NORTHERN VIRGINIA CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
Virginia is a state with a lot to offer: a lot of beauty, a lot of history, a lot of roads, and a lot of people. We have a lot of people coming and going, whether for vacation or for work, and we have a significant number of car accidents on our roads. If you have been injured in a car accident in Northern Virginia, it's important that you call a lawyer right away.
Virginia laws, however, are not always clear and easy to understand, especially as they relate to car crashes. We have a shorter statute of limitations than DC and Maryland, and we have differing laws and regulations relating to 1st party coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist cases, as well! You need an experienced Virginia Personal Injury Attorney to make sure you get the compensation for your injuries that you deserve.
What Does Virginia Say About Liability in Car Accidents?
Virginia practices a legal doctrine called contributory negligence. Contributory negligence results in called the 1% rule. What that means is that if a person is found to be only 1% responsible for the incident or accident that caused that person's injuries, then that person cannot recover. This is very commonly misunderstood. For example, there is an unfortunate falsehood that pedestrians always have the right of way. That is not true! A pedestrian has to cross the street in accordance with the laws, and with due regard for other vehicles. If a pedestrian is found to just walk out into traffic, expecting that vehicles will stop, that pedestrian may be found partially liable for his or her injuries. In Virginia, this partial liability is an absolute bar to recovery.
However, if you have been involved in a car accident that was not your fault, then you can indeed pursue a case. If you have been injured as the result of someone else's negligence, you can assert your claim for all of the damages that you have sustained as a result.
What Do I Need to Prove to Have A Case or Claim?
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Northern Virginia, the first thing that we have to do is prove that the other party, or parties, is responsible for that accident. Consider that you are sitting at a red light, and all of a sudden, your car is rear-ended. In this case, whoever hit you is responsible, based upon the facts as they are presented. However, what if that car that struck you was, in fact, pushed into you by someone else? Who is liable? This is a determination that we have to reach through investigation. The sooner we can open up the file, the sooner we can begin that investigation. It is possible that just the person at the back is responsible. It is equally possible, that it could be both vehicles!
Once we prove liability (this is a determination of negligence), we then have to prove that any damages that you sustained are 1) medically reasonable and necessary and 2) causally linked to the accident in question.
How Do You Prove That The Other Person Is At Fault?
The plaintiff, the person bringing a claim or lawsuit, bears the burden of proving that the other person is at fault. The Blaszkow Legal Method Involves early and prompt investigation of our clients claims.
During our investigation, some of the things that we do are:
Reviewing the scene of the accident, to determine the possible locations of cameras, as well as the identity of witnesses
Obtaining, or at least securing the preservation of camera footage
Interviewing witnesses and taking statements, sometimes under oath via affidavit
Investigating the Defendant individually, to see what factors may have attributed to the accident, such as work performance, intoxication, etc.
Investigating the Defendant’s insurance coverage, to see where potential recovery can be obtained
Interfacing with responding law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and EMS crews
What Happens If the Injuries Are Severe in the Car Accident?
Virginia car accidents can sometimes result in serious injuries, and catastrophic injuries. When this happens, we assign dedicated staff to open up these files and investigate the matter. Insurance companies are usually willing to settle smaller value cases to prevent them from going to litigation. However, in severe and catastrophic injury cases, more often than not, the insurance company wants to litigate, to try to run up as many expenses for the plaintiff as possible, to try to deter other plaintiffs from filing suits. We develop a case with an eye towards trial from the minute you sign up with us. This way, we are never caught unawares by the insurance companies’ dastardly tricks.
During our client’s treatment, we also gather all of the medical records together as they happen, so that we are continually aware of our clients status. It is important to determine what is related to a client's case, and what is not.
What if Someone Died as the Result of a Virginia Car Accident?
If someone died in a Virginia car accident, the family may pursue a wrongful death claim against the at fault party, or parties. Sometimes this is an individual driver, and sometimes it is a company that that driver worked for, or that otherwise is responsible for the incident.
A wrongful death action is a complicated proceeding that requires the appointment of an administrator of the deceased persons estate by the court. Generally, you want this to be done as soon as possible. Obviously, you are grieving the loss of a loved one, so let our compassionate team handle the stresses of preserving your rights for when are ready to get justice for your family.
What About the Property Damage claim?
Most attorneys do not get involved in regular property damage claims, without an injury being involved. The reason for this is because property damage is on a dollar for dollar basis. So if your car suffered $5000 worth of damage, and you get an attorney involved, you still have to pay the attorney, and you still have a $5000 repair bill. There is no additional money to pursue for attorneys fees.
However, we do give our car accident clients guidance for property damage when we represent them for their injury case.
Diminished value cases are different. Diminished value is the difference between the pre accident value of a vehicle, and the post accident, post repair value of that vehicle. This is a separate claim under the law, and if you are driving a newer model vehicle, an antique, or sometimes an electric vehicle, and the diminished value is such as to justify getting an attorney involved, we are able to help with these cases.
When Should I Hire A Lawyer For a Virginia Car Accident?
We tell our clients to call us right away. Even if you think it is not a case that we would take, we are happy to talk to you about it, and at least point you in the right direction. The sooner you speak to an attorney, the better off you will be. What you need to remember is that the insurance companies are not on your side, nor are they very good neighbors. Insurance companies work for their stockholders, whereas an attorney, even for a consultation, is only looking out for your best interest.
This includes your own car insurance company! To many people that may seem strange, but it's true. If you are in a car accident, for example, and the other person tells you that they have Progressive, you just accept that they indeed do have Progressive. But what if when you call Progressive, they tell you that that policy was cancelled two months ago? Now you have an uninsured motorist case. This case is asserted through your own car insurance policy, through the uninsured motorist coverage that you have available. Where once your insurance company was on your side, now they are fighting against you to reduce the amount of money that they are going to have to pay.
Always call Blaszkow Legal before speaking to an insurance company: 703-879-5910
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim? Is a Lawsuit Different?
In any state, the amount of time that you have to file a lawsuit is called the statute of limitations. In Virginia, for any kind of personal injury claim, the statute of limitations is 2 years. (1) This means that within two years of the date of the accident, you must file a lawsuit in a court of competent jurisdiction, either the general District Court or the Circuit Court.
You may file a claim with an insurance company at anytime between the happening of the accident, a statute of limitations. However, if you file the claim after the statute of limitations, and you have not preserved the statute by filing a lawsuit, the insurance company will automatically deny your claim, because the only way to enforce your rights through a lawsuit, is no longer viable.
Diminished value claims are a little different, as they are recognized as a kind of property damage claim. The statute of limitations for property damage is 5 years.
Is The Statute of Limitations the Only Deadline I Need to Worry About?
In Virginia, we are home to a lot of federal agencies and federal offices, and federal employees drive a multitude of vehicles – marked and unmarked – throughout the Commonwealth. If one of them causes an accident, the claim is governed by a federal law called the Federal Tort Claims Act.
This law, also called the FTCA, does permit the filing of a claim within 2 years of the date of the incident. However, if you submit your claim early, the federal agency involved has 6 months to respond to the submitted claim. This does not mean that if you file the claim after 20 months, that you have 26 months to file your lawsuit! Always call Blaszkow Legal for guidance in a Virginia car accident caused by a federal employee – 703-879-5910
Where Does Medical Expense Coverage Come Into Play in the Accident Case?
Medical Expense Payments coverage, called Med pay, is a kind of first party benefit available to you from your own car insurance policy, if you have elected that coverage. This coverage assists you in repaying your expense for medical bills and other treatment that you have incurred as a result of your Virginia car accident.
However, you have to be aware of important pitfalls, because very few people and companies have any obligation to tell you the truth, or to tell you what your rights are under the law. For example, when you go into the hospital, and you are waiting to see the doctor, often you will be visited by someone from patient registration. As soon as that person knows that you are in an accident, they want all of the information about the car accident, including your car insurance period the reason they want this is so that they can try to bill your car insurance for your medical care, instead of your health insurance!
The medical providers do this because when you use your health insurance, they have negotiated rates which are much lower than normal. Of course the hospital and the businesses want to get as much money into their own pockets as possible, so they will try to go around the health insurance. They are actually not permitted to do this! It is a direct violation of Virginia law (2). But the hospital will not tell you that. This is why you need an experienced and aggressive Virginia car crash lawyer to represent your rights. We fight for you, not the hospital.
What should happen is that the hospital submits its bills to the health insurance provider. Your attorney's office will take those bills, and also submit them to the Med pay carrier, and get those monies reimbursed to you!
Should I Try to Negotiate With the Insurance Company First, Before Calling A Lawyer?
The insurance companies are hoping that you will do exactly that. As we said, an insurance company has no duty to tell you what you are allowed to claim. You claim whatever you think you can, and they will often fall over themselves to pay for whatever you think your damages are. The insurance companies are betting on the fact that you don't want to get an attorney involved. Make no mistake, the insurance companies do not want you to get an attorney.
One of the main reasons for this, is that a car accident law firm, we know what you are allowed to claim! If you had to pay a copay of $1000 at the hospital, the insurance company may be very quick to offer you $5000! You then think that this is a good offer, because you are walking away with so much money in your pocket. The problem is that you are entitled to claim the full cost of the emergency room service, not just what you had to pay out of your pocket. The hospital charged X, the health insurance carrier paid Y, you paid Z, and the hospital wrote off the rest. The car insurance company does not have to tell you that. Additionally, they do not have to tell you that you may in fact be waiting for more bills in the mail! Generally when you go to an emergency room, there is one bill for the emergency room itself, another bill for the emergency room physicians group, and a third bill for the radiologist who reads the X-ray or CT scans or MRI 's.
Always always always call an attorney before you talk to an insurance company!
What If My Accident Is Not Car versus Car?
We handle many types of collison cases:
Call A Knowledgeable Virginia Car Accident Lawyer Today!
When you have to have an attorney, you hope that you have a good one. With Blaszkow Legal, you have a good team of attorneys and staff who are fighting every minute of the day to get you the compensation that you deserve, for the injuries that you suffered. It is our job to get justice for you, and your loved ones. Don't settle for less.
When you hire the Alexandria Injury Attorney, you receive a team on your side who has fought for clients throughout Virginia, all over Maryland, and in DC. We fight in local courts, appellate courts, and federal courts for all of our clients. There is no case too big for our experienced team to handle! Call us today for a Free Consultation – 703-879-5910
Remember – just like the commercials say, we don't get paid unless you collect money. Get Justice with Joe!