be filed within two years from the date of the accident. In Maryland and the District of Columbia, in most cases the time you have is three years.
Absolutely! The longer you wait, the more chances you have that evidence may be lost, something may be missed or fall through the cracks. You may also inadvertently do things that prevent you from filing a lawsuit, such as signing waivers or releases. Filing suits is not an easy process, and careful preparation is the key to a successful outcome - it is essential to have an experienced attorney help guide you.
Insurance companies are very quick to throw small amounts of money at you so that you will take it. Taking money in compensation for a personal injury claim, however, releases them from any and all liability in the future. Statistics show that people nearly always do better with the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
There is no state or local law or regulation that requires the owner of a vehicle to make a written or recorded statement to an insurance company. However, the requirement to make a statement may be part of your auto insurance policy. Refusing to give a statement if required can result in a disclaimer, meaning the insurance company refuses to assist you because of a breach of contract (your policy). This is another reason it is vital to have an attorney to advise you on these matters.
Absolutely. It is the law in almost every jurisdiction that you give the other driver your information, and they give you theirs. This includes name, address, insurance policy carrier, and policy number.
For personal injury cases, experienced lawyers work on what is referred to as a “contingent-fee basis, ” that is a percentage of the recovery. The contingent fee is sometimes referred to as the "keys to the courthouse".
Most personal injury cases are resolved before the parties have to go to court. Of those that do not settle, a large portion are resolved after preliminary motions and discovery proceedings begin.
We cannot guarantee that you will never have to go to court. It is always a possibility. We prepare every client's case as though it is going to court. But we will work very hard to resolve your case before you have to step foot into a courtroom, and if that day comes you will be well prepared for it.
Many things are considered when determining how much a case is “worth.” Among the most common factors are:
In a word, negligence. Negligence is defined as failing to exercise ordinary and reasonable care. Not all cases involve negligence. If a tree falls on your house during a storm, it may not be due to the property owner’s negligence. If a tree falls on your house because it is rotten and infested and the property owner knew about it and failed to cut it down or support it, then there may be negligence as a grounds for suit. Working through determining liability for an injury is something that should be done with a skilled, educated attorney.
A variety of considerations relate to the questions of where to file a lawsuit, but as a general proposition, these cases are generally filed where the accident or injury occurred, or where the defendant resides or does business. Attorney Joseph A. Blaszkow is licensed to practice and regularly appears in the state and federal courts throughout Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.