Richard Serpe named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Norfolk (2020)
Norfolk Personal Injury Lawyer Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need to hire a personal injury lawyer?
- How is a settlement calculated?
- What are the deadlines for filing a claim?
- How long will my case take?
- How much does an injury lawyer cost?
Do I need to hire a 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 ask for more money later.
When to Hire a Lawyer
We highly 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 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 result 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 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 personal injury claims process.
How is a personal injury settlement 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.
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 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. Why should you be responsible for these bills? A personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation, as well as any future medical expenses associated with your injury.
- Lost income: 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: Punitive damages are in place to motivate negligent parties 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 Norfolk, 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 Norfolk 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 (MMI)– 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 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. 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.
Statute of Limitations
Strict Deadlines for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Virginia
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, 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 Norfolk personal injury lawyer cost?
Our No Fee Promise: No Legal Fees Unless We Settle or Win
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 Norfolk personal injury lawyers 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.
Cases We Handle
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
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.
Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC 580 E Main St #310, Norfolk, VA 23510