You are probably here because; your child, your spouse, a loved one, you, or even just a friend was injured in a car accident. If you are like many of our clients, you have never been through the car accident claims process. Our Virginia car accident lawyers have been helping personal injury victims like you for over 32 years. We are here to answer your questions and teach you how the legal system can help.
- Should I hire a lawyer or go it alone?
- How much is my case worth?
- How long will it take to settle my case?
- What is the Statute of Limitations?
- How much does a Virginia car accident lawyer cost?
Car Accident Lawyer Q1: Should I Hire A Lawyer Or Go It Alone?
Not all car accidents result in legal battles, but there are some that would greatly benefit from an attorney’s knowledge and experience. 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 Virginia 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 lawyer will make sure all avenues of compensation are explored.
Car Accident Lawyer Q2: How Much Is My Car Accident Case Worth?
There are many factors that go into the valuation of your Virginia car accident case. The most important being whether or not there is insurance coverage and how much is available for your injuries. Depending on the specifics of the crash, you may be entitled to one or more of the following types of compensation:
Types of Compensation
- Medical Bills: You may seek compensation for any medical care related to the accident. This often includes hospital bills, physical therapy, surgeries, and future medical bills if your injuries are life-altering.
- Lost Wages & Future Earnings: Some car accidents result in injuries that leave victims out of work for weeks, months, or even permanently. You may seek compensation to recover those lost wages. If you are no longer able to work due to your injuries, this can be factored into the settlement as well.
- Pain and Suffering: Long after the physical wounds heal, the emotional pain of an accident can linger. You may ask that pain and suffering be considered as part of your settlement.
- Punitive Damages: Reckless, careless drivers are often punished for their negligence through punitive damages. In addition to compensation for your injuries, punitive damages serve as a deterrent for the driver and a warning to the public.
- Wrongful Death: When a loved one is killed in a car accident, they leave behind bills and funeral costs – and the loss of future income for their family. Of course, their loss is felt emotionally as well. This loss of companionship and affection is priceless. A personal injury lawyer experienced with the Wrongful Death act will fight on behalf of your family.
Car Accident Lawyer Q3: How Long Will It Take To Settle My Car Accident Case?
There are many factors that go into determining how long it will take to settle a car accident 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 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. Once that number is reached, it may take an additional couple of weeks for checks to be mailed out and paperwork to be finalized.
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.
How long will it take to get my settlement money?
After a settlement or verdict has been reached, there are steps that must be taken before you can receive your settlement money. This can be anywhere from 2 weeks to 30+ days. A lot depends on what stage your case was in when the settlement was accepted.
- Pre-litigation. If your case is in pre-litigation when a settlement is reached, it may move a little faster. This is because insurance companies typically have standard paperwork that is already drawn up for you to sign.
- Litigation. If your case is in litigation when a settlement is reached, you typically have to wait for the defendant’s insurance carrier to prepare the paperwork they need you to sign before sending out a check. This tends to take more time.
- Minors. If a case involves a minor, most settlements have to be approved by the court which requires a hearing.
The final answer—it depends.
Car Accident Lawyer Q4: What Is The Statute Of Limitations For A Car Accident Claim?
In Virginia, there are strict deadlines for filing a lawsuit. In many cases, Virginia provides a two-year deadline also known as a Statute of Limitations. However, sometimes special circumstances apply that can alter that deadline. Once the Statute of Limitations has passed, you will no longer be allowed to seek compensation for injuries relating to that accident. That is why it is important to contact an experienced auto accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your situation.
Car Accident Lawyer Q5: How Much Does A Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
Insurance companies have deep pockets and tremendous resources. Our law firm understands that the costs associated with a lawsuit can be a barrier to justice. This is why we offer a no fee promise. This means you don’t owe us any legal fees unless we settle or win your case. If we accept 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. Call our Virginia car accident lawyers today.