Auto accidents can transform your life. Throughout Virginia, these incidents are a significant cause of serious injuries and accidental deaths. Even minor crashes can result in expensive repairs to vehicles, hospital treatment, and permanent injuries. Stress and financial costs linked to automobile accidents can escalate out of hand very quickly. Without proper representation, you may find yourself in a dead-end situation.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious car accident or you are just curious how the laws will impact your claim for property damage or personal injuries and what you need to do if you are involved in a car accident in Virginia, keep reading this guide prepared by one of our Kalfus & Nachman PC experts to help you prepare for such a dangerous incident before you get involved.
Understanding Virginia Auto Accident Laws
It is not as simple to recover damages in the State of Virginia after a car accident as it is in other jurisdictions. The first move is to show that the other driver was "at fault" for the accident that happened, which suggests that the injuries you sustained would be responsible for them.
Also, you have to demonstrate that the other driver or person involved was fully to blame. The contributory negligence rule applies in Virginia, which states that you can only recover damages if the court determines that you were not, in any way, liable for the accident in which you were involved.
What needs to be done after an auto accident in Virginia right away?
- Seek Medical Assistance - Get emergency medical treatment if it's appropriate for you or someone else involved in the accident. This entails real or suspected head injury, injuries to the spine, injuries to the back, broken bones, severe loss of blood, severe lacerations, or internal injuries. Remember, lack of medical attention can exacerbate minor injuries. You may also have injuries and not know them because the body releases adrenaline in times of stress, such as when you're in an accident. Right after the crash, you cannot feel the injuries.
- Calling the police - Calling the police remains a wise decision, even though there aren't any significant injuries. Having the police come to the scene is the perfect way for the insurance provider to obtain accident reports. Leave them where they are before the police arrive unless vehicles block traffic.
- Take pictures - This is a moment when you can take as many pictures as possible with your mobile phone of the accident scene and vehicle impact. Ask someone else at the scene to do it for you if you're not well and unable to do so. Take photographs of these as well, if you have noticeable injuries.
- Exchanging Information - You should have the name, address, and telephone number of all those involved in the accident, including the driver, witnesses, and passengers. Ask the other drivers about their insurance policy so that the details can be copied or a photo of the report can be taken. It would also be useful to get contact information while at the scene from any witnesses.
- Auto Accident Reporting - If you have been involved in a car accident in Virginia and have been injured or damaged your vehicle, then Virginia Code § 46.2-894 requires you to report the accident to the state or local authorities. In addition to being required by law, you and your future injury claim will be better covered promptly by filing a report following an accident.
You will find it more difficult to recover the money you need to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other accident-related losses without an official accident report.
- Consulting an Attorney - This remains the most important step. Cases of car accidents can be difficult to handle, and the best interests are not taken into consideration by any of the parties. Protecting your rights and consulting with a professional auto accident lawyer is one of the most important things you will do following an accident.
Am I entitled to seek damages after a car accident in Virginia?
When attempting to assess the overall harm you suffered in a car accident, you should note that both non-economic and economic damage can be recovered. Costs such as missed income, medical bills, and vehicle repairs, include some of the forms of the recovery you will receive. In certain cases, punitive damages can also be recoverable. There are damages that, such as a drunken driver, have the sole function of punishing the individual at fault.
If you're ever involved in a car accident in the state of Virginia that was not your fault, then hiring a car accident attorney for assistance is a smart idea.
Dealing with the Insurance Companies
The insurance companies will offer you a settlement that does not account for the full extent of your damages if you let them handle your car accident claims. In most situations, after you have had the appropriate emergency medical treatment and before you have spoken to the insurance provider, we suggest hiring a car accident lawyer. If an adjuster gives you a call, he'll usually try to trip you up and get you to say stuff you shouldn't. It's the objective of the insurance adjuster to get you as little as possible to settle your claim so that the insurance firm can increase its profits. It is possible to misconstruct and use everything you say to the insurance provider against you. You can make a mistake and not realize it, either.
Timeframe for Bringing a Lawsuit
Virginia has a limited statute of limitations timeframe in Virginia, and that's the time limit that the law says you have to file a case to protect your claim. The claim must be brought in writing, in court, within the two years from the date of the accident in general. You have five years from the date of the accident to file whether there was damage to a car or other property. The statute of limitations is two years from the date of the person's death if the accident resulted in someone's death.
The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner an attorney will begin gathering facts and negotiate to cover your damages with the insurance provider.
Should I Hire Virginia's Car Accident Attorney?
If you've just been involved in a car accident, then you might be thinking about whether or not you should hire a car accident lawyer. You may be able to seek compensation for the injuries that you might have suffered if you are involved in a major accident. You will get the compensation you deserve with the support of a competent lawyer because he or she has experience working with these types of cases and knows how to handle insurance companies.
You can also contact one of our attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman PC to handle your auto accident case. Our attorneys have the resources, power, and experience to make sure the client gets the best outcome for their case.