Sleep Better at Night With Answers to Your Top Questions on Virginia Brain Injury Claims
Experiencing something as traumatic as an accident in Chesterfield County can leave your head spinning with questions and uncertainty. Get the answers you need fast in this FAQ series from Richmond brain injury attorney Kevin Mottley.
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Should I release my medical records to the insurance company after a brain injury?
Whether you were hurt in a vehicle collision, slip and fall, or some other type of accident, you can expect to deal with major medical bills and life-changing symptoms from a brain injury. To recover compensation for those costs, you will likely end up talking to the at-fault party’s insurance provider at some point. Before cutting a check, that provider will need to see proof you were injured and that the wound was caused by the accident. This is where things can get tricky and an attorney becomes an absolute necessity to get the full amount you are owed.
Why You Shouldn’t Sign a Medical Record Release
You’ve probably already heard about HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and know that it protects your personal info and prevents doctors from sharing your medical history. Because of HIPAA laws, a company like an insurance provider has to request you sign a waiver to gain access to medical documentation. They can’t simply look the information up without your permission.
Obviously, you want to prove to an insurance adjuster that you were hurt so you can receive a settlement for your injury’s costs. There’s a big catch, however. Having insurance is important to protect yourself in the event of a catastrophe, but you have to keep in mind how insurance actually operates. Insurance providers are businesses first and foremost. Just like any other type of business, their goal is to make a profit by cutting costs and spending as little money as possible.
Unfortunately, this means there are several ways an insurance adjuster may attempt to trip you up and refuse a payout you are owed. The insurance adjuster’s job is to look for reasons to reduce or deny your claim, such as by using irrelevant medical history to claim your injury occurred in the past. The same is true of social media posts and videos or pictures you upload to your personal profile. Even completely innocent family photos may be taken out of context so the insurer can argue you aren’t actually injured or aren’t as hurt as you claim.
Let Your Personal Injury Attorney Deal With the Insurance Company
The bottom line is that you should not provide a recorded statement or sign a broad release of your full medical records directly after the accident. If asked, politely decline and let the adjuster know you are consulting with your legal counsel before making any decisions.
Instead of immediately signing anything, allow your attorney to provide the details that are needed and craft a more limited release that only includes the records pertinent to the claim. If an emergency room visit for an unrelated issue years ago has no bearing on your brain injury, the insurance company simply doesn’t need to see those records. Additionally, your attorney will investigate the accident to make sure you have all the evidence you need to prove negligence and show the at-fault party is responsible for your brain injury.
Your best bet is to let a legal professional handle medical records issues for you to avoid costly mistakes. Your attorney will also negotiate with insurance so the company takes into account your full costs, like:
- Wages lost while recovering in the hospital as well as future losses if you can’t go back to work
- The intense pain and suffering often resulting from a traumatic brain injury
- Medical bills, including a hospital stay after the original accident, any medications or therapies you require, and any future surgeries or treatments that may be necessary
Finally, it’s important to understand that a traumatic brain injury attorney isn’t just there to talk to the insurance company, but also to potentially file a lawsuit to ensure the statute of limitations doesn’t expire while negotiations are ongoing.
Get in Touch With an Experienced Attorney Before Signing Anything
Always talk to a lawyer after any serious injury, especially when dealing with catastrophic issues like brain or spinal cord damage. You want someone on your side with experience in these kinds of cases to ensure your legal rights are protected. Call to set up a free consultation with The Mottley Law Firm before signing anything or providing a recorded statement to an insurer.
Are truckers always at fault for rear-end accidents?
There are certain kinds of accidents that appear to have clear-cut culprits. When a truck driver hits the back of your car, obviously they are at fault, right? Unfortunately, that question is a bit more complex than it first seems.
Determining Fault in Rear-End Truck Collisions
Like anyone on Virginia roads, truck drivers have a basic duty of care to uphold while operating a vehicle, and that includes allowing enough lead time to avoid a collision when stopping. Rear-end crashes between truckers and passenger cars are often a result of distracted driving, such as when the driver is eating, talking on the phone, fiddling with knobs, and so on.
However, that isn’t always the case. There are times where the truck that hit you isn’t responsible at all. For instance, someone else may have hit the truck first, which caused the truck to collide with the back of your vehicle.
Additionally, pursuing compensation from the actual truck driver isn’t always useful. The company that hired the driver may instead bear responsibility through negligent hiring and training practices. In some cases, the accident could have been caused by a faulty part that needs to be recalled, putting the manufacturer at fault. There are also instances where a shoddy repair job or improperly loaded cargo can cause a truck accident, leaving the maintenance or loading crews on the hook for your costs.
There’s another important catch to keep in mind. Even if the fault is extremely apparent, you still have to prove the other driver (or the employer) was negligent in order to receive the compensation you deserve. Insurance providers make money by denying claims, and truck companies don’t want to be taken to court, so both will try to find ways to avoid paying you.
An insurance adjuster may argue that you were partly at fault for the accident, which can prevent you from receiving any compensation at all. Insurance companies may also use tactics like taking social media photographs out of context to claim you aren’t as injured as you appear to offer you a lower amount than you deserve.
No matter who was ultimately responsible for the truck hitting your car, you need to contact an attorney who can fight these tactics after a rear-end collision.
What to Do After a Rear-End Collision Caused by a Truck Driver
Making your case and receiving compensation for your injury, even when it seems obvious that the truck driver was at fault, depends on gathering and properly utilizing evidence. You specifically need to acquire:
- Photos from the scene of both vehicles and the road conditions.
- Contact information from bystanders who saw the collision and can describe what occurred.
- Evidence from the trucking company itself, such as the truck’s black box as well as employment records and driver logs. Typically, your attorney will handle gathering this type of evidence.
- Police reports after law enforcement come to the scene to try to determine fault.
- Medical documentation of your injury.
That last point is particularly important when a truck strikes the back of your car because whiplash is common after a rear-end accident. Other serious injuries with life-long repercussions are possible in rear-end crashes, especially when dealing with large tractor-trailers or cargo trucks.
Symptoms of brain and spinal cord injuries frequently don’t appear immediately after the crash and can be missed if you don’t get checked out by a medical professional quickly. Documenting those injuries is critical to negotiating a full and fair settlement with the truck driver’s insurance or in pursuing compensation through a lawsuit.
Call a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney After Any Truck Accident
The most important step after any rear-end truck accident is to find a skilled attorney to investigate the crash and utilize all the available evidence to fight for your legal rights. Contact The Mottley Law Firm today to schedule a consultation. We want to hear about your accident and find out if we are the right fit to take your case.
What should I do if my child suffers a brain injury in a swimming pool accident?
It only takes an instant for an afternoon of fun in the sun to turn into a medical emergency that can change your child’s life forever. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can easily occur in accidents at the local city waterpark or at a friend’s personal backyard pool. Because children’s brains are still developing, they are at increased risk of serious, long-term repercussions when suffering a TBI.
Causes of Child TBIs in Swimming Pool Accidents
Teens and younger children may experience a traumatic brain injury from directly striking their head against the bottom or side of the pool, or from a prolonged lack of oxygen reaching the brain during a drowning incident.
In these cases, you need a skilled lawyer who specializes in brain injury cases to investigate the accident and discover the root cause of the injury. Your child’s TBI may have been caused by negligence from the pool owner, such as:
- Absence of barriers to prevent children from entering the pool unattended
- Failing to utilize proper drains and drain covers in compliance with state law
- Improper maintenance of diving boards, ladders, and areas around the pool creating slip and fall hazards
- Lack of proper warning about shallow areas, such as “no diving” signs or clear markings indicating the pool depth
- No lifeguard on duty to watch for accidents and injuries
After seeking medical attention for your child, your next step should be to go over your legal options with a traumatic brain injury attorney who has extensive knowledge of Virginia laws and statutes. You may need to seek a settlement through the property owner’s insurance or pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
Contact an Attorney Quickly If Your Child Was Hurt in a Pool
Medical costs for traumatic brain injuries in children can be astronomical, and you may be unable to return to work full time if you need to provide specialized care for your child at home. Talk to The Mottley Law Firm today so we can set up a consultation and find out more about your case. We want to help protect your child’s legal rights and ensure your family receives the compensation you deserve.
I’ve been in a rear-end accident! What should I do now?
Any rear-end collision seems like it should be an open and shut case. After all, the other driver ran into you, so they must be at-fault and it should be easy to receive compensation, right? Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, and there are still ways the insurer might deny your claim or the negligent driver can defend themselves in court.
Steps to Take After a Rear-End Collision
Rear-end crashes often result from negligent behavior like distracted driving, following too closely, or driving under the influence. For the best chance at recovering the full and fair damages you deserve, here’s what you need to do after being hit in a rear-end accident:
- Contact law enforcement. Call the police from the scene so they can conduct their investigation.
- Do not interact with the other driver beyond exchanging insurance information. They will likely try to get you to admit partial fault, and there is too much chance for an altercation, especially if the negligent driver is under the influence.
- Gather whatever evidence you can from the scene. You specifically want to take photos of the vehicles as well as the surrounding environment if issues like inclement weather may have had an effect on the accident.
- Get medical help immediately after leaving the scene. Do not wait, even if you aren’t experiencing any serious pain. You may have suffered internal injuries, and you need a record of the physical damage you suffered in the rear-end collision.
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney as quickly as possible. Your legal representative may need to investigate the causes of the collision and gather additional evidence, especially if there were multiple vehicles in the crash or in cases involving commercial vehicles.
- Follow your attorney’s advice on dealing with insurance and posting on social media. Allowing the attorney to handle communications with an insurance adjuster and keeping details of the crash off of public forums will go a long way towards ensuring you receive the full compensation you deserve.
Were You Injured in a Virginia Rear-End Crash?
Don’t wait to seek legal representation after suffering an injury. Between the statute of limitations for car crash cases and the possibility of evidence being lost or destroyed, it’s better to explore all your legal options early. Contact The Mottley Law Firm to schedule a free consultation and tell us about the specifics of your accident.
How do I know if my brain injury settlement is actually fair?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) victims often have to deal with extensive medical bills while recovering. You deserve to recover damages after suffering a TBI, but the amount offered by an insurance company may not reflect your actual costs. That’s why it’s important to have a skilled personal injury attorney who is on your side and wants to help your financial recovery.
Key Factors in the Value of Your Brain Injury Settlement
In many cases, the first settlement offer won’t actually be the full amount you deserve. Unfortunately, insurance carriers typically want to pay you as little as possible. To get a reasonable settlement, you need an attorney to handle the negotiations and accurately value the damages you can recover, which could include:
- Previous medical costs covering your hospitalization and treatments after the injury
- Additional medical costs you are likely to incur in the future, such as surgeries or long-term therapies and rehabilitation
- Out-of-pocket costs while seeking treatment for your injury
- Lost wages if you couldn’t go back to work, as well as a loss of earning potential if you were passed over for a promotion or need to find a different line of work after the accident
- Non-economic damages that have an impact on your daily life, such as pain and suffering, PTSD, permanent disfigurement, cognitive impairment caused by the brain injury, and so on
After reaching a number, your attorney can help you decide if the settlement offer is fair by comparing it to the potential value of litigation against the at-fault party while keeping in mind the potential risks and mitigating factors that may interfere with a court case.
Talk to an Attorney Before Accepting Any Settlement
Wondering what to do next and not sure how to proceed with insurance or a lawsuit? Always consult a traumatic brain injury attorney before accepting anything from the insurance carrier. Set up a free consultation so we can learn about your injury and find out if The Mottley Law Firm is the right fit for your case.
Are teen drivers always at fault for Virginia car crashes?
This question has a simple answer—no, teens aren’t always at fault—but also a more complex explanation. While younger drivers have to follow different legal rules than older adults, simply being a teenager with less experience on the road doesn’t immediately put them at fault.
Determining Fault in Accidents Caused by Teen Drivers
The state of Virginia places certain restrictions on teen drivers to reduce collisions. Anyone under 18 isn’t allowed to drive between the hours of midnight and 4:00 a.m., for instance (with a handful of exceptions like driving to work, school, or church function). Teens under the age of 18 are also only allowed a single non-family member passenger under the age of 21 while they are driving, except in cases of emergencies or when driving to a school event.
Those restrictions don’t make a personal injury case against a teenage driver or their parents immediately viable. Teens may be more likely to engage in behaviors that could put them at fault for an accident, however, like distracted driving or texting on the road.
To recover damages after a crash involving a teen driver, you need to work with an experienced Virginia attorney to show the driver was liable for the accident. After an investigation of the crash, your lawyer may prove the other party caused your injury using evidence like:
- Cell phone location data and text logs
- Eyewitness testimony
- Medical records
- Photographs of vehicle damage and conditions at the scene, like skid marks, placement of stoplights, adverse weather conditions, etc.
- Police reports or safety evaluations on the other vehicle’s condition
- Statements from the other party admitting fault
Were You or a Loved One Hurt in a Car Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a crash caused by an inexperienced teen driver, or if your teenage child was hurt in a crash caused by another driver’s negligence, you need to contact an attorney. Let us know the basic details of the accident so our Richmond personal injury lawyer can get in touch and find out more.
What exactly is a temporal lobe injury and how will it affect me?
One of four main regions of the brain, the temporal lobe is critical to both emotional response and understanding visual cues. Sitting behind the temples and crossing both the left and right sides of the brain, the temporal lobe is susceptible to damage from car accidents, slip and fall injuries, or intentional acts of violence.
How a Temporal Lobe Injury Can Impact Your Life
Because it is separated across both hemispheres of the brain, any traumatic brain injury (TBI) involving the temporal lobe can affect numerous cognitive and physical functions. A temporal lobe injury may impact:
- Automatic physical responses like feeling pain or experiencing hunger
- Basic language function such as the ability to understand what words mean
- Emotional regulation
- Retaining existing memories
- Sensory input like recognizing visual objects and interpreting sounds
Obviously, symptoms from temporal lobe injuries may have drastic repercussions on your normal daily life and your ability to work. Accident victims with this type of injury can experience severe anxiety or anger that makes it difficult to maintain personal relationships. Cognitive issues, like remembering specific faces or clearly communicating ideas while speaking, as well as the potential for severe physical symptoms like seizures, may interfere with everyday tasks.
Recovering Damages After a Temporal Lobe TBI
An attorney with a deep knowledge of Virginia personal injury law is a critical component to your recovery after any TBI. A Richmond brain injury lawyer can help by investigating the accident and gathering evidence proving a negligent party caused your injury. Through a settlement or court case, you may be able to recover damages for:
- Basic medical costs like an emergency room visit or hospital stay
- Future medical expenses for severe TBIs that require long-term therapy or surgeries
- Loss of hourly, salaried, or self-employment wages while recovering
- Losing future earning potential if the temporal lobe injury interferes with your ability to continue working
- Pain and suffering or loss of quality of life
Have you or someone you loved suffered a temporal lobe injury in an accident? Call or message The Mottley Law Firm today and tell us about your case.
How long do I have to file a car accident lawsuit in Virginia?
After experiencing the trauma of a serious car accident, your primary focus should be on your physical and emotional recovery. Virginia law does limit the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, however. The sooner you contact an experienced car crash lawyer to help with the financial side, the better off you'll be.
Understanding the Virginia Statute of Limitations for Car Crash Cases
In most personal injury cases, you have exactly two years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. If you file after that date, even if you have extremely compelling evidence that negligence caused your injury, the case will be thrown out.
That strict statute of limitations doesn’t mean the case must be resolved within two years, only that it has to be filed within that timeframe. Virginia’s statute of limitations in personal injury cases also doesn’t apply to seeking an insurance settlement. The insurance company may have a completely different deadline to keep in mind.
While in most instances the two-year deadline is ironclad, there are potential exceptions allowing lawsuits past that date. For instance, if you became disabled due to the injury and are physically or mentally unable to file a lawsuit, such as in the event of a coma or certain kinds of traumatic brain injuries, the statute may be put on hold.
In most instances, however, you should work with an attorney well in advance of the two-year deadline. Investigations take time, and you want to give your lawyer ample opportunity to:
- Calculate potential future expenses if you can’t return to work and need surgeries or further treatment down the line
- Gather evidence of the crash like eyewitness statements, police reports, insurance photos, etc.
- Prevent the at-fault party from destroying evidence before they are aware of a lawsuit, which can be a concern when dealing with an injury caused by negligent trucking companies
- Negotiate with insurance while pursuing the court case, as a settlement may be the better route to recovering damages depending on the circumstances of the accident
Were You Injured in a Virginia Car Crash?
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t wait a single day longer than necessary to begin exploring your legal options. If you were hurt in a car crash, get in touch with The Mottley Law Firm so we can learn more about your case.
How is my lost income calculated after a brain injury?
Negligent behavior can change your life forever if you suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a slip and fall or car accident. Getting back on your feet after such an accident means taking into account both physical and economic recovery. While medical costs are an important factor to keep in mind, your income itself is just as important. Your regularly monthly bills will still keep arriving even if you can’t earn a wage while recovering,
How Lost Income Is Calculated in a TBI Case
An insurance settlement or court judgment after a TBI can cover lost wages if you have to work part-time or can’t return to work in any capacity after the accident. In some instances, this amount may be a simple calculation of the number of hours missed multiplied by your hourly wage. Other cases may become more complex, however, such as if you end up having to take a lower-paying job or get passed over for a promotion.
Here’s what is specifically included in lost wage calculations:
- Self-employment income if you work from home or run your own business
- Full hourly or salaried wage if you can’t work at all
- The difference between your previous wage and current wage if you have to work fewer hours or take a pay cut at a new job
- Lost benefits, like sick and vacation days
- Missed bonuses or other perks you would have received
- Additional economic damages from lost future employment opportunities
It's fairly simple for your attorney to use pay stubs and employment records to calculate lost wages for days spent in the hospital recovering. Because traumatic brain injuries often have long-term repercussions, however, your legal team may need to go a step further to arrive at a full accounting of your future wages. Physicians, economic experts, and other witnesses might be utilized to show the full extent of your economic losses.
If You Suffered a TBI, You Need an Experienced Attorney
We want the opportunity to fight for your full recovery, and that includes lost income while you deal with the physical and emotional changes caused by a traumatic brain injury. Call or message us today to let us know the basic details of your case.
What types of trucks are commonly involved in accidents?
On any given day, a wide range of large vehicles crisscross Virginia’s streets and highways, delivering everything from garbage to gasoline to groceries. These trucks serve a necessary function, but also come with serious dangers, especially when drivers aren’t paying attention to the road or trucking companies fail to keep up with vehicle maintenance schedules.
Virginia Truck Collision Basics
Different types of truck accidents bring varying challenges and legal hurdles in discovering who is at fault and legally owes you compensation. In the Richmond area, truck accidents may involve any of these types of vehicles:
- Box trucks, typically for local or regional delivery
- Cement trucks and other road construction vehicles
- Flatbeds for hauling equipment
- Government vehicles like animal control, USPS delivery trucks, or street sweepers
- Rental trucks such as U-Haul, Penske, Ryder, etc.
- Tankers carrying liquid cargo
- Tow trucks for moving disabled vehicles
- Waste management trucks for garbage pickup or recycling
When a truck driver or employer fails to uphold their standard duty of care, crashes are bound to happen that cause serious injuries. Any of the truck types listed above are susceptible to accidents involving:
- Blindspot collisions
- Distracted or drowsy driving, especially in instances of logbook violations or improper training
- Jackknife crashes when the cab and trailer move in different directions
- Rollovers when a truck physically flips on its side
- Underride collisions when a smaller vehicle goes under the cargo bed of a truck
After an accident with any type of truck, be sure to call the police, document the scene as thoroughly as possible, and gather contact info on any eyewitnesses. Then, see a doctor to have your injuries examined.
Once you’ve attended to your medical needs, the most important next step is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A lawyer can work to determine who holds the most responsibility for your accident, whether it’s the truck driver, the company that hired them, a crew that performed shoddy repairs, or a government agency. From there, the attorney gathers and presents evidence to help you get the settlement you deserve.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
Truck accident victims can recover damages for hospital stays, surgeries, lost wages, emotional suffering, and other expenses stemming from the injury. Ready to take the next steps in your recovery? You can read our free report on Virginia personal injury cases or contact us directly to find out if we are the right firm to fight for your legal rights.