FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT VIRGINIA CAR ACCIDENTS
If you have been involved in a car accident, you have many questions - here are the most common questions, and their answers! If you have a question that isn't listed here, call or email us!
The car insurance company said that liability was "50-50." Do I still have a case?
Car insurance companies talk amongst themselves, and make the best decisions for themselves, not always for their insureds. Always talk to an attorney after a Virginia car accident, because the insurance companies work for their stockholders - a car accident lawyer works for you!
Depending on the facts of the case, however, the answer may ultimately be no. Virginia, just like Maryland and Washington, DC is a contributory negligence state. This means that you, the person who wants to bring a claim for your injuries, cannot have been in any way responsible for an accident. This is sometimes called "strict liability" or the "1% rule." This is very different from the laws in other states.
What damages can I claim after a Virginia car accident?
If you have been injured in an accident that wasn't your fault, you are allowed to claim your "damages." Damages is a term used by the legal professional to encompass all of the ways that the accident has impacted your file: physically, emotionally, and financially. Some of the most common elements of damages include:
Pain and suffering
Future medical expenses
Future lost wages
Loss of earning capacity
Other property damage/loss
The other driver's car insurance company has offered me an immediate settlement. Should I take it?
NO!!!!!!!!! A thousand times no! Insurance companies will usually make an immediate offer to settle your case, but this tactic is very dangerous - to you. Once you settle a case, you waive any future claims, even if you don't know that you have them. Also, remember that insurance companies have no duty to tell you what you can claim, or what the law is.
Example: you've been in a car accident, went to the hospital, and now they're offering your $10,000. Sound good?
In this scenario, it only sounds good. You have a claim for the full price of your medical treatment, not just what you paid! Also, do you need other medical treatment? Did the MRI show something that needs to be evaluated and treated? What about the time you missed from work?
Early settlement offers prejudice you, the injured person. Always call an experienced Virginia car accident lawyer before you accept any settlement offer - or, more ideally, before you talk to an insurance company!
Should I give a statement to the insurance company?
Insurance companies will often ask you to submit to a recorded statement. This is done over the phone. Always remember that anything you say can and will be used against you by the insurance companies.
Virginia is a contributory negligence state, so if you say something that they can construe as an admission that you were partly to blame, then can - and will! - attack and deny your claim.
Can I get benefits from my own car insurance and still go after the at-fault driver?
Absolutely. Virginia car insurance policies may have Medical Expense Payments coverage, or Medpay. Unfortunately many people don't have this coverage. You may file both a first-party claim AND a third-party claim, against the person who caused the accident.
Can I file a claim if I was in a Virginia car accident while at work?
If you have been hurt at work, you need to report the accident to your employer immediately. This ensures that you meet of all of your requirements to file a Virginia Worker's Compensation claim. However, you may have a third-party liability claim, too. In order to have both claims, the accident has to have been caused by someone who is not affiliated with your employer. For example, if you are a UPS Driver, and are hit by another UPS Driver, then no. But if you are a UPS Driver who is hit by, say, a Fedex Driver, then yes!
Will the other side pay for my medical treatment?
This a common misconception, leading to alot of misunderstandings. You may claim your medical treatment as part of your damages, but the at-fault carrier doesn't "pay" for them, per se.
How long do I have to file a claim after a car accident in Virginia?
You never want to wait to speak to an attorney after a car accident. Delaying speaking to an attorney, and opening up a claim, can be disastrous - after all, if evidence is not located and preserved, such as camera footage, it can be lost forever. Insurance companies want you to wait, but that is never in your best interest.
Virginia considers injury-causing car accidents to be personal injury claims. All personal injury lawsuits have to be filed within 2 years of the date of the accident.
However, there are other deadlines to remember: what if the accident was caused by, say, a County or City vehicle? There are "notice" deadlines that have to be filed, which may be as short as 6-months from the accident! If "notice" is not sent properly and on-time, your claim may be defeated on procedural grounds.
How much is my Virginia car accident case worth?
There is no way to answer that question without evaluating your case comprehensively, because every person is different. Also, there's no way to guess before you are done with treatment, because one of the largest "drivers" of your damages are your medical expenses. You should run away from any lawyer who says "I will get you X" only moments after you walk through the door.
We evaluate every case individually, and on its own merits. Please bear in mind that two people may have been in the same accident, in the same car, and have vastly different cases!