Richmond Car Accident Lawyer
The heightened penalties and increased law enforcement officer presence which Virginia has implemented over the past couple of years have helped decrease the number of accidents that plague the roadways throughout the state. However, unfortunately, a large number of accidents continue to occur each year, a number which seems set to increase based on the ongoing distractions which smartphones represent. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident in Virginia, you may wish to speak with a Richmond car accident attorney to learn if you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Car Accident Statistics in Virginia
In 2014, approximately 120,000 car accidents were reported throughout the state in Virginia. Out of this number, approximately 60,000 people were injured during the accidents, and 700 people were killed as a result of the accident. While these numbers seem staggering, they have historically been lower than the national average and represent an ongoing trend of decreasing accident rates which began in 2012. This could be due to a number of factors.
Fatality Rates: National vs. Virginia (2006-2015)
In 2013, Virginia passed a texting-while-driving law which increased the penalty for drivers who were pulled over for driving with a cell phone in hand to $125 (from $20). While critics of the law maintain that the law contains an obvious loophole wherein drivers may simply state that they are using their phone’s GPS feature, this law, along with more vigilant police forces have contributed to lowering the accident rate throughout the state.
Cities and counties in Virginia have also implemented various “no refusal weekends” on certain holiday weekends, which do not allow suspected drunk drivers to refuse a chemical test when they are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. During these weekends, magistrates are on call to sign the required warrants. These no-refusal weekends have helped curb the number of drunk driving accidents on the requisite weekends.
Daily Distribution of Fatal Crashes in Virginia (2015)
Statute of Limitations For Car Accidents in Virginia
Virginia, like all states, has laws known as “statutes of limitations,” which limit the time you have to file a lawsuit for injuries sustained in a car accident. Virginia Code section 8.01-243 states that the statute of limitations to file an injury claim following an accident is two years and the “clock” starts running from the date of the accident, not when the injury was first discovered. These limitations only apply to the deadline for filing a claim in court; the process and deadlines for filing a claim with an insurance company may very well differ. One other situation in which the two-year statute of limitations will not apply is if you get into a car accident with a government employee. In these situations, your chance for receiving compensation will be determined by the time limits set forth by the government.
The process of investigating an insurance claim and negotiating a settlement takes time so it is important to file your insurance claim as soon as possible following a car accident. By starting the claims process early, you increase the likelihood that your case will fall within the two-year deadline, even if you end up going to court. Staying within the statute of limitations will also allow you to keep all your options on the table, giving you more leverage during settlement talks. If the statute of limitations filing deadline is fast approaching, it may be wise to speak with a qualified Richmond car accident lawyer to ensure your rights are protected.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Richmond
If you are for the moment relatively uninjured, it is very important for you to coolly and calmly observe the exact circumstances. Make a note of all the details that you can see – such as the models and makes of the various vehicles involved, their respective positions, and whatever details you can remember at the time that may slip away from you later. These little pieces of data may be vital in guiding further investigations to either exonerate you or prove your case.
It is hard to overstate the importance of not admitting guilt or accepting immediate compensation on the spot either explicitly or implicitly. Be polite, ask the other people involved for their contact details and insurance information. There’s nothing wrong with being helpful and civil, but under no circumstances should you discuss who’s responsible. Anything you say here might be fodder for the other party to use in a personal injury case against you.
Get a Checkup and Preserve Receipts
When the police arrive, provide them with all the details that you have noted down. It’s important to remain calm and not to get agitated. Be as helpful and polite as you possibly can. Finally, get yourself checked up by a healthcare professional. Injuries are sometimes not immediately apparent especially following an accident. Be sure to keep all the receipts of any expenditure that you incur as a result – medications, doctors bills etc. All of this may prove to be of immense importance when determining the extent of the injuries and the consequent compensation.
One of the first thing you need to do after a car accident is notify the guilty driver’s insurance. People can be reluctant to report accidents because it can increase their premiums, so it is vital that you obtain all the information you can. This includes their insurance company, their policy number, and the name of their agent. Even if the accident seems minor, contact their company and brief them on the situation involving their policy holder.
You want to get back on the road as soon as possible. Most companies will insist on their authorization before you seek repairs. Things can get complicated if you get your car fixed before you receive a written approval or check so it pays to wait for their go-ahead. Remember that insurance companies do not get to decide where you get your car fixed. They may require that you get quotes from a couple of shops, but the choice is ultimately yours. It’s also possible for insurers to drag out the process to avoid settlement. If you feel that this is happening, cite Virginia’s Unfair Claim Settlement Practices to push for timely payment.
Unfortunately, sometimes people get hurt in car accident. Insurance companies will sometimes “sit” on a case if not pressed to deliver payment for damages. Contact a Virginia auto accident lawyer to ensure you are covered for every last treatment. You’re entitled to have your prescriptions, rehab treatments, and potential surgeries covered and a lawyer can be your aid in seeking full compensation. Do not sign any forms given to you by the guilty driver’s insurer until they have been reviewed by your lawyer. Our Richmond personal injury attorneys take your injuries very seriously, no matter the severity, and will have your best interest at heart.
Obtain Legal Help
As you can see, it’s not very difficult to follow basic common sense rules. Just a few precautions are necessary to make sure that you do not sabotage your case well before it commences. Don’t hesitate to obtain professional legal representation from an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer because if it comes to litigation, the other party will almost certainly have their own. The sooner you can get help the better. Contact us today to find out what we can do to help you protect yourself in the event of an auto accident. (804) 554-4444.
Car Accident Recovery
The aftermath of a car accident is undoubtedly chaotic. Between the exchanging of insurance paperwork (if the injuries are not too severe), to the towing of the car, and to the inevitable recovery, the Richmond car accident lawyers at Pendleton Law understand that the last thing most people think about is the cost of everything. However, this should remain at the forefront of your mind, especially as insurance agents begin to contact you attempting to settle any future claims.
As a victim of a car accident in Richmond, you are entitled to bring a claim for the injuries you suffered in the accident and the resulting costs, including:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages
- Future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
An experienced Richmond accident lawyer will be able to assist you in developing your claim for damages and in calculating the expenses, especially those which might not have a readily available valuation, such as emotional distress. The attorneys of Pendleton Law are well experienced in placing a value on future earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages that do not hold an easy valuation.
Consult a Richmond Car Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Virginia, do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at Pendleton Law. Our injury attorneys have years of experience in assisting our clients with their car accident claims and will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. We focus on your accident claim from the onset so you can focus on your recovery. Contact our Richmond, VA office today for your free consultation with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer in Richmond.
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