No matter how carefully you drive, you can still be seriously injured in a car accident caused by another party’s negligence. Should this happen to you, you can hold those responsible accountable. In car accidents, you may sustain damage to your vehicle as well as medical bills for psychological and physical injuries: it’s a financial burden you should not have to deal with on your own.
Unfortunately, a lot of people find themselves with severe injuries after a car accident that they didn’t cause. Between 2016 and 2020, there were 105,600 crashes in the Commonwealth of Virginia that resulted in 847 fatalities and 52,668 injuries. If an inattentive or drunk driver leaves you with catastrophic injuries or kills someone you love, you deserve to have a committed advocate in your corner.
At Poole Brooke Plumlee PC, we have seen first-hand what an accident can do to you and your loved ones. After years of representing people who have been injured in car accidents or who have lost loved ones in fatal accidents, we are confident that we can get you the compensation you deserve. We have successfully recovered damages for many clients in and around Virginia Beach and will fight for a similar outcome for you.
Common Causes of Virginia Car Accidents
Car accidents are typically caused by the recklessness, negligence, or carelessness of another driver. We have witnessed the devastation caused by a variety of motor vehicle accidents, including:
- Speeding accidents
- Accidents involving drunk drivers
- Accidents caused by distracted driving
- Rear-end collisions
- Head-on collisions
- T-bone collisions
- Crashes during lane changes
- Traffic pile-ups involving multiple vehicles
These accidents can be caused by many factors, including:
- Exceeding the speed limit
- Distracted driving
- Violation of traffic laws
- Drunk driving
- Drugged driving
- Driving recklessly
- Failure to yield
- Roads that are poorly maintained
- Defective traffic signals
- Vehicle parts that malfunction
Common injuries include broken bones, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, internal injuries, and severe emotional trauma that result in high medical expenses and years of healing.
No matter what caused your accident, a car accident lawyer at our firm can help you obtain fair compensation. We are all too familiar with the pain, suffering, and stress resulting from accidents, and we will fight for your right to be compensated.
Proving Negligence in a Virginia Beach Car Accident
In Virginia, car accident cases are typically based on a theory of negligence or carelessness. Generally, a person may be considered negligent if they fail to act with the level of care that a reasonable person would use in a similar situation.
To win a personal injury lawsuit, you must prove that the other party was negligent in some way. Negligence has four elements:
- Duty: the at-fault party (defendant) owed the victim (plaintiff) a duty of care
- Breach: the defendant breached (violated) that duty of care in some way
- Causation: the breach was the proximate (but for) cause of the accident
- Damages: the victim suffered losses as a result
A driver can be negligent in any number of ways. For example, a person who causes a wreck while texting and driving – in violation of Virginia’s distracted driving laws – could be considered negligent. Similarly, if a person is negligent if they pull out without checking both ways and cause a crash.
In some cases, a plaintiff doesn’t have to prove that the defendant was negligent if they violate state law or regulation, and that violation causes an accident. Under Virginia’s negligence per se laws, you can recover financial compensation if you can show:
- The defendant violated a statute enacted for public safety;
- The plaintiff belongs to a class of person for whose benefit the statute was enacted;
- The harm that the plaintiff suffered was the type of harm that the statute was intended to prevent; and
- The violation was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
Consider Virginia’s laws against driving at excessive rates of speed, which are meant to protect other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists from harm. If a driver is speeding and rear-ends another vehicle because they couldn’t stop in time, they may be held liable under a theory of negligence per se. However, if speeding wasn’t the direct cause of the accident, then the plaintiff may not be able to take advantage of this law.
While most Virginia Beach car accident cases involve negligence, there are some situations where the at-fault driver acted recklessly or intentionally – such as drunk driving accidents. In these cases, the injury victim may be able to recover compensation for their injuries and additional compensation meant to punish the wrongdoer.
Proving negligence can be complicated, particularly in cases involving hit and runs, single vehicle crashes, or multi-vehicle accidents. A skilled Virginia Beach car accident lawyer can work with you to help you get maximum compensation for your injuries.
Filing a Lawsuit for Your Virginia Beach Car Accident
If another driver – or another entity – was at fault for your car accident, then you can pursue a personal injury claim against them. The process typically starts during a free initial consultation with a personal injury law firm. During this appointment, an attorney will listen to your story, then offer you legal advice about your options for moving forward with a claim.
Once you have hired a personal injury lawyer, they will get to work right away. They will investigate the underlying facts of the case, which may involve interviewing witnesses, getting an accident report, gathering medical records, and seeking photos and videos from the accident scene. At the same time, they will research Virginia law to put together a strong claim for compensation.
Your attorney will then draft a demand letter, which will be sent to the at-fault party’s insurance company. A demand letter lays out the facts of the case, explains why the insured is legally responsible and makes a demand for compensation (damages). Typically, the insurance company will respond to the demand letter with a counteroffer.
Negotiations may take place over the course of weeks, months, or longer. The likelihood of getting a top dollar settlement for your accident is higher when you work with an experienced Virginia Beach car accident attorney. When the insurance company knows that your lawyer is ready, willing, and able to take your case to trial – and win – they are more likely to offer a fair settlement for your injuries.
In some cases, it may be necessary to go to trial. In court, your attorney will present arguments, question witnesses, and introduce evidence before asking the jury to return a verdict in your favor. Most personal injury cases are resolved outside of court.
One of the best ways to resolve your case quickly and for maximum compensation is to work with an aggressive automobile accident lawyer who is skilled at both negotiation and litigation. Your attorney will protect your legal rights and work hard to get you the best possible outcome. In Virginia Beach, contact Poole, Brooke, Plumlee as soon as possible after a crash to talk to a seasoned personal injury attorney.
Compensation for Virginia Car Accident Victims
A car accident can lead to significant physical and emotional injuries. It can also cause a tremendous amount of financial strain due to medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and more. While money cannot make you whole again, it can help you get back on track and move forward with your life after an accident.
Without compensation for your car accident, you may not be able to afford the medical treatment recommended by your doctor, and your injuries may worsen over time. Compensation may also prevent your family from entering into a financial crisis if you cannot work and/or earn as much as you did before.
In Virginia, you may be eligible for two types of damages in a personal injury claim: compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages include both economic and non-economic damages, which are meant to compensate you for your losses. Punitive damages are only awarded in cases where the defendant acted intentionally or recklessly, and are designed to penalize someone who engages in this type of conduct.
Economic damages compensate you for direct financial losses, such as:
- Medical bills
- Future medical expenses
- Loss of wages
- Loss of future income (also known as loss of earning ability)
- Property damage
- Treatment or therapy costs over a long period of time
- Burial and funeral expenses (for fatal car accidents/wrongful death claims)
These damages are often proven through invoices, pay stubs, and other documentation.
By contrast, non-economic damages provide compensation for intangible losses, which are harder to prove. They may include:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Loss of companionship (consortium)
Finally, punitive damages are available in rare cases where the defendant acted recklessly or intentionally, such as drunk or drugged driving accidents. In Virginia, punitive damages are capped at $350,000.
An auto accident lawyer at Poole Brooke Plumlee will collect all evidence needed to prove the value of your accident claim and even pursue punitive damages if the at-fault party was especially negligent or reckless. If insurance adjusters fail to offer a fair settlement, our experienced legal team can take your case to trial to get a just result.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
The shock that accompanies a motor vehicle accident can make it difficult to think clearly, but there are basic steps you can take to secure your right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party or parties.
- If possible, exit your vehicle and turn on your emergency flashers.
- Call 911 to get an ambulance and police at the scene as quickly as possible. The police will make an accident report that you can later use to support your accident injury claim.
- Take pictures of the vehicles and debris at the accident scene.
- Avoid apologizing or admitting wrongdoing. While it may seem impolite, admitting guilt might hurt your chances in court.
- Exchange contact and auto insurance information with the at-fault driver. If they left the scene, ask any eyewitnesses if they saw the license plate.
- Seek medical attention, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured. While some injuries are immediately apparent, others, including whiplash and traumatic brain injury, can take a while to show symptoms. Your medical provider will create a report that serves as additional evidence in your claim for compensation.
- Notify your car insurance company about the accident. Although the insurance company for the negligent driver is responsible for paying your medical bills, in some cases, your own automobile policy can also provide insurance coverage, especially if it includes medical expenses payments.
- Call an experienced car accident attorney. You should not expect auto insurance companies to take care of your best interests, as they will be looking to pay the least amount possible. The auto accident attorneys at our law firm will ensure that your rights and interests are well-protected.
Above all, remember that insurance companies are in business to make money. Their goal is not to make sure that you get maximum compensation for your injuries, but to protect their own bottom line by minimizing or even denying your claim outright. For this reason, it is vital that you protect our interests by reaching out to a Virginia Beach car accident attorney as soon as possible after a motor vehicle accident.
What if I Was Partly At Fault For My Car Accident?
In Virginia, recovering damages after a car accident can be more complicated than in other states, due to how state courts view and apply contributory negligence. This is why you should seek legal representation from an experienced attorney when pursuing a personal injury claim.
In most states, a plaintiff’s award for damages can be reduced if they’re partly liable for the automobile accident that injured them. For example, if you were awarded $40,000 but found to be 10% at fault, your award would be reduced by 10% and you would get $36,000 instead.
In Virginia, a plaintiff found liable for their own accident injuries (even if it’s only 1%) is ineligible to recover any financial compensation. Consequently, insurance adjusters often try to assign blame to injury victims and avoid paying out. Your personal injury lawyer at Poole Brooke Plumlee will fight to prevent the insurance company from unfairly attributing blame to you.
Will My Car Accident Case Go to Trial?
It’s always possible, but it’s not likely. In fact, fewer than 5% of personal injury cases actually go to trial. The insurance company will typically try to minimize your payout during the initial settlement offer and early stages of negotiation, but an experienced personal injury attorney who knows the value of your case will hold firm.
Even if your attorney has filed a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, it does not mean that your case will go to trial. Negotiations will typically continue throughout the pre-trial process as the parties exchange information and file legal motions.
In some instances, the insurer won’t make a fair offer until after a trial date has been set, only to be more reasonable afterward. Your attorney will keep you informed throughout negotiations and work to prevent your recovery from being impeded by lowball offers.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim?
Virginia auto accident victims have limited time to file an accident lawsuit, so it is important to act quickly. This is known as the statute of limitations. If you don’t file a claim within the statute of limitations, then your claim will be barred.
According to state law, a plaintiff who wishes to sue for personal injury damages only has two years after discovering their injuries-or two years after the date of a wrongful death-in which to do so. For injured minors, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years after their 18th birthday, unless they become emancipated or if their parents file for them. For a property damage claim, the deadline is five years.
The sooner you contact an experienced lawyer in Virginia Beach, the sooner you can get your case started. Talking to an attorney early in the process is an important way to protect your rights and ensure that you have the strongest possible claim for compensation.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
You don’t have to face the consequences of an accident alone. In this time of crisis, an experienced car accident lawyer at Poole Brooke Plumlee can help you and your family get the compensation you need to recover and become whole again.
We will help you through every step of the legal process. We have the experience and resources to thoroughly investigate your accident, collect evidence, build a solid case, and prepare for trial if the other party does not settle. Among the steps we can take:
- Reviewing your insurance policy
- Dealing with the insurance claims process
- Gathering evidence from the accident scene
- Collective evidence of losses such as medical expenses
- Gathering testimony from witnesses
- Reviewing accident and police reports
- Consulting with experts
- Viewing available photos and video footage of the accident
- Reviewing the driving record of the at-fault driver
Insurance companies are only interested in their profits, so they will do everything possible to reduce, devalue or even deny your auto accident claim. They use many tricks and tactics to prevent crash victims from receiving compensation, but we are prepared to overcome them. Our auto accident attorneys are also prepared to go to trial if the insurance company fails to provide fair compensation.
I Was in a Minor Car Accident in Virginia Beach. Do I Really Need a Lawyer?
If you were in any type of car crash, it is a good idea to reach out to a lawyer to learn more about your rights. Initial consultations are free of charge, and you can get a better idea of your options – and an estimate of the value of your case – by talking to an attorney. Even if you don’t end up hiring a lawyer, scheduling a consultation won’t cost you a thing and may help you get a better settlement.
Studies show that people who are represented by counsel recover as much as 40% more than people who represent themselves in car accident claims. Unless your crash only involved property damage, working with an attorney is the best way to get top dollar for your claim. To learn more, contact Poole, Brooke, Plumlee to schedule a free consultation with a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer.
Is Virginia a “No Fault” State for Car Accidents?
No. Virginia is a “fault” state, which means that if you were involved in an auto accident, the at-fault driver is financially responsible for the injuries that they caused. You can recover compensation for your losses by filing a claim with their insurance company, filing a claim with your own insurance company, and/or by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.
At Poole, Brooke, Plumlee, we have substantial experience representing injury victims who have been hurt in all types of accidents, from head-on collisions to side swipes to drunk driving crashes. We work hard to help our clients get the money that they deserve for their losses. Reach out to our law office today to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our legal team.
How Can I Afford a Lawyer for My Car Accident Case?
Most personal injury law firms handle these types of claims on a contingency fee basis. This means that you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket. Instead, you will pay a percentage of your settlement or verdict at trial to your attorneys. In this way, you can afford a lawyer even if you don’t have the cash on hand to pay a retainer or hourly fee.
Contingency fee arrangements have the added benefit of aligning your interests with your lawyer’s: you both want to resolve the case for as much money as possible, as quickly as possible. In Virginia Beach, contact Poole, Brooke, Plumlee to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with a skilled personal injury attorney.
Speak to a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer Who Cares
Being in a car accident can be incredibly traumatic, leaving you with physical injuries, emotional distress – and overwhelming bills. At Poole Brooke Plumlee PC, we know that many accidents are caused by negligence or reckless driving. Our law firm is here to help you seek justice. Without an attorney, you might accept a meager settlement and forfeit valuable compensation, and we don’t want that to happen to you.
Based in Virginia Beach, we represent injury victims throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our experienced car accident lawyers are on your side, working hard to maximize your recovery. To schedule a no-obligation initial consultation and case review with a Virginia Beach car accident attorney, please call our law office at (757) 499-1841 or fill out our online contact form.