Petersburg Car Accident Lawyer
With several major highways crossing through the area—including Interstate 95, Interstate 295, and Interstate 85—the Petersburg region sees more than its fair share of serious auto accidents. According to data gathered and published by the Virginia Highway Safety Office, 501 car accident injuries occurred in the city of Petersburg in the year 2015 alone. Many more serious highway accident injuries occurred in the surrounding communities, such as Fort Lee, Colonial Heights, Ettrick, and New Bohemia.
Innocent car accident victims deserve fair compensation for their injuries. Sadly, full compensation remains difficult to obtain and is sometimes out of reach entirely for far too many accident victims. This is often because big insurance companies work hard to reduce the value of a victim’s case, sometimes even illegitimately denying a valid legal claim outright. At Emroch & Kilduff, our experienced Petersburg car accident attorneys can help you fight back. If you were injured in an auto accident, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today to set up your free initial consultation.
Common Auto Accident Injuries
Auto accident injuries can vary dramatically; in some cases, the injuries are fortunately minor, while in many others, they are severe and even life-altering. In our four decades of serving car accident victims in Petersburg, Virginia, our firm has handled claims involving almost every possible type of injury. Some of the most common types of injuries that we have seen in Petersburg car accidents include:
- Whiplash and other soft tissue damage
- Torn muscles and ligaments
- Debilitating back injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Concussions and TBIs
- Severe psychological trauma
- Serious spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding or internal organ damage
- Car accident fatalities
Virginia Car Accidents: The Negligence Standard
Fault for an auto accident must be established by proving negligence. Essentially, negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care. In other words, if a party did something that was unsafe, based on the circumstances, and that unsafe action caused injury to another person, then that party can be held legally responsible for the victim’s damages. In most car accident cases, the unsafe actor is a driver. Car accident injury claims are governed by state law. Currently, the majority of states use the comparative negligence standard; however, Virginia remains one of the last jurisdictions that continues to operate under the pure contributory negligence standard. This is an important distinction, because under a contributory negligence system, if the victim is found to be at fault for even 1 percent of the crash, he or she may be barred from recovering any compensation at all. This is an incredibly harsh legal standard, and it means you must fight hard to demonstrate that the defendant was entirely at fault.
It bears mentioning that Virginia does use the “last clear chance” legal doctrine for auto accident claims. In some cases, this doctrine allows victims who were themselves partially negligent to recover financial compensation. To do so, they must prove that the defendant had the last opportunity to avoid the accident. This legal doctrine can sometimes mitigate the extreme harshness of the contributory negligence standard.
Car Accident Victims Deserve Fair Financial Compensation
In Virginia, auto accidents victims are eligible to recover financial compensation that is equivalent in value to the amount of their damages. To maximize your settlement offer, you must be able to properly document your damages. Our Petersburg car accident lawyers have helped our clients recover compensation for:
- Damages to their automobiles
- Medical bills and related expenses
- Long-term disability
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of lifestyle enjoyment
- Wrongful death
Four Tips for Dealing with Insurance Adjusters
If you were seriously injured in a Petersburg car accident, you will almost certainly need to seek compensation from an insurance company. This might be another driver’s insurance company, or it might even be your own insurer. Regardless, it is critically important that you understand the following key principle: The insurance company is not on your side. It is the opposing party in your case, and therefore, you cannot rely on it to help guide you through the confusing Virginia car accident claims process. Instead, you should seek guidance from an experienced Petersburg auto accident lawyer. Here, our team has put together a list of our top four tips to help you deal with insurance adjusters.
- Take some time to gather your thoughts: In many cases, insurance adjusters will try to get a statement from a victim immediately after their accident, well before the victim has had a chance to recover. Do not feel pressured into dealing with the insurance company before you are ready to do so. You are entitled to take some time to recover and gather yourself.
- Never admit fault: When speaking to an insurance adjuster, never admit or accept any fault for a car accident. Remember, Virginia is a contributory negligence state, so even partial fault could destroy your claim. The bottom line: It is not your place to assess whether you were in any way to blame for the wreck. Let your Petersburg auto accident lawyer deal with that issue.
- Never speculate about your crash: Additionally, you should never give any opinions about your accident. Please do not speculate about the crash or your injuries. If you say anything at all, you should always stick to straightforward, narrow statements of fact. Remember that the insurance company will use your statements against you.
- Always work through your lawyer: Finally, the very best thing you can do to protect yourself is to work with an experienced car accident lawyer. Your lawyer will be prepared for all of the insurance company’s tactics and strategies, and will work hard to protect your financial interests.
Were You Injured in a Petersburg Auto Accident?
Our car accident attorneys are standing by, ready to help. At Emroch & Kilduff, we have helped many injured victims recover full and fair compensation for their losses. To request a free legal consultation with our Petersburg, Virginia office, please do not hesitate to call us today at (804) 862-3600.