Sleep Better at Night With Answers to Your Top Questions on Virginia 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 injury attorney Kevin Mottley.
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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:
- Blind spot 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 for More Info
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.
How long do I have to file a truck accident case in Virginia?
In most Virginia accidents involving a commercial cargo vehicle or a large passenger truck, you have exactly two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Filing against a negligent truck driver or trucking company after that date will almost certainly result in losing out on your legal right to recover damages. You need to act quickly because the negligent party can simply file a motion to dismiss after two years, and your case will most likely be tossed by the court.
Why Prompt Action Is Key
There are some extremely rare exceptions that can extend the two-year time frame, such as if the negligent party flees the state to avoid appearing in court, but in general you shouldn’t wait until the deadline before filing. There are more reasons to act quickly than just racing against the statute of limitations.
You want to get an attorney’s assistance as soon as possible to prevent crucial evidence in your case from being intentionally destroyed or unintentionally tossed out by the trucking company, for instance. The sooner you retain legal counsel to investigate your accident, the easier it will be for your attorney to obtain compelling evidence showing what specifically caused the accident, such as:
- Black box data from the truck
- Employment records
- Maintenance schedule information
- Physical evidence like tire skid marks and photos of the scene
- Statements from eyewitnesses
Victims with severe physical injuries may consider waiting to file a lawsuit until they are further along in their recovery and the full medical costs associated with the accident are clear. This isn’t necessary, however, and there’s no actual benefit to waiting. Even if you have persistent medical costs, such as expecting additional surgeries in the future or ongoing therapy sessions, you should still file as soon as possible. Future medical expenses, as well as the loss of future earning potential if you can’t work, can be calculated as part of a settlement or judgment from a court.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
Talk with an attorney as soon as you can after a truck crash to get the information you need and protect your legal rights to compensation. If you or someone you love was injured by a negligent truck driver, talk to The Mottley Law Firm so we can determine your best course of action before the statute of limitations expires.
I was injured in an accident with a drunk driver. Should I file a car accident claim?
Crashes caused by a driver who was drunk or under the influence of narcotics can be some of the most devastating, with major injuries or even fatalities frequently involved. While you have legal rights to recover damages after getting hit by a drunk driver, the system doesn’t always work in your favor. That’s especially true if you don’t have a legal professional in your corner.
You Need an Attorney to File a Claim After a DUI Crash
Even if the Commonwealth of Virginia brings a criminal case against the drunk driver, that case won’t help with your costs after the collision. From broken bones to traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord damage, your medical expenses are likely significant after a DUI collision. Those costs can be astronomical before even taking into account factors like loss of wages if you need time to recover before returning to work.
That’s why you absolutely need to seek an insurance settlement or a personal injury case against the at-fault party. There’s a catch here, though, and it’s an important one you need to know about ahead of time. Negotiating with insurance can be tricky, even when fault is incredibly obvious, like in the case of a drunk driver. Unfortunately, your insurance carrier only makes money if they pay out less than they bring in, so the adjuster will likely attempt to get you to admit partial fault or find a way to deny your claim. That problem is easier to overcome with an attorney’s assistance.
In addition to the costs of your medical treatment and loss of wages, a drunk driving case may feature punitive damages that can significantly increase your monetary award. These damages are intended as a punishment for reckless behavior that resulted in injury.
For the best shot at recovering full damages, an attorney needs to gather and present the necessary evidence either to the insurance company or to a jury. That evidence is needed to prove negligence on the part of the drunk driver, as well as to showcase the full amount of compensation you are legally owed.
Let an Attorney Help You Hold the Drunk Driver Responsible
Were you hurt in a crash with a drunk driver, or did a close loved one die in the collision? Get in touch with a personal injury attorney with experience in DUI cases. Call us today or send a message through our online form so we can start determining the best next steps for your case.
How badly do I need to be hurt to call a car accident lawyer?
After a car crash caused by negligence, you have the legal right to pursue compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. Not every single vehicle collision requires an attorney, however.
If your crash only resulted in property damage or minor physical pain, insurance may take care of the situation. If you’ve been more seriously hurt, working with a lawyer may be in your best interest.
Car Crash Injuries That Warrant Contacting an Attorney
If there’s no physical injury at all in a car crash, there’s usually no need to contact an attorney. Here’s the catch though—you may have internal injuries that aren’t visible and can cause serious problems in the future.
If you’ve been in an accident, even one that seems minor, always see a doctor as soon as possible. After visiting a doctor, you may need the help of an experienced personal accident lawyer if you suffered:
- Broken bones
- Emotional damage like PTSD, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, etc.
- Soft tissue damage
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
In short, you should probably contact a lawyer if your injury required seeing a specialist, any kind of surgery was involved, or long-term rehabilitation is needed. An attorney can also be extremely helpful if you suffer constant pain and discomfort that requires changing your daily schedule or prevents you from returning to work.
How an Attorney Helps After a Car or Truck Accident
If your injury is serious enough that professional legal help is worthwhile, an attorney can investigate the accident to determine who is specifically at fault. It may not always be the other driver, and there may be situations where multiple people share fault, which can complicate your case.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will also help by determining a full and fair monetary value to your losses based on medical bills, out-of-pocket costs, future treatments, and loss of wages. Even if you don’t end up taking the negligent party to court, an attorney can also help if your insurance carrier attempts to deny your claim or offers a far lower amount than you are actually owed.
Do You Need Help After a Virginia Car Crash?
Were you injured in a crash and think you might need an attorney to seek compensation? Start a live chat or send a message through our online form to schedule a free case evaluation.
My child was hurt in a car accident. What should I do?
No parent ever wants to experience the terror of learning their child has been in a serious car accident. Unfortunately, the frequency of vehicle crashes on Virginia roads makes this scenario a distinct possibility. If your child is injured in a collision, there are actions you need to take in both the short and long term to protect their legal rights.
Steps to Take After Your Child Is in a Car Crash
After calling 911 to alert emergency medical personnel and law enforcement, make sure to take these steps as soon as possible:
- Document the accident with photographs if you are at the scene with your child, and speak with witnesses to gather their contact information in case they need to answer questions or testify in court at a later time.
- Let an attorney handle all communication with insurance. Do not provide them with any kind of statement, as your words may be used against you to deny your child’s claim.
- Seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your best method for receiving the full compensation your child is owed, which may require taking an at-fault driver to court.
- Take your child to see a doctor, even if they don’t visibly seem hurt or complain of any serious pain. Internal wounds, traumatic brain injuries, nerve damage, and other medical issues aren’t always immediately apparent and can have drastic effects on your child’s life.
Claims Involving Children Can Be Complicated
While minors under the age of 18 have a legal right to compensation, they are unable to file lawsuits in Virginia on their own. That means you as the parent or guardian must handle this aspect of their recovery on their behalf.
You need a legal professional on your side to anticipate and handle issues that may complicate your child’s case, such as if the accident occurred in a rideshare vehicle, was caused by a negligent trucking company, or if multiple cars were involved in the collision.
With the help of a lawyer, your child may be able to recover damages for medical costs like hospital stays, surgeries, medication, and rehabilitative therapy. A car crash can also create an impact on their life beyond just the initial injuries, and an attorney can help you seek compensation for their pain and suffering, as well as the potential loss of future wages.
Our Personal Injury Attorney Can Help Your Child
Reach out through our online contact form and we’ll get in touch to find out if we can help you during this difficult time. Your family deserves the best legal representation possible, and we want to help while your child recovers.
How can I find out what caused my truck accident?
Any crash can be devastating, but truck accidents in particular often cause severe property damage, serious injuries with high medical bills, and long periods where you may not be able to work. Determining the primary cause of your truck accident, and whether the fault is shared between parties, is critical to recovering damages.
Proving the Cause of Your Virginia Truck Accident
Unfortunately, the direct cause of the collision may not be immediately clear. That is often the case when a victim is seriously injured and needs to be taken to the hospital before speaking with the driver or responding officers. While police on the scene will initially attempt to determine fault, the investigation needs to go deeper than that to prove negligence and protect your legal right to compensation.
An attorney with experience handling Virginia truck collision cases knows what evidence to look for, what questions to ask, and how to interact with insurance companies for the best outcome. A personal injury lawyer can sift through police reports, driving records, medical documentation, employer data, and other sources to determine if the crash was caused by:
- Distracted driving
- Texting while driving
- Drowsy driving due to logbook violations or improper scheduling
- A medical issue experienced by the truck driver
- Failure to yield, speeding, aggressive driving or other traffic violations
- Intoxicated driving
- Mechanical failure
Discovering the root cause of the crash is important because it lets you know who bears responsibility and should be pursued for damages. In some cases, the accident may not actually be the truck driver’s fault.
If the crash was caused by mechanical failure, for instance, the fault may instead lie with the trucking company for failing to repair the vehicle, a maintenance crew for shoddy repairs, or even the part manufacturer for producing a faulty product. Improper hiring and training practices may also place liability with the parent company rather than the actual driver.
Contact an Experienced Richmond Personal Injury Attorney
Were you injured in a truck crash? We can help negotiate with the trucking company’s insurance for the full amount you are owed or pursue the case in court if necessary. Call The Mottley Law Firm or send us a message through our online form today to get more information.
How are pain and suffering damages calculated after a car accident?
When someone is injured by a negligent driver, they are entitled to recover damages for quantifiable expenses like medical bills, out of pocket costs, car repairs, or loss of income. There are other, less tangible problems associated with car crash injuries that may not be physically visible but still require monetary compensation. The specific amount is calculated by an insurance adjuster offering a settlement, or by a jury if a case needs to go to court.
Specifics of Pain and Suffering Calculations
Unlike lost wages where you can point to pay stubs and find an exact amount to be paid, there isn’t necessarily a specific dollar amount tied to physical or emotional pain and suffering. The amount can vary depending on how strongly the case is presented. To receive the full, fair compensation you are owed, you need a personal injury attorney to show that you experience issues such as:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Emotional distress like frequent anger, anxiety, or fear
- Inability to engage in physical activities
- Loss of appetite or energy
- Mental anguish or depression
- Additional detrimental effects of an injury, such as embarrassment from disfigurement
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sexual dysfunction
These ongoing problems may occur after suffering nearly any type of injury in a car crash, but are especially common in cases where the collision caused a traumatic brain injury, which often results in a number of emotional and cognitive difficulties.
Why You Need a Lawyer to Help Calculate Your Pain and Suffering Damages
No matter what specific type of injury you suffered in the car accident, the at-fault party and insurance carriers will likely attempt to reduce or outright deny any payment you are owed. That’s why you need a lawyer to be directly involved.
For instance, an insurance company may attempt to claim issues like ongoing pain or PSTD were caused by other incidents in the past. With an attorney’s help, you can ensure only relevant medical records are released and previous injuries aren’t used against you.
A personal injury lawyer can additionally utilize sources such as journal entries, calendars of missed events you had planned on attending, and expert testimony from health professionals to help calculate pain and suffering compensation.
Get The Personal Injury Legal Help You Need Today in Virginia
A car crash can bring sudden and massive changes to your life, from ongoing pain to loss of future earnings. Don’t leave money on the table or let the negligent party off without providing the full compensation you deserve. Start a consultation with an experienced car crash attorney today.
How are lost wages calculated in a car accident claim?
Everyone knows when you are injured by a negligent driver you deserve to receive compensation, but you don’t have just the cost of medical treatment to consider. Bills don’t stop coming in because you were in a car accident, which is why you can also recover damages if your injury prevents you from working.
Trying to understand how lost wages are calculated when dealing with insurance carriers and seeking a settlement from the at-fault party can be more complicated than you think, however. That’s why it is so important to have a skilled attorney working with you after a collision.
Lost Wage Calculations After a Virginia Car Wreck
Lost wages can be recovered whether you are a self-employed freelancer, a salaried manager, or an employee paid hourly or via commission. In some cases, the calculation is as simple as multiplying your hourly rate by the number of days you missed work. That’s not always the whole story though, especially if your injury requires long-term therapy and rehabilitation. You also need to take into account:
- Benefits or pensions you can no longer utilize
- Loss of future earning potential if you can’t return to work for an extended period
- Missing out on promotions that would have occurred in the future
- Overtime you expected to work
- Yearly, seasonal, or end-of-project bonus pay
To get what you are truly owed, you need to provide proof of your lost earning capability as well as show the injury directly caused that loss. That’s why it is critical to see a doctor after a car accident, even if your injuries don’t immediately seem life-threatening. Your attorney can then utilize medical records, eyewitness testimony, video or photo evidence, forensic economist experts, pay stubs, tax forms, client correspondence, and other sources to make the best possible case.
Are You Unable to Work After a Car Accident?
When recovering from a car or truck crash, you don’t want to miss out on recovering the full amount you are owed from your injuries. An attorney with experience in Virginia personal injury lawsuits can help you negotiate the best settlement, or even take the case to court if necessary. Send us a quick message to start a consultation about your case.
What are my options if I was in a car accident with an uninsured driver?
Unlike many other states, it is actually legal to drive without auto insurance in Virginia as long as a yearly uninsured driver fee is paid to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The simple truth is that there are people on the road without insurance, whether they have paid that fee or not, and eventually some of those people will get into accidents. Even if you’ve done the responsible thing and bought insurance, you may end up with a hefty pile of bills after an accident with an uninsured driver.
What to Do When You Are Injured by a Driver Without Insurance
This all-too-common scenario can be especially devastating if you require a lengthy recovery period where you can’t work, which is why you want a personal injury lawyer working on your behalf. Even if you have excellent auto insurance, your policy is unlikely to make a dent in the costs of emergency room visits, physical therapy, or long-term absence from employment.
When dealing with an uninsured driver, your options are unfortunately limited. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you make the best of a bad situation in one of these three main ways:
- File an uninsured motorist claim against your insurance company. Many insurance plans include an uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage clause. You need to specifically file a claim to seek compensation through this type of coverage, and the amount is typically capped. Check with your insurance carrier to see if you have this coverage and if the covered amount can be increased before an accident occurs.
- Seek compensation from the uninsured driver’s assets. While you may want to go after the negligent driver who caused your accident, this is often the least useful option. A driver without insurance likely doesn’t have the personal assets required to cover your medical bills or loss of wages.
- Look for other liable parties to hold accountable. In some circumstances, a different party beside the driver may have been at fault for your injury. For instance, a construction crew or city government may have behaved negligently and created unsafe road conditions, or an auto manufacturer may be responsible if they released a faulty part that caused the crash.
Regardless of which option is best for you, an attorney can also handle communication with your insurance company. Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer shows you intend to pursue compensation to the fullest extent of the law, which makes both insurance carriers and negligent drivers more likely to settle.
Get the Help You Need After a Virginia Uninsured Driver Accident
You aren’t out of options if you were hurt by an uninsured driver. Set up a consultation with The Mottley Law Firm today to discuss your case and find out if we can help you seek compensation for your auto accident near Richmond, VA.
Am I entitled to compensation if I am partially at fault for my car accident?
Many states have some form of comparative negligence or shared fault rules that allow drivers to still seek compensation even if they were partially at fault for their own accident. Unfortunately, Virginia has extremely strict laws covering what’s known as contributory negligence. If you are partially at fault for your injury in a Virginia vehicle accident, you simply can’t be compensated.
How to Protect Your Right to Compensation After an Accident
The doctrine of contributory negligence applies even if the other party is mostly to blame and your fault is minimal. That can mean people who were severely injured in an accident won’t have any recourse for compensation and are on the hook for their own medical bills and potential loss of wages.
To protect yourself, you should never admit fault for an accident, either at the scene or when speaking with your insurance carrier after the crash. Since the insurance company doesn’t have to pay your claim if you are partially at fault, your adjuster may incorrectly claim you share some of the accident’s responsibility.
That’s why you should consult an attorney before making any statements or signing any documents related to the accident. Even if you think you may have been partly at fault for the collision, let an experienced legal team review all of the facts first.
An attorney with experience in Virginia personal injury cases can thoroughly investigate the accident and potentially prove you don’t share any of the blame through:
- Testimony from accident witnesses
- Data culled from police reports
- Photos or video from the scene
- Seeking the advice of accident reconstruction experts
Let Our Personal Injury Attorney Review Your Virginia Car Crash Claim
Before giving up your right to compensation for an accident, get in touch for a quick consultation to go over the facts of your case. Our goal is to do everything in our power to help you get the compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering after a Virginia car crash.