Richard Serpe named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Norfolk (2020)
Virginia Personal Injury Cases
- Do I need to hire a personal injury lawyer?
- How will my medical bills get paid?
- What is my personal injury case worth?
- What are the deadlines for filing a claim?
- How long will my personal injury case take?
- How do I pay for a personal injury lawyer?
Do I need to hire a Norfolk personal injury lawyer?
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.
We highly recommend that you contact a personal injury lawyer if you have experienced any of the following:
- Life-Altering Injuries: If you are permanently injured after a personal injury, it is likely that you will be facing a lifelong battle of challenges.
- Your Injuries Are Severe: Even when not permanent, severe injuries can still be debilitating resulting in expensive medical bills.
- Liability Is Uncertain: It’s not always clear who is at fault in an accident and who should be held liable. When multiple parties are involved, the insurance companies will do all they can to shift liability to another insurer. If there are numerous injuries, there may be less settlement money to go around.
- Low-Ball Offers From The Adjuster: Insurance companies will often make low-ball offers within a matter of just a few weeks hoping to quickly settle a claim. If you’re comfortable accepting their offer, it may only take a few weeks to see your settlement check. Unfortunately, though, these offers come with an agreement that you will not seek additional compensation for damages relating to the accident.
- The Insurance Company Refuses To Pay: Although we expect insurance companies to come to the rescue in our moments of need, their main goal is to turn a profit, not pay out claims. Insurance companies know that most people are inexperienced with the injury claims process. If you are struggling to get compensation for your claim, a personal injury lawyer can be the ally you need.
How will my medical bills get paid?
When recovering from an accident, medical bills should be the last thing on your mind. A person’s health is priceless, after all. With any luck, bones will mend and wounds will heal. But that’s inevitably when the medical bills start rolling in. So who pays?
It’s tempting to take the first settlement the insurance company offers you, especially when you’ve got medical bills piling up. But accept that first offer and you’ll be out of luck should long-term injuries and complications set in. When accepting the check, you’ll likely 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’s insurance company for more compensation.
An experienced Norfolk personal injury attorney will ensure that you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (when your condition cannot be improved any further), before negotiating with the insurance company. This will ensure that all of your medical bills are included in the settlement, as well as any permanent long-term care that you will need.
What is my personal injury case worth?
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 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. Why should you be responsible for these bills when someone else’s negligence caused your injuries? A personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation for those bills, as well as any future medical expenses associated with your injury.
- Lost income: If you’re hospitalized after your accident, there’s a good chance you’ll miss work while you recuperate. That lost income should not be written off. Seek the paychecks you missed out on. 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: Long after the physical wounds heal, the emotional pain of an accident can linger. Pain and suffering may be included in your settlement.
- Punitive damages: Negligent parties often need more than an accident to deter them from acting recklessly again. Punitive damages can motivate them to act more responsibly in the future.
- Wrongful death: If your loved one was killed because of someone else’s negligence, 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 loss of companionship and affection is irreplaceable. 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.
How Long Will It Take To Settle My Personal Injury Case?
There are many factors that go into determining how long it will take to settle a Virginia personal injury case. Here are the most important:
Reaching Maximum Medical Improvement
If you are seriously injured, it may take years to reach maximum medical improvement– 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. 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. At that point, an attorney can assemble all of your medical records, bills from providers, employment records and other related documentation to submit to the insurance company.
Next comes negotiation. Your Virginia car accident 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. Although 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.
The final answer—it depends.
Critical Time Deadlines
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.
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.
No Legal Fees Unless We Win
Our no-fee promise means that you don’t owe us any legal fees unless we settle or win your case. Our personal injury lawyers will work on your behalf to get a fair settlement, and only charge legal fees if you receive a settlement or verdict.
We understand the fees associated with a lawsuit can be a barrier to justice. Our Norfolk personal injury attorneys 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.
Contact Us For A Free Consultation
After an accident, you need an ally who will work tirelessly to ensure your rights are protected. Allow 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.
For over 33 years, victims have turned to the Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC for help in matters involving maritime accidents, car accidents, traumatic brain injury, dog bites & attacks, truck accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and other types of personal injury accidents. Contact our experienced personal injury lawyers. We will protect your rights.
Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC 580 E Main St #310, Norfolk, VA 23510