Car accidents are a persistent threat to the safety of Petersburg residents. Which is why reckless or intentionally negligent drivers must be held accountable for their actions. If you or a loved one have sustained injuries due to another’s irresponsible driving, you are entitled to seek compensation for your losses.
Filing a car accident injury claim without legal representation is nearly impossible. Predatory insurance companies will do everything they can to ensure you’re paid the lowest amount possible. Working with a Pendleton Law car accident lawyer in Petersburg can dramatically increase your chances of receiving an equitable settlement or court-awarded payment.
What Losses Can a Petersburg Car Accident Attorney Can Recover for Me?
If you are injured by a negligent driver, a car accident attorney in Petersburg can help you win damages. Depending on your situation, they’ll seek compensation by filing a claim with your insurance company or the at fault driver’s. They can also take the offending driver to court if a reasonable settlement isn’t offered.
When it comes to car accident claims, you can demand payment for a number of losses. Hiring an experienced car accident attorney is a smart choice if you wish to pursue the following damages:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Damage to property
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of ability to perform tasks in day-to-day life
- Sorrow and mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of deceased’s potential earnings and benefits
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Punitive damages
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What Kinds of Car Accident Cases Have You Helped?
Our attorneys have decades of experience fighting for car accident victims. Over the years, they’ve worked on every kind of case imaginable. If you were injured by a reckless driver, they’ll be able to help you file a claim no matter how complex the incident was.
Whether you were a pedestrian, riding a bike, or operating a motor vehicle, our skilled lawyers can build a solid case for your injuries. Here are some of the car accidents they’ve built claims for in the past:
- Distracted driving accidents
- DUI accidents
- Fatal accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Uninsured motorist accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Criminal speeding and reckless driving
- Accidents involving wrongful death
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What Will a Car Accident Lawyer Do to Win My Case?
In order to get compensation from a car accident, our car accident lawyers in Petersburg, VA, have to prove that your injuries were caused by the negligence of the offending driver. To do so, your attorney will have to answer the four following questions:
- Who is liable for the accident?
- Was that person negligent?
- Were you damaged (physically, financially, etc)?
- Did their negligence cause those damages?
If we can find evidence that answers these questions, we can maximize your compensation. Naturally, the other side will try to introduce evidence that will deny your claim or reduce your compensation under the terms of the policy. Luckily, our car accident lawyers have years of experience collecting solid evidence and proving liability beyond a reasonable doubt.
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Determining Liability in a Petersburg Car Accident
Petersburg operates under Virginia’s fault-based system. For car accident victims, this means the person who is at-fault for the accident is financially responsible for any losses caused. The liable party’s insurer will then be on the hook for compensating injured parties in the car crash, up to policy limits.
Our car accident attorneys will work with experts and gather as much evidence as possible in order to paint an accurate picture of the accident you were injured in. Here’s what they’ll do to prove that the offending driver is responsible for your losses:
- Call on accident experts. Accident experts use evidence from the scene of the incident to show how it happened and who is at fault. They’ll observe things like tire marks, vehicle damage, and property damage in order to determine how the incident played out. Their expert status makes their testimony invaluable in a court of law.
- Analyze police reports. It’s important that you contact the police if you were in a car accident. Your attorney can use their account to bolster your claim.
- Interviewing witnesses. If there were any witnesses to the accident you were in, your lawyer can contact them and request a meeting. They’ll take down their account of the incident and use it to hold the guilty party accountable for their actions.
- Collecting photographic evidence. Photographic or video evidence of the scene of the accident can be used in your favor. If such evidence exists, you can be confident that your attorney will locate it and use it to help your case.
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Recovering Losses When You Were Partially At-Fault
Under Virginia’s contributory negligence rule, victims who are found to be at fault in any capacity cannot collect compensation in court. However, you still have a chance at recovering losses if you were partially responsible for the incident.
Virginia Supreme Court’s “last clear chance doctrine” allows partially at-fault victims to collect a reduced payment under one condition. They must prove that the defendant recognized that an accident was imminent and had the final opportunity to prevent it, but failed to do so.
A Petersburg Car Accident Attorney Can Deal With the At-Fault Driver’s Insurer
When it comes to car accident cases, it’s common for the offending driver’s insurance company to offer a settlement in order to avoid a costly legal battle. If you are contacted by an insurer and offered an early payment, we urge you to consult a car accident lawyer before agreeing to anything.
Seeking legal counsel is essential, because it’s likely that the insurance company’s offer isn’t enough to offset the losses you’ve incurred. A Petersburg car accident attorney at Christina Pendleton & Associates can determine how much your claim is worth, negotiate with the insurance company, and take the at-fault driver to court if an appropriate payment isn’t offered.
Let Your Car Accident Lawyer Talk to Insurance Adjusters
Your enemy in a car insurance claim is often not the other driver. It’s their insurance company. Insurance adjusters will reach out to you for information after an accident, but what you give them and what they get you to agree to can jeopardize your claim.
Insurance adjusters investigate accidents and adjust the amount of compensation they’ll award claimants. The ball is in their court and they’ll expect you to go along with it. That’s why you need a lawyer to give them the proper story and make them pay what they should. If you do end up having to speak with an adjuster, here are some tips for communicating with them:
- Don’t admit fault. If you find yourself speaking to an adjuster, it’s critical that you don’t accept responsibility for the accident. They can use anything you say against you, so make sure you don’t say something that could be interpreted as an admission of guilt.
- Have a lawyer present. You never want to speak to an adjuster by yourself. They’ll try to trick you into saying something that minimizes the severity of your injuries or shifts the blame from their client. A lawyer can help you communicate in a way that doesn’t hurt your case.
- Don’t offer an opinion on the accident. When talking to an adjuster, make sure your statements are brief and factual. Speaking in-depth about your injuries could lead you to say something that allows the defendant’s lawyer to minimize your pain and suffering. The same goes for your opinions about the accident. If you talk about how you might have avoided the accident, it could be argued that you were partially responsible for what happened.
- Stay calm and collected. It’s important to take your time and remain calm when speaking to insurance adjusters. If you go into the meeting with a lot of anxiety you might say something that could be misconstrued as an admission of guilt. Make sure to consider how your words could be used against you before you speak. This is less of an issue when you have a skilled car accident attorney present. They’ll help you communicate in a focused and effective manner.
You Can Still Seek Compensation If the Party at Fault Is Uninsured
Virginia is an unusual state because it doesn’t require all drivers to carry auto insurance. There is an option that drivers can choose to pay a $500 fee to the DMV to drive a car without coverage. However, if they get in a crash, they could be personally responsible for paying damages.
If you are injured by a negligent driver who was not insured at the time of the crash, they may have to pay out of pocket to compensate for your losses. However, there’s another way you can seek payment if the at-fault driver can’t afford to pay. Depending on the specifics of your insurance coverage, you might be able to use your own policy to recover losses.
A car accident attorney in Petersburg will be able to determine if your car insurance offers coverage for your claim. Our lawyers have decades of experience handling cases in which the offending driver lacks the proper insurance. If there’s a way to get you compensated, you can be confident that your lawyer will take advantage of it.
Chances Your Car Accident Claim Will Go to Trial
Filing an injury claim doesn’t guarantee you’ll have to take your case to court. In fact, the odds of your claim going to trial are low. That’s because most car accident claims settle out of court. In most cases, the offending driver’s lawyer will recognize that fighting a lengthy court battle is far more expensive than offering a fair settlement, so they choose the latter option.
Hiring a car accident attorney is your best bet for securing a sufficient settlement. They know how to negotiate with insurance companies to get you the highest payment possible. In the event that a settlement isn’t offered, your lawyer is fully prepared to file a lawsuit.
Deadline for Filing a Car Accident Injury Claim in Virginia
According to Code of Virginia § 8.01-243, you have two years from the date of the accident to file an injury claim. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Petersburg, It’s important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. They’ll ensure that all the necessary paperwork is filed within the legal deadline.
Waiting to seek legal counsel in the wake of a car accident can have additional negative consequences. If anyone witnessed the incident, you’ll want their memories to be fresh if they need to testify in court. The longer you wait to file a claim, the more blurred and inaccurate their recollection of the accident will become.
You’ve Got Nothing to Lose From Contacting a Car Accident Attorney
If you’re wondering if filing a car accident injury claim is worth your while, remember that you have nothing to lose from hiring legal counsel to help you seek compensation. That’s because most car accident attorneys in Petersburg work for a contingency fee.
That means your lawyer will work for a portion of your settlement or court-awarded payment. The benefit of a contingency fee agreement is that you won’t have to pay out of pocket if you lose your case. Consequently, your attorney will be highly motivated to win you a fair payment, as their livelihood depends on it.
Our Petersburg, VA, Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
If you’re in need of compensation to recover from injuries and losses sustained in a car accident, hiring a skilled attorney is crucial. They’ll be able to estimate the value of your claim, negotiate with insurers, prove that the offending driver is liable, and ensure your claim is filed correctly and on time.
Call us or fill out a contact form to schedule a free consultation today. Our car accident lawyers in Petersburg have a wealth of experience and knowledge that they bring to every case they work on. You’ll be glad you reached out to the Pendleton Law Team when you see how dedicated our lawyers are to getting you back on your feet after an accident.
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