We get the difficult choices that you face after a car accident. Especially if you are seriously injured and require long-term medical care. We deal with the complicated legal issues so that you can focus on recovering. Our goal to help you secure the best possible settlement for your case. Our Norfolk car accident lawyer team has represented hundreds of victims injured in Virginia car wrecks for over 33 years.
5 Things You Need To Know About Virginia Car Accident Claims
- Do I need to hire a lawyer for my car accident?
- What should I expect when dealing with insurance companies?
- How will my medical bills get paid?
- What kind of car accident Settlements & Compensation are available?
- What are the time deadlines for a claim?
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for my Car Accident?
A: The simple answer is no.
However, you need to be careful not to sign away your legal rights with the other insurance company for a small settlement. If you agree to a settlement and sign the release papers, you cannot change your mind or come back for another settlement at a later date.
An experienced Virginia car accident lawyer will ensure that you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, before negotiating with the insurance company. Maximum medical improvement is when your condition cannot be improved any further. This ensures all of your medical bills are included in the settlement, as well as any permanent long-term care that you will need.
Also, please be aware that there are strict time limitations involved in making personal injury car accident claims. Although you may decide to settle a claim on your own, studies have shown that injured persons usually receive a greater recovery when they have an attorney, even after paying the attorney fees and costs.
If you’d like to speak with one of our Virginia car accident lawyers, contact us today for a free consultation.
Dealing with the Insurance Companies
We strongly advise that you do not speak to any insurance adjusters until you speak with an experienced Norfolk auto accident attorney. Insurance adjusters are trained to get you to say things that will ruin your case. If you choose our firm, we immediately contact the insurance companies and inform them that they are no longer allowed to contact you. We will take over all communication dealing with insurance. Of course, we do not make any decisions without speaking to you first.
Q: Should I talk to the other driver’s insurance company if they call me after an auto accident?
It’s a good rule of thumb not to speak with the other driver’s insurance company by yourself. Insurance companies are businesses first and foremost, and they’re looking to pay the lowest amount for claims in order to make the greatest profit. Anything you say to the adjuster could potentially be used against you, and so it’s wisest to direct them to your attorney.
Adjusters will try to question you about the nature of your injuries, how much time or money you have lost, contact information for your doctor(s) and any witnesses to the accident, and any insurance information that family members may have; you do not need to answer any of these questions, and should politely redirect them to your attorney.
How will my medical bills get paid?
When you are recovering from a car accident, medical bills should be the last thing on your mind. However, inevitably, the medical bills will start coming in. So who pays?
It is tempting to take the first settlement the insurance company offers you. Especially when medical bills are piling up. But accept that offer and you’ll be out of luck if long-term injuries and complications set in. When accepting the check, you’ll have to sign a release agreeing that the payment is a “full and final settlement.” Sign it, and you’ll never again be allowed to ask the at-fault driver or insurance company for more compensation.
Car Accident Settlements and Compensation
Depending on the specifics of the wreck, accident victims may be entitled to one or more of the following types of damages:
- Medical costs: Whether you need an ambulance ride to a hospital, an emergency life-saving surgery, or years of physical therapy, medical bills add up quickly. Victims can seek compensation for those bills, as well as any future medical expenses associated with your injuries.
- Lost wages: Accidents put people out of work for weeks or even months. This loss of future earnings can also be included in your settlement.
- Pain and suffering: Long after the physical injuries heal, the emotional pain of an accident can linger. This type of compensation may be available to you.
- Punitive damages: Negligent drivers often need more than an accident to deter them from driving so recklessly again. Punitive damages can motivate the driver to be safer behind the wheel.
- Wrongful death: If your loved one was killed in a car crash, you’re probably grief-stricken and wondering how you’ll pay for the medical bills and funeral costs. Not to mention the loss of future income for your family. The emotional loss cannot be understated, either. The loss of companionship and affection is irreplaceable. In Virginia, certain family members may bring a claim for the losses they have suffered from the death of a loved one.
Time Deadlines for Virginia Car Accident Claims
Many car accident victims fail to seek legal advice until it is too late. There are STRICT time limitations for bringing a Virginia car accident injury claim. In Virginia, you typically must file a lawsuit with the court within two years of the date of the accident. Two years may sound like a long time, but over time important evidence is lost and witnesses become hard to find. Immediate investigation often makes the difference between winning and losing a car accident case. If you wait too long, the door to justice may be closed forever.
Contact Norfolk Car Accident Lawyers
The Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC has helped car accident victims for over 33 years. If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a reckless driver, contact us for a free consultation.
Dangerous roads and intersections in Norfolk include: East VA Beach Blvd at Hampton Roads Beltway (Military Hwy), Hampton Roads Beltway at Northampton Blvd, Church/Granby St, Ocean View Ave/ Shore Drive, Hampton Blvd, Chesapeake Blvd, Granby St at Little Creek Road, Waterside Dr. at I-264, Brambleton Ave, St. Pauls Blvd, and I-64.
We are located in the Crown Center Building in Downtown Norfolk. 580 East Main Street, #310 Norfolk, VA 23510. We have clients across the state of Virginia and will come to you if you can’t come to us.