After a car accident, the type of compensation you’ll receive is one of the essential things to ponder. Read on to discover all you need to know on the subject.
Did you suffer an injury from a car accident in Virginia? One of the first things to do is contact a Virginia auto accident lawyer for instructions on the next steps. Your personal injury attorney will advise you on how to avoid mistakes that jeopardize your collision claim’s success. This includes preserving the accident scene, calling the police, requesting medical treatment, etc.
More than just getting accident damages, taking the right steps will help ensure you get a fair settlement to cover your injuries’ emotional and financial costs.
This article will discuss what amounts to maximum accident compensation. It also covers essential tips to help ensure you get a fair settlement for your claim.
Common Accident Injuries in Virginia
Injury victims in an auto crash are at risk of various bodily injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones/fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Neck and back injuries
- Cuts and Lacerations
- Various degrees of burn injuries
- Psychological injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, etc.
These injuries may result from different types of auto collisions, including head-on crashes, rear-end collisions, side-impact accidents, etc. Common causes of such crashes include speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, etc.
Virginia Insurance Coverage Requirements and Laws
Virginia mandates all motorists to carry minimum liability insurance coverages in the following amounts:
- $25,000 liability coverage for the death or injury of one person in a crash
- $50,000 liability coverage for total death liability or bodily injury in an accident
- $20,000 liability coverage per accident for property damage
The State of Virginia imposes severe penalties on motorists who drive without complying with the above insurance rules. Note that drivers may drive without insurance if they pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
However, this fee doesn’t count as liability insurance. So, they’ll be personally liable for injuries they caused in an auto crash.
You may also decide to purchase the following coverage with your car insurance policy:
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
This policy covers you when the at-fault driver doesn’t carry insurance to handle your financial losses. Uninsured coverage usually takes care of bodily injury and property damage in an auto crash.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Unlike uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage applies when the at-fault party has some form of liability insurance. However, their insurance wouldn’t cover all your losses, so your insurance company will step in to cover the extra.
Types of Compensation in Auto Accident Claims
Here’s a comprehensive list of the types of compensation you may receive after a car accident claim. The list typically covers economic and non-economic damages:
Medical Bills/Medical Costs
Virginia provides compensation for your medical bills in a personal injury claim. This includes the cost of medications, rehabilitation, doctor’s visits, hospitalization, etc.
Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity
If your accident injuries prevent you from going to work, the at-fault party will compensate you for the wages you lost. They may also pay damages for the wages you’ll lose in the future due to the accident.
Personal injury damages typically include the cost of replacement or repairs of damaged property in the crash.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life or Quality of Life
Loss of enjoyment of life means a reduced quality of life due to your inability to engage in pre-accident activities that brought you fulfillment. For example, you may no longer be able to play certain sports due to your car accident injury.
Emotional Damage/Emotional Distress/Mental Anguish
Emotional distress refers to the psychological effects of the injury on your everyday life. Other names for emotional distress include pain and suffering, mental anguish, etc.
Loss of Companionship
Loss of companionship refers to the damages the injury has caused to the quality of your relationships or friendships.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium is similar to the loss of companionship. However, it specifically focuses on losing sexual relations between you and your partner.
Your Virginia auto accident lawyer may request other types of damages depending on the specifics of your case.
Punitive damages refer to the compensation a judge orders to punish the defendant for their recklessness.
What’s the Statute of Limitations for Auto Crash Cases in Virginia?
Statute of Limitations refers to the timeframe within which you must file your compensation claim. Failure to file before the period elapses will automatically lead to the denial of a valid claim.
Virginia’s Statute of Limitations for car crash cases is two years. The time starts counting from your car accident date or the moment you became aware of your auto accident injuries.
What Factors Could Affect My Compensation?
Many factors can impact the amount of compensation you may receive in an auto crash claim. They include:
The Severity of Your Injuries
Your type of injury, as well as the severity, can determine the value of your compensation sums. For example, a back injury can be excruciatingly painful and cause discomfort for some weeks.
However, it’s nothing compared to a third-degree burn that may cause you permanent disfigurement. As such, a third-degree burn victim will typically receive higher compensation than someone with whiplash.
Pain and Suffering
The damages you get as pain and suffering can significantly impact the value of your compensation claim. There’s no specific amount for pain and suffering. A Virginia auto accident lawyer will typically add up your other damages and multiply by a number between 1.5 and 5 to calculate an amount for pain and suffering.
Property damage is another determining factor in your claim’s value. The more the damage to your property, the higher your compensation will be.
The Quality of Your Virginia Auto Accident Lawyer
If you choose to work with a law firm, the quality of your lawyer matters in a personal injury claim. Stick with attorneys with extensive experience and an excellent track record of success in auto crash cases. They’re more likely to secure maximum compensation on your behalf than an inexperienced one.
Understanding Virginia’s Pure Contributory Negligence Rule in Motor Vehicle Accident Cases
Virginia is a “fault state” that adopts the pure contributory negligence system for determining liability in auto crash claims. Under this rule, victims who contributed to the accident cannot claim damages for their accident injuries. Virginia doesn’t take the degree of fault into consideration. So, even if you were even 1% at fault in your accident, you remain disqualified from collecting damages.
Essential Strategies for Dealing With Insurance Adjusters
Winning a personal injury case in Virginia depends hugely on your negotiation skills when dealing with insurance companies. Generally, these best practices can help to ensure that you reach a fair settlement:
- Ensure that your demand letter is detailed and persuasive
- Don’t be in a hurry to settle your claim by agreeing to the first offer
- Gather enough evidence to prove all your allegations
- Remain respectful but firm
- Ensure that the insurance company can give clear and reasonable reasons for their settlement offer
- Never handle your negotiation process without a Virginia auto accident lawyer, if you are planning to work with one
Do I Need an Experienced Virginia Auto Accident Lawyer?
One of the decisions you must make after a car accident is whether you need legal representation to succeed. Here’s why hiring an experienced car accident attorney might be a good decision:
The first step to getting a fair settlement in your case is determining what amounts to maximum compensation. Your personal injury lawyer can act as an accident settlement calculator to give you an estimate of your case’s worth. This will help you know when the insurance company is trying to cheat you of what you deserve.
Auto accident cases can be confusing, overwhelming, and complicated. Without help from an experienced Virginia auto accident lawyer, you risk making irreversible mistakes in your claim. Personal injury lawyers know the law and will ensure that you don’t jeopardize your chances of success by breaking them.
Winning a car accident case requires that you produce lots of evidence. First, you must show that the defendant owed you a duty of care and breached it. You’ll also need to prove that the injury you sustained resulted from the accident the responsible party caused. All these require concrete evidence that your personal injury attorney will gather to make a strong case on your behalf.
From obtaining accident reports to collaborating with accident reconstruction experts, personal injury attorneys can help to investigate your claim after a car accident. This will help uncover essential facts proving the at-fault party’s liability.
Car accident attorneys are skilled negotiators who will leverage their experience to secure a fair settlement sum on your behalf. They understand the insurance company policies and common tactics the insurance adjusters may use to deny your case’s worth.
This means that they’ll quickly detect when the insurance companies are merely wasting your time. In such cases, your lawyers will promptly file a lawsuit to meet up with the Statute of Limitations.
Legal Representation in Lawsuits
Your personal injury lawyer will follow your case to the end and will represent your interest in a lawsuit. They’ll file your case in court, prepare the relevant documents, and put forward a strong argument in your favor.
Speak With a Virginia Auto Accident Lawyer After a Car Accident
Do you wish to ease your financial burden and get fair compensation? Then you need to hold the at-fault party responsible via a personal injury lawsuit or claim. Unfortunately, auto crash cases are quite complicated in Virginia. Even the littlest mistakes can significantly reduce your chances of maximum compensation.
Fortunately, our injury attorneys at VACAIL will handle your insurance claim process from start to finish. From gathering evidence to top-notch legal representation, we’ll fight for fair compensation for your financial losses.
Do you want to learn more about how we can help you get justice? Book a free consultation with us today. We work on a contingency fee basis.
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