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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.