Richard Serpe named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers for Norfolk Personal Injury Litigation, Plaintiffs (2020)
Norfolk Personal Injury Lawyer Frequently Asked Questions
- Why should I hire a personal injury lawyer?
- How does a personal injury case work?
- How long will my case take?
- How is personal injury compensation calculated?
- What are the deadlines for filing a claim?
- How much does an injury lawyer cost?
Why should I hire a personal injury lawyer?
Answer: Insurers are out to turn a profit. If they see any opportunity to deny a claim or minimize a settlement, they’ll take it. A good personal injury lawyer will know how to handle abusive insurance company tactics.
Keep in mind that insurance companies know that most people are inexperienced with the personal injury claims process. They will try and offer you a quick settlement before you decide to hire a lawyer. You need to be careful not to sign away your legal rights for a small settlement. A personal injury lawyer can help you negotiate a fair settlement and ensure you’re not being taken advantage of.
When To Consider Hiring A Lawyer
We recommend that you contact a Norfolk personal injury lawyer if you have experienced any of the following:
- Life-Altering Injuries: If you are permanently injured after an accident, it is likely your injuries will affect your ability to work and earn a living. A good attorney can help the insurance companies, and a jury, understand just how much your injury will affect your life.
- Severe Injuries: Even when not permanent, severe injuries can still result in expensive medical bills. An attorney can work to ensure your medical bills, past and future, are included in your settlement.
- Liability Is Uncertain: It’s not always clear who is at fault in an accident. When multiple parties are involved, the insurance companies will do all they can to shift liability to another insurer. Additionally, if there are multiple parties involved, there may be less settlement money to go around.
- Low-Ball Settlement Offers: Insurance companies will often make quick low-ball offers to get your claim settled as soon as possible. Unfortunately, though, these offers come with an agreement that you will ask for more money later.
- A Virginia Wrongful Death: Learn more about Virginia Wrongful Death lawsuits.
How do Virginia personal injury cases work?
- Initial consultation. When a client schedules their free consultation 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 work with your healthcare provides to assemble as much information about your injuries as possible. Hospital bills and medical records will be compiled to further support your case.
- Settlement negotiations. In order to receive a fair offer from the 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.
How long will it take to settle a personal injury case?
There are many factors that go into determining how long it will take to settle a Norfolk personal injury case. Here are the most important:
1. Maximum Medical Improvement
Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is the point at which your medical condition is as good as it’s going to get. Reaching MMI before starting negotiations with the insurance companies will ensure that all of your medical bills, past and future, are included in a settlement.
Once MMI is reached, an attorney can assemble all of your medical records, bills from providers, employment records and other related documentation to build your case.
Depending on your injuries, you may need several surgeries, physical therapy, and other treatments. In most cases, though, people reach maximum medical improvement in a matter of months. This stage can be a major factor in the length of time it takes to settle a claim.
Next comes negotiation. Your Norfolk personal injury lawyer, seeking the maximum compensation possible, will work with the insurance company to land on a number that satisfies both parties.
Although most of our cases are settled without having to go to trial, if an agreement cannot be reached, we may need to file a lawsuit.
Even though filing a lawsuit kick starts the process of preparing for a trial, negotiations will still continue. Just because litigation is initiated doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily go to court.
How is personal injury compensation calculated?
Insurance Policy Limits and Your Personal Injury 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.
Depending on the details of your situation, you may be entitled to one or more of the following types of damages:
- Medical bills: Whether you need an ambulance ride to a hospital, a life-saving surgery, or years of physical therapy– medical bills can add up quickly. A personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation for these bills, as well as any future medical expenses associated with your injury.
- Lost income: Accidents can put people out of work for months or permanently, so the loss of earnings should also be included in your settlement.
- Pain and suffering: This is often based on how much pain you suffered, or continue to endure, as a result of the accident.
- Wrongful death: If your loved one was killed, you’re probably grief-stricken and wondering how you’ll shoulder medical bills, funeral costs – not to mention the loss of future income for your family. Of course, the emotional loss cannot be understated either. The Virginia wrongful death statute allows certain family members to bring a claim for the losses they have suffered from the death of a loved one.
What are the deadlines for filing a personal injury claim?
Statute of Limitations
Under Virginia law, it is necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit within strict deadlines imposed by law.
In many cases, Virginia provides for a two-year deadline also known as a Statute of Limitations. However, every case is different and this deadline could vary depending on the circumstances of the situation.
Don’t Wait Too Long
While two years might seem like a long time, your healing, the investigation and negotiation processes can be lengthy. To protect your rights, you should speak with a Norfolk personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Once you have missed this deadline, you will no longer be able to file a claim.
How much does a personal injury lawyer cost?
We understand the fees associated with a lawsuit can be a barrier to justice.
Our Norfolk personal injury lawyers 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.
Our no-fee promise means that you don’t owe us any legal fees unless we settle or win your case. The attorneys at the Serpe Firm will work on your behalf to get a fair settlement. We will only charge legal fees if you receive a settlement or verdict.
Contact Us For A Free Consultation
After an accident, you need an ally who will work tirelessly to ensure your rights are protected. Allow the Serpe Firm team to be your advocate in your time of need. Our Norfolk personal injury lawyers will fight for the best possible outcome on your behalf.
When you put your trust in the Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, P.C., you can rest easy knowing we’ll act with your best interests in mind. With open ears and hearts, our team is eager to help you in your hour of need. The Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC has helped personal injury victims for over 34 years. If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact us for a free consultation.
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.
Richard Serpe: Awards & Recognition
- Named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Norfolk, VA (2020)
- Rated 10/10 – “Superb” by the online attorney rating service, Avvo.com
- Listed in The Best Lawyers in America ® (2006 – Present)
- Received an AV rating from the Martindale-Hubbell law directory, which is the highest given
- Named a “Super Lawyer” – among the top 5 percent of lawyers in Virginia (2006 – Present)
- Listed as a Top 100 Virginia Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers 2014
Types of Personal Injury Cases
We will protect your legal rights and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
- Jones Act & Maritime Lawyer: tugboats, barges, fishing boats, cruise ships, cargo ships, maintenance and cure
- Auto Accidents: involving cars, trucks, bicycles, pedestrians, motorcycles, uninsured/underinsured motorists
- Dog Bites & Attacks: for children, adults, mail carriers, delivery truck drivers, pedestrians, joggers, etc.
- Guardrail Accidents: defective, outdated, and improperly installed guardrails causing injury and death
- Nursing Home Neglect: falls, bed and pressure sores, medication errors, wrongful death
- Wrongful Death: the wrongful death of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence
- Birth Injury: Inadequate training, defective drugs, and ineffective policies can all lead to medical mistakes.
- Lead Poisoning: lead poisoning can cause long-term permanent cognitive injuries in children
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: faulty equipment/appliances, improper repairs, improper venting, and faulty detectors
- Traumatic Brain Injury: car accidents, lead poisoning, birth injury