Virginia Auto Accidents Attorney
Virginia’s roadways are more crowded and dangerous than ever. Drivers are frequently distracted with handheld and in-vehicle technology. Plus, it seems everyone is always in a hurry. Distracted and hurried drivers can cause serious damage to property and injuries to motorists.
Contrary to popular belief, insurance companies are not on your side. An experienced and aggressive car accident lawyer can seek a settlement that properly compensates for your injuries.
Our detailed knowledge of Virginia’s automobile insurance and liability law means that we understand the different sources of recovery available to car accident victims and their families, as well as the various theories of liability that let those victims collect from the parties who caused them harm.
If you’ve been severely injured in a car accident, then you likely understand the physical and emotional costs of your injuries. Emroch & Kilduff knows how to properly calculate and document the costs associated with car accident injuries and how to present those facts on your behalf.
If you have been in an auto accident please contact us for a free and confidential case evaluation, contact us today. Contact us online or call 888-358-1568
Dealing With Auto Insurance After Auto Accident
In many car accidents, there is often a dispute as to who is at fault. It is a common misconception that those injured in a car accident do not need representation from an automotive accident attorney, or they should get details from insurance companies before contacting an attorney.
There is one important fact to understand about insurance companies – they are quick to process claims and will attempt to do so for as little cost as possible. This is precisely why you should consult with an experienced Virginia car accident attorney.
Insurance companies commonly try to be helpful during your stressful situation, but could actually be collecting information that could be used to pay you less compensation than you deserve.
Due to the intricacies that are a part of most accidents, it is very necessary to consult with an attorney, and seeking legal representation can usually result in better compensation.
Car Accident FAQs
With 5,045,857 licensed drivers on the road in Virginia, accidents are an everyday occurrence. An average of 6 million car accidents takes place in the U.S. each year. According to Virginia Traffic Crash Facts, 127,375 motor vehicle accidents took place in one recent year in Virginia, injuring 65,306 people killing 843. These numbers are so large they become almost meaningless until an accident happens to you or someone you love.
What are some common driving risks?
Car accidents happen for many reasons. To reduce your risk of accidents, avoid these circumstances:
- Speeding – According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speed is one of the most common factors in accidents in the U.S. In 2017, speeding killed 9,717 people, accounting for more than a quarter (26 percent) of all traffic fatalities that year. Some crashes result from breaking the speed limit. Other drivers were going too fast for conditions.
- Distracted driving – About 20 percent of Virginia traffic accidents each year are related to in-vehicle distractions. Whenever you are eating, changing the settings on the stereo, entertainment, or navigation system, or doing anything else that diverts your attention from driving, you are taking a huge risk. Texting is especially risky. A driver who is texting is 23 times as likely to crash as a driver who is not.
- Driving while impaired – Alcohol is a major factor in traffic accidents. There was an alcohol-impaired traffic fatality every 48 minutes during 2017. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drunk drivers kill 30 people in accidents on a typical day. Virginia has strict laws and penalties governing impaired driving.
- Tailgating and aggressive driving – There are many aggressive drivers on the roads. They follow too closely, swerve in and out of lanes, cutting off other cars, or otherwise drive recklessly. NHTSA found that more than half of the drivers in a survey admitted to driving aggressively.
- Failure to yield – These accidents happen in many situations, such as when a driver makes a left turn in front of oncoming traffic, fails to yield at a flashing red light, or enters the street from a private driveway in front of another vehicle. Often the victim collides with the car that failed to yield.
- Drowsy driving – Everyone is under pressure to work harder and do more in a day, so driver fatigue is common. Approximately 7.5 million drivers in the United States admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel within the past month. A fatigued driver may experience the same level of cognitive impairment as someone impaired by drinking or drugs. Fatigued drivers often do not try to stop or avoid the accident, leading to more serious injuries.
- Vehicle defects – Do everything possible to make sure your vehicle is safe. Research a vehicle’s safety record before you buy it, then follow the recommended maintenance program. As motor vehicles become more sophisticated and technologically advanced, there are more chances for safety defects and recalls. If a defective vehicle or component caused an accident, the manufacturer and others in the chain of distribution might be legally liable.
What types of injuries do victims suffer in car accidents?
Common types of injuries include:
- Back and neck injuries. These range from mild neck pain to severe spinal cord injuries that result in paralysis. Serious back and neck injuries can result in long-term disability.
- Head injuries. Brain trauma also ranges from mild to severe. Head injuries or traumatic brain injuries may not be immediately apparent, but they can be devastating. Watch out for symptoms such as headaches, nausea, cognitive impairment, and loss of motor functions.
- Internal injuries. Car accident victims may suffer from blunt force trauma to vital organs. Internal bleeding is dangerous and difficult to treat.
- Rib and torso injuries. The rib cage protects our vital organs. Therefore, injuries to the ribs and torso can be dangerous.
- Lacerations and burns. Lacerations and burns from motor vehicle accidents can be very painful. They may also leave the victim with disfiguring scars.
- Broken Bones. Arms and legs are particularly vulnerable in a car crash. Broken bones may require long-term treatment or surgery.
- Seat belt injuries. Everyone knows that seat belts save lives, but sometimes they also contribute to injuries, such as whiplash.
- Wrongful death. The family or heirs of someone killed in an accident might be eligible for compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
What is the law on negligence in Virginia?
If someone’s negligence caused your accident and your resulting injuries, you might be able to recover compensation under personal injury law. The definition of negligence is “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” If you are filing a lawsuit based on someone’s negligence, you need to establish “the existence of a legal duty that the defendant owed to the plaintiff, defendant’s breach of that duty, plaintiff’s sufferance of an injury, proof that defendant’s breach caused the injury.”
What compensation might be awarded to an accident victim?
If you have been injured in a car accident, you have probably suffered catastrophic personal and financial losses. Damages vary widely, but may include reimbursement for medical care, lost wages, loss of future income, pain, suffering, and emotional trauma, and loss of quality of life.
How can you help prevent accidents?
Defensive driving can help you avoid crashes. Here are some tips:
- Watch out for blind spots. These are the spots on either side of your car where a vehicle right next to you is difficult or impossible to see. Remember that other drivers also have these blind spots, especially if you are passing them or right next to them. Always looking over your shoulder before switching lanes helps you to avoid blind spot accidents.
- Scan the road. Be aware of more than just the car in front of you. Scanning the road will give you time to react to sudden changes in traffic or dangers on the road.
- Avoid fast lanes. If you drive in the middle or right lane as much as possible, you will have more options to move into other lanes and thereby escape collisions.
- Keep both hands on the wheel. People often drive with one hand on the wheel, or both hands on the bottom of the steering wheel. However, you will have the best control if you are driving with your hands at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions.
- Be aware of other drivers. We have all seen drivers swerving in and out of lanes or driving while distracted. When you are uncomfortable with someone else’s driving, either stay back or try to get out of harm’s way.
Do I have to notify the police after a car accident?
Whether you are required to notify the police following a car accident depends on the specific circumstances of the accident. If anyone involved in the accident has died or suffered injuries, Virginia law requires that those involved immediately report the accident. Failure to do so can result in a Class 4 misdemeanor charge.
When accidents are severe, reporting is typically not an issue. You, the other driver, or a passerby or witness may have called 911, which alerted law enforcement and emergency response teams to respond to the scene of the accident. If the police arrive at the accident scene, they will compile a formal accident report, and you will not be required to report the accident yourself. If you have been involved in an accident, especially one you believe was not your fault, it’s best to report it regardless of the nature of your injuries. The record and formal report of your accident can be valuable evidence to support an insurance claim or lawsuit.
I am only a little sore. Do I have to go to the doctor?
If you denied medical treatment at the scene of the accident and went home, you should nonetheless seek a medical evaluation as soon as you can. Some common car accident injuries do not immediately exhibit symptoms, and may only be apparent days or weeks after the accident. If you fail to receive a proper diagnosis, you cannot treat your injuries to a full recovery. In some cases, failing to seek treatment right away can cause additional injury.
Of course, your health and wellbeing should be your top priority. However, documentation of your injuries will be required should you decide to pursue an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Oftentimes, at fault parties will attempt to argue that a victim’s injuries were not the result of the accident, but rather that the injuries were preexisting. An evaluation by a medical professional after an accident can help support your claim that the injuries resulted from the accident.
I did not cause the car accident. Do I have to file an insurance claim?
Virginia is an “at fault” insurance state, which means that the party who causes a car accident has financial responsibility for damages. Even if you did not cause the accident, you should still file a claim with your carrier. In most cases, insurance policies require the holder to report damage when their coverage will apply to the accident. Failure to report can have negative consequences for your claim. For example, your claim may be denied and the insurance company may reject policy renewal or cancel your policy completely. Be sure to read the specific terms of your policy to determine whether you have a duty to report the accident to your insurance provider. Your car accident lawyer can help you do this.
If your vehicle needs replacement or repairs, you may have to wait for the other driver’s insurance company to accept liability. In some cases, insurance companies may refuse to accept responsibility for your claim. When providers refuse to negotiate a fair settlement, injured parties may have to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for property damage. If a lawsuit is necessary, you may have to wait to secure compensation for your damaged vehicle, but you could recover more money.
When you file a claim under your own collision coverage, your carrier may approve repairs or replacement of your vehicle. Typically, your insurance company will cover the costs upfront and subsequently seek reimbursement from the at fault driver’s insurance company. Again, your Virginia car accident lawyer can help you through this process.
Finally, even though you believe the other person caused the accident, he or she can always claim that you contributed to causing the accident. If you immediately report the accident to your carrier and call a Virginia car accident lawyer, they can defend you against the other driver’s attempts to discredit your claim.
An uninsured driver struck my car. Now what?
Uninsured drivers who cause damage to other vehicles can leave injured parties in a difficult financial situation.Virginia law does not require drivers to carry uninsured motorist (UM) insurance. However, if the policy you chose includes UM coverage, it will provide compensation for accident-related damages within the limits of your policy coverage. If your policy does not include UM coverage, you may have to pursue damages outside of the insurance claims system.
Either you will be responsible for the costs of damages or you may file a personal injury claim against the uninsured driver to seek compensation. An experienced car accident attorney can help injured victims fully understand their legal rights and options for moving forward.
Should I accept a settlement offer?
Consult a Virginia car accident attorney before accepting any settlement offers from the other driver’s insurance company following an accident. Insurance representatives are quick to offer an inadequate settlement when they believe they are likely to be fully liable for accident damages. When insurance companies know they are responsible for a claim, they may try to entice injured victims with quick cash to limit the extent of their financial exposure.
Almost every settlement offer includes a waiver of the injured party’s right to seek additional compensation. Accepting a settlement will bar you from recovering additional funds even if the settlement amount is insufficient to cover the costs you incurred.
Should I hire an attorney after a car accident in Virginia?
Yes. First, take advantage of a free consultation and case evaluation with our Virginia car accident lawyers. A consultation will allow an attorney to determine whether the firm is equipped to handle your case. In severe accidents, involving serious and catastrophic injuries, experienced personal injury lawyers can provide invaluable advice throughout the claims process. In addition to handling the complex details of your case, when appropriate, an attorney may investigate the accident, gather documents and evidence, and handle negotiations with insurance companies. Meanwhile, you will be able to fully focus on your recovery and rehabilitation.
What can a car accident attorney do for you?
Even car accidents that seem simple often have complicated legal issues. Be aware that Virginia, like all states, has time limits for filing lawsuits, called the statute of limitations. Therefore, if you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. Our experienced, dedicated attorneys at Emroch and Kilduff will evaluate your claim and fight for the compensation you deserve. For further information or a free consultation, call (804) 358-1568 or contact us online.
Experience and Success
The committed team at Emroch & Kilduff has considerable history in pursuing appropriate compensation for auto accident victims.
Below are a few examples of car accident cases our team has represented. NOTE: the recoveries in these cases are not necessarily indicative of recoveries in similar cases in the future, since each case must be decided on its own facts and circumstances.
Serving Richmond, Fredericksburg, Petersburg, and Tappahannock
Emroch & Kilduff has offices conveniently located in Richmond, Fredericksburg, Petersburg, and Tappahannock. If your injuries are so severe that you cannot come to our office, we will travel to you.
Our team is committed to fighting for those who have been injured by no fault of their own. We won’t let your injury prevent you from fighting for compensation you deserve.
Call us today at 888-358-1538 so one of our car accident lawyers can put a plan together for your case.
How Negligence Factors in Virginia Auto Accident Cases
Virginia is one of five states that uses contributory negligence instead of comparative negligence. The majority of states use the doctrine of comparative negligence, which means that when both the victim and the defendant contributed to an accident by failing to exercise a reasonable degree of care and caution, each party’s degree of liability is apportioned.
Contributory negligence means that if the plaintiff is proven even 1% at fault, they may not receive any compensation for damages because they contributed to the harm they’ve suffered.
Last clear chance is a doctrine that is used in contributory negligence jurisdictions like Virginia. It allows some room for recovery by an accident victim. Under last clear chance, a negligent plaintiff can recover damages if he or she is able to prove that the defendant had the last opportunity to avoid the accident. The general purpose of last clear chance is to mitigate the severity of the contributory negligence rule.
How Much Is A Claim Worth?
The amount truly depends on your very particular circumstances. A person who is responsible for an injury may have to pay the injured person for such things as:
- medical care and related expenses
- income lost because of the accident, and/or because of time spent unable to work or undergoing treatment for injuries
- permanent physical disability or disfigurement
- loss of family, social and educational experiences, including missed school or training, vacation or recreation, or a special event
- emotional damages, such as stress, embarrassment, depression or strains on family relationships
Also, the following guidelines usually apply:
- The more painful the injury, the higher the potential damages you may recover.
- The more invasive and long-lasting the medical treatment, the higher the potential damages you may recover.
- The longer the recovery period, the higher the potential damages you may recover.
- The more serious and visible any permanent effect of the injury, the higher the potential damages you may recover.
A personal injury attorney can be more objective about your case than you can be and will not make a rash decision. When you may be tempted, for instance, to go for a quick payout, your attorney may counsel you that it is in your best interests to wait for a more appropriate offer.
For a free and confidential case evaluation, contact us today.
Contact us online or call 888-358-1568
What Our Clients Say About Our Virginia Auto Accident Lawyers
“Everyone I dealt with at the firm was kind and professional. Given the unfortunate circumstances that led to my acquaintance with E&K, I at least found the aftermath smooth. Thank you for making a terrible experience very much better! I am extremely grateful.”
“Everyone was very friendly and courteous. I was updated constantly on what was going on. My phone calls and questions were answered promptly. I dealt with two lawyers in the past ten years on different matters. Phone calls were never returned after one year into both cases. The lawyers contacted me and removed themselves from the cases, leaving me high and dry.”
Experienced Lawyers With Many Types of Auto Injury & Car Accident Cases
Through real-world experience and knowledge of Virginia tort law, Emroch & Kilduff understands there are many unique factors that should be considered in each case.
Here are a few types of motor vehicle injury cases that our teams are familiar with:
Serious car accidents, truck collisions, tractor-trailer and motorcycle accidents require the guidance of an experienced attorney.
Fortunately, our firm has many years of practice and a record of successful representation of people who have suffered significant injuries in motor vehicle accidents, both commercial and personal.
We will investigate your accident, and will aggressively seek justified compensation from all parties responsible for your injuries. We work with physicians and other healthcare providers to assess and review all the short- and long-term medical aspects of each case.
Virginia Auto Accident Lawyers @ Emroch & Kilduff
As the victim of a car accident, you are urged to seek representation from an automotive accident attorney. Otherwise, representatives from insurance companies may take advantage of you if you aren’t aware of Virginia’s stringent laws. You may be entitled to more compensation than you expect.
Hiring an experienced Virginia auto accident lawyer is the best route to understanding Virginia’s contributory negligence law, solving your accident case and receiving fair compensation.
If you’ve been injured in a car or auto accident, you deserve to know your rights. Do not hesitate to contact us, or visit one of our offices in Richmond, Petersburg, Tappahannock, or Fredericksburg for a consultation with an accident injury specialist.