Virginia car accident lawyer Richard Serpe has 34+ years experience and has been recognized by Best Lawyers for his accomplishments in personal injury litigation for the last 15 years. Our goal is to seek justice and win the best possible settlement for your case. We are here to answer your questions and show you how the legal system can help.
- When should I hire a car accident lawyer?
- How do you calculate a settlement?
- How long will it take to settle my case?
- What is the Statute of Limitations?
- How much does a lawyer cost?
When should I hire a car accident lawyer?
Not all car accidents result in legal battles. However, there are some that would greatly benefit from an attorney’s knowledge and experience. Here are a few situations that may benefit from hiring a Virginia car accident lawyer:
- You’ve Never Handled a Car Accident Injury Claim: Insurance adjusters are trained negotiators and know that most people are inexperienced with the claims process. If they see an opportunity to deny or minimize a claim, they’ll take it.
- Wrongful Death: Virginia allows certain family members to file a claim for losses they have suffered due to the wrongful death of a loved one. You’ll want to make sure you hire an experienced wrongful death lawyer for these types of cases.
- Life-Altering Injuries: If you are permanently disabled after a car accident, you may 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: When injuries are severe, you are likely to have expensive medical bills and lost income.
- 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.
- 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. Unfortunately, though, these offers come with an agreement that you will not seek additional compensation relating to the accident later.
How do you calculate a car accident settlement?
There are many factors that go into the calculation of your Virginia car accident settlement. The most important being whether or not there is insurance coverage and how much is available for your injuries.
Policy Limits and Your Settlement
Policy Limits are caps set by the insurance company that limit the size. Car insurance policy limits often represent the ceiling for settlement negotiations. But, even if your car accident claim is less than the policy limit, insurance companies make low-ball settlement offers at first. A Virginia car accident lawyer can help you negotiate a fair settlement.
Types of Compensation Available
Depending on the specifics of your car accident, you may be entitled to one or more of the following types of compensation:
- Medical Bills: You may seek compensation for any medical care related to the car 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. This can be considered as part of your settlement.
- Punitive Damages: Reckless drivers are often punished for their negligence. 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, 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.
How long will a car accident case take?
There are many factors that go into determining how long it will take to settle a car accident case. Below are some of 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 your settlement. Depending on your injuries, you may need several surgeries, physical therapy, and other treatments. But, in most cases, 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 car 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.
Most of our cases are settled without a trial. But, 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. This doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily go to court.
Statute of Limitations for Virginia Car Accident Claims
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 may apply that can alter this deadline. Once the Statute of Limitations has passed, you cannot seek compensation for your injuries. So, that is why it is important to contact an experienced auto accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your situation.
While two years might seem like a long time, the investigation and negotiation processes can be lengthy. Protect your rights by speaking with a Virginia car accident 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 Virginia 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. Ultimately, this means you don’t owe us any legal fees unless we settle or win. 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.