A car accident can happen at any moment, to anyone: careful drivers, pedestrians crossing the street or people riding bicycles or motorbikes. This unfortunate event leads to hospitalization, high medical bills, lost wages and even death. According to personal injury law, you are entitled to receive compensation for your expenses and loss, and also for your pain and suffering.
At CAIL law firm, an experienced accident lawyer can assist you during the insurance claim process, by conducting settlement negotiations on your behalf or even filing a personal injury lawsuit.
But how long does it take to settle an auto accident in Virginia? There is no standard answer to this question, because each case has its own unique circumstances and challenges. Actually, you may settle the case quickly, but we do not recommend this approach.
Auto insurance companies are more than willing to give you a quick payout and close the case. But this amount of money does not represent fair compensation for your loss, and it usually does not even cover all your expenses.
Reasons to Hire a Lawyer to Negotiate Your Personal Injury Settlement
Imagine this scenario: you are in hospital, in pain and confused. You are approached by an insurance adjuster, who says that they have calculated your settlement and asks you to sign the paper to accept it. At the same time, they may make small talk with you and ask you how you are feeling. Every word you say will be noted and, if you decide to legal actions, used against you.
Instead, you should hire a personal injury attorney from CAIL law firm in Virginia to conduct negotiations on your behalf and obtain compensation for all types of damages you are entitled to. There are many legal pitfalls in this negotiation process, as we will show below. Thus, only a skilled and experienced lawyer can bring valid counterarguments to the insurance adjuster’s insufficient offer.
What Virginia Law Stipulates in Case of Car Accidents
Personal injury law is enshrined in the Code of Virginia Title 8.01 that regulates Civil Remedies and Procedures. Section 8.01-243 of the Code stipulates the statutes of limitation, that is, the period of time available for a victim of a car accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. There are three types of limitations:
- two years after the accident for car accident injuries
- five years for damage to a vehicle or property
- two years for the family of a person who died in a car crash to launch a wrongful death lawsuit (the window of time starts from the victim’s death).
Another important aspect that sets the state of Virginia apart from other US states is that there is no contributory negligence principle in force. This means that if the victim of the accident is found to have the slightest proportion of fault for the crash, they may not recover any damages for physical injuries, damage to property and noneconomic losses.
Experienced attorneys will analyze your case and give you honest advice concerning your chances of successfully launching a personal injury claim, so do not let insurance companies discourage you.
Types of Damages You Can Recover after Injury Settlement Negotiation
Getting hit by another car results in different types of injuries, that may take a long time to heal or leave you with a permanent disability. If you were a driver or passenger in another car, you will also sustain personal property damage (vehicle, smartphone, other belongings you carry on your person).
There is also the issue of lost wages while you were in hospital or recovering from your physical injuries and emotional distress.
Therefore, when preparing your accident insurance claim, an experienced injury law firm will include:
- hospital bills
- costs with long term medical care
- lost income
- loss of earning capacity if you are no longer able to work
- property damage
- noneconomic damages.
The noneconomic damages cover the less visible negative effects of the motor vehicle crash. Such an event does not cause only soft tissue injuries, fractures or severe injuries, but also with:
- pain and suffering
- mental anguish and anxiety
- loss of enjoyment of life
- loss of consortium.
Your lawyer will include these aspects in the compensatory damages, as well.
What You Need to Know about Car Insurance Regulations in Virginia
The state of Virginia does not require drivers to hold liability insurance. They can pay the amount of $500 to Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, called the Uninsured Motor Vehicle fee, and they are allowed to drive on all public roads in the state.
This means that if you are hit by an uninsured driver, you may not file your claim with the accident insurance company, but a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver.
Even if the driver is insured, the minimum liability amounts stipulated by the law many not be sufficient to cover all your costs and losses:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death
- $50,000 total amount per accident resulting in bodily injury or death
- $20,000 per property damage per accident.
Thus, your best chance to get maximum compensation for your losses is to hire a skilled attorney to negotiate your accident settlement.
Timeline of the Average Car Accident Case
This timeline does not provide actual timeframes (with one exception), but gives you an idea of the processes involved in settling a car crash claim.
Victim’s Recovery Time
First, the personal injury lawyer needs to have up to date medical records indicating how much time you spent in hospital, the extent of your personal injuries and your maximum medical improvement (the point from which doctors do not expect you to make further improvements).
Investigation of the Claim by the Insurance Company
According to the Bureau of Insurance of the state of Virginia, insurance companies have 45 days to investigate a car crash claim and come up with a resolution. In special cases, they may prolong this period, but must keep the claimant informed and present reasonable explanations for this delay.
If you believe that the insurer is delaying your case without valid reasons, you may file a bad faith claim lawsuit against them.
Determining the Circumstances of the Accident and the At-Fault Party
This is the phase of the accident insurance claim where your lawyer can make a big difference in the outcome. A skilled personal injury attorney at CAIL law firm will gather all the evidence necessary to support your case, including:
- police report
- witness statements
- photographic or video evidence
- expert analysis of the damaged vehicles.
Reaching a Settlement or Going to Trial
Finally, the way an auto accident is settled influences the duration. Negotiations usually take a few weeks. If no consensus is reached, your lawyer will advise the injured party to take the matter to court. In this case, the final jury award may be pronounced in a few months.
Hire a Personal Injury Law Firm that Fights and Cares for You!
At Cail Law Firm, each client is a person with a story and the right to receive justice and fair compensation for their pain, damages and losses. We treat each case confidentially and support you throughout the entire auto accident claim process. We are the personal injury lawyers who will not stop until your case is finally closed with a fair settlement, either through negotiations or in court.
Call us now for a free initial consultation: 1-800-HURT-123!
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