Petersburg Car Accident Attorneys
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 car accident attorneys in Petersburg 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 Statistics in Petersburg, VA
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.
Petersburg Car Accident FAQ
Around 180 people are injured in car accidents in Virginia each day, and more than 800 are killed each year. For example, a 32-year-old Petersburg woman was recently arrested following a wrong-way crash that killed two people, including a toddler, and caused serious injuries to others. The accident occurred late at night on I-95 a half mile south of the Woods Edge Road interchange. The Jeep allegedly collided with a vehicle head on in the center lane. The Jeep then struck another vehicle before it ran off the roadway.
Unfortunately, a 43-year-old woman and a one-year-old boy lost their lives at the scene of the accident. Two other women and a baby in the first vehicle were transported to the hospital with injuries. The driver of the second vehicle was also transported to the hospital to treat injuries.
The wrong-way driver was reportedly charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter, two counts of felony DUI maiming, and a misdemeanor charge for two DUI offenses within a 10-year period.
If you were injured or have lost a loved one in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, we have answers to some frequently asked questions we receive from clients seeking to file a claim.
What are the options for someone who has been injured in a Petersburg car accident?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Virginia, you may be entitled to pursue compensation for accident-related expenses, including impacts your injuries have had on your life.
Injured victims may seek compensation in one of three ways:
- File a claim with your own insurance company. Your policy should include personal injury protection or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
- File a third-party claim with the insurance company that insures the liable party.
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party’s insurance carrier.
What are damages, and which damages am I able to recover through a car accident lawsuit?
Damages are the expenses you have incurred, both financially, as well as physically and emotionally from being injured in an accident.
Some of the damages you may be entitled to recover in a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident include:
- Economic damages. Medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity (if your injuries result in a permanent disability that prevents you from performing the same work-related activities as you performed before the accident), and the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle may be included in a claim for damages.
- Non-economic damages. These damages include the impacts the injury has on your life and may include physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and trauma.
- Punitive damages. These damages are distinct from the damages sought for economic expenses and non-economic impacts obtained on behalf of the plaintiff. Punitive damages punish defendants for particularly egregious behavior. When awarding punitive damages, judges and juries hope to deter similar behavior in the future.
If I file a car accident lawsuit, am I going to court?
Filing a personal injury lawsuit does not necessarily mean that you will litigate your claim in court. In fact, very few personal injury cases go to trial—most are settled after the discovery phase. During the discovery phase, parties on both sides of the legal dispute share the evidence that they have available to prove their case. An experienced personal injury attorney may investigate a claim to identify potentially responsible parties. In addition, they may gather evidence to support their client’s claim of liability.
The driver who caused my accident was uninsured. What should I do?
When the party who caused an accident is uninsured, it may complicate an injured victims’ claim. Funds provided by insurance policies are typically the primary resource for compensating injured victims. If the responsible party is uninsured, your own insurance policy may extend coverage for your claim. Talk to an experienced attorney to gain a better understanding of the legal options available in your specific situation.
The at-fault party’s insurance company wants to speak with me. Should I?
No. Ask our experienced Petersburg car accident attorneys to do it for you. Insurance companies aim to limit their financial exposure. As such, they strive to avoid large payouts for injuries sustained in car accidents. To avoid large payouts, insurance company representatives may try to discredit the value of a claim or entice injured victims into accepting a low-ball settlement offer. Almost every initial offer provided by an insurance company fails to take into consideration the full amount of expenses that the victim has incurred or will incur in the future.
A Petersburg car accident attorney can help injured victims avoid making statements that might be used to indicate liability. As such, injured victims can maximize the value of their claim.
How long do I have after an accident to file a Petersburg car accident lawsuit?
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit is generally two years after the date of the accident.
If you were injured in a car accident in Petersburg, our experienced car accident attorneys are ready to discuss the legal options that are available to you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation.
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.
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