Richard Serpe named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Norfolk (2020)
We get the difficult choices that you face after a car accident. Our goal to help you secure the best possible settlement for your case. Our Norfolk car accident lawyers have represented hundreds of victims injured in Virginia car wrecks for over 33 years.
Norfolk Car Accident Lawyer FAQs
- Do I need to hire a lawyer?
- How do I handle the insurance companies?
- What is the average settlement?
- How long will it take to settle my case?
- What is the Statute of Limitations?
- How much do injury lawyers charge?
Do I Need to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer for my Personal Injury?
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.
Why Hire A Car Accident Lawyer
In the wake of a car accident, it can be difficult to know who to trust. While you might expect your auto insurance company to have your best interests at heart, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Insurers are out to turn a profit for their stockholders. If they see any opportunity to deny a claim or minimize a settlement, they’ll take it. A car accident attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement and ensure you’re not being taken for a ride.
A car accident lawyer can also help crash victims pursue compensation from the at-fault driver. While this is often handled between the insurance companies, a car accident attorney can advocate for your needs. This typically results in a higher settlement than you might have been able to recoup on your own. If an appropriate settlement amount can’t be reached, a lawyer can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and further escalate your claim.
When to Consider a Car Accident Lawyer
Here are a few situations that may benefit from a Virginia car accident lawyer:
- Life-Altering Injuries: If you are permanently disabled after a car accident, it is possible that you will face a lifelong battle of challenges. Especially if your injuries will affect your ability to work and earn a living. Experienced Norfolk car accident lawyers can help the car insurance companies, and a jury, understand just how much your injury will affect your life.
- Severe Injuries: Even if your injuries are not permanent, when severe, you are likely to have expensive medical bills and lost income. Insurance companies will likely offer you an unfair low-ball settlement offer. An experienced attorney will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
- Liability is Uncertain: It isn’t always clear who should be held liable for a car accident. If there are numerous injuries, there may be less settlement money to go around. Sometimes it isn’t clear whether the at-fault driver has any insurance at all. An experienced Virginia car accident attorney will make sure all avenues of compensation are explored.
How Do I Handle the Car 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.
Q: What if the driver does not have car insurance?
Though legally required, auto insurance is not a given when you’re involved in an accident. Not every motorist opts to follow the law, and if a negligent driver without insurance causes your wreck, you could be shouldering the burden of medical bills and car repairs yourself.
Thankfully, most insurance policies include uninsured motorist coverage for these exact situations. If you discover the other driver does not have insurance, file a claim with your own auto insurer instead. Depending on your policy limits, you may be able to get all of your medical and repair bills covered.
Q: 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.
What is the Average Car Accident Settlement?
Insurance Policy Limits and Your Settlement
Settlement amounts are based on both the damage done and the severity of the injuries sustained. Another major factor? Policy limits. These caps set by the insurance company limit the size of the settlement they are willing to pay. Agreed to in the insurance policy purchased by the insured, policy limits often represent the ceiling for settlement negotiations. Even if your claim is less than the policy limit, insurance companies make low-ball settlement offers at first. A lawyer can help you negotiate a fair settlement.
Types of 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.
How Long Will it Take to Settle My Car Accident Claim?
There are many factors that go into determining how long it will take to settle a car accident case. Here are the most important:
- Initial consultation. When a client schedules their initial meeting with our team, they share their story and learn of their legal options. A discussion of the person’s rights leads to a decision of whether to work together or not. If the person wishes to hire our firm, they’ll be required to sign an agreement allowing us to represent them.
- Investigation. Our team will work to investigate the accident that caused your injuries. We’ll be looking into the statements of witnesses, the police accident reports and photographs taken at the scene. In some cases, we may even hire experts to better understand what led to the incident.
- Documentation. Your attorney will partner with your healthcare provides to assemble as much information about your injuries as possible. Medical history, hospital bills and medical records will be compiled to establish the injuries were in fact sustained in your accident.
- Settlement negotiations. In order to receive a fair compensation package from your insurance company, we compile a demand package that contains pertinent results from the investigation and documentation process. Most cases are resolved at this point, but negotiations with the insurance company can continue for a lengthy period of time. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, a lawsuit may be filed.
- Filing a lawsuit. Whether through arbitration, mediation or going to trial, we’ll work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
These steps can vary in length depending on the case, so there is no cut and dried answer to questions about how long the process takes.
What are the Deadlines for Filing a Car Accident Injury Claim?
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, time is of the essence. Since the statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits is typically limited to just two years, you’ll want to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. While two years might seem like a long time, the investigation and negotiation processes can be lengthy. The sooner you call to schedule your initial consultation, the sooner you can put the entire incident behind you!
How Much Do Car Accident Lawyers Charge?
Many car accident victims are short on cash and assume they can’t afford to hire a lawyer. While it’s true that legal fees can be expensive, most car accident attorneys work on a contingency basis. That means you won’t pay a cent unless the law firm recovers a settlement on your behalf. In many cases, hiring a car crash attorney is an investment in your future. Since a lawyer can often recover a larger settlement for you, their services may ultimately pay for themselves.
No Legal Fees Unless We Win
Contact our personal injury attorneys for a free case review. Our Norfolk car accident lawyers have a No Fee Promise, which means that you don’t owe us any legal fees unless we settle or win your case. We will work on your behalf to get a fair settlement, and only charge legal fees if you receive a settlement or verdict.
Our lawyers understand that the fees associated with a lawsuit can be a barrier to justice, and we believe that everyone should have a voice when it comes to asserting their rights. Corporations and insurance companies have tremendous resources, and our No Fee Promise levels the playing field.
When your case is accepted, we’ll explain all the details regarding payments that are contingent on settlements and verdicts. All you need to know is that we will work as hard as we can to ensure that you are compensated for your injury.
Our Norfolk Car Accident Lawyers
Selecting the right personal injury lawyer for your case may be easier than you expect. Most car accident law firms offer free consultations for new clients. You can schedule your appointment, meet with a lawyer, and explain your situation without paying a cent. In the consultation appointment, you’ll have the chance to hear initial advice and recommendations on how to move forward with your claim.
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.
Contact Us Today
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.