After an automobile accident, you may be dealing with a lot – doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, getting your car fixed, and the emotional distress that is often associated with a traumatic event. You may also be incredibly stressed about being out of work and worried about how you’ll pay for everything. If the insurance company offers you a settlement, it may be tempting to just take that money so that you can move forward with your life.
Before you give a statement or sign anything, however, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced Virginia Beach car accident lawyer. An attorney will evaluate your case and advise you of your rights and options for filing an insurance claim. They’ll guide you through the process, take on the paperwork for you, and help you get maximum compensation for your injuries.
For over 30 years, the legal team of Poole, Brooke & Plumlee has advocated for injury victims in the greater Virginia Beach area. We are aggressive advocates for our clients, working hard to help them achieve the best possible outcome. Reach out today to schedule a free initial consultation with a VA car accident lawyer.
When Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney?
After a motor vehicle accident, you may be curious about whether you need a lawyer to help you with an insurance claim. If the crash was caused by something that someone else did – or failed to do – then you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. These claims are a type of personal injury lawsuit.
In Virginia, personal injury cases are often based on a theory of negligence or carelessness. Negligence is the failure to use ordinary care, which is the level of care that a reasonable person would have used under the circumstances. If you can prove that the other driver was negligent in some way, then you may be able to recover financial compensation for your property damage, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Negligence can happen in any number of ways. A person who texts while driving and causes an accident may be considered negligent. Similarly, a driver who makes a left turn across traffic without making sure that the coast is clear may be found negligent.
In some situations, another party can be found negligent – and held financially responsible for any losses – in a single-vehicle accident. For example, if you crash due to a poorly-maintained road, you might be able to file a lawsuit against the city responsible for taking care of the road. Alternatively, if you are in an accident because your brakes failed, then you might be able to pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of the brakes.
It can be hard to know whether you have a case if liability is not clear. During a free initial consultation with a Virginia Beach personal injury lawyer, you can get a better understanding of the law and your ability to file a claim. If you choose to pursue a lawsuit, your attorney can get to work right away to build a strong claim for damages.
What Should I Do After an Accident?
After a motor vehicle accident, the first and most important thing that you should do is seek medical attention. Having a doctor evaluate you can ensure that you get the right diagnosis and treatment. It also establishes a connection between the accident and your injuries, which can be useful in the future if the insurance company tries to argue that your injuries aren’t related to the crash.
While you are still at the accident scene, you may choose to call the police. When they arrive, they will investigate the cause of the crash, talk to witnesses, and document the wreck. An accident report can be strong evidence that you can use to build your claim.
You should also exchange information with the other driver, including your name, insurance, driver’s license, and any other relevant information. Do not tell them that you are sorry or otherwise admit fault. Anything that you say to the other driver could be used against you in any legal claim, so it is important to just stick to the facts.
At the same time, try to take pictures and videos of the accident scene, your vehicle, and your injuries. As with the accident report, pictures and videos can be really important evidence for your case. If you can, write down the name and contact information of any witnesses.
Once you are home, try to write down what you remember about the crash. You can even draw a sketch of the scene. This may be useful in the future if your memory of the accident fades.
In the immediate aftermath of the crash, you may be approached by an insurance adjuster. They may ask you to give a statement or sign paperwork. They may even offer you a settlement.
Do not sign anything or give a statement until you have had a chance to talk to a Virginia Beach car accident attorney. Your lawyer can take over communications with the insurer or you. Most importantly, they will protect your rights and work to ensure that you get maximum compensation for your injuries.
When Do I Hire an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer?
In Virginia, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. With a few exceptions, this means that you have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. If you don’t file a claim within that time, you won’t be able to seek compensation for your injuries.
The statute of limitations is a good reason to consult with a car accident attorney as soon as possible after a wreck – but it isn’t the only one. Hiring a lawyer early in the process can ensure that you get top dollar for your injuries.
Insurance companies are in business to make money. They make hundreds of millions of dollars each year by paying out as little as possible on legitimate car accident claims. In short, their goal will never be to pay you fair compensation for your injuries.
A Virginia Beach car accident attorney can help you level the playing field. Unlike insurance adjusters, a lawyer is duty-bound to represent your best interests. They will fight to make sure that you get every penny that you are entitled to under the law.
Studies show that people who have legal representation recover an average of 40% more than people who represent themselves in personal injury claims. The reason why is simple: when you hire an experienced car accident lawyer, the insurance company knows that they can’t get away with paying you pennies on the dollar. Your attorney will gather evidence and put together legal arguments to ensure that you get the highest possible recovery for your injuries.
Most personal injury law firms handle cases on a contingency fee basis. This type of fee arrangement means that you don’t pay anything out of pocket. Instead, you only pay a fee if your attorney recovers money for you.
A contingency fee arrangement aligns your interests with your lawyer’s: you both want to resolve the case as quickly as possible and for as much money as possible. It also allows you to hire a lawyer even if you don’t have the cash on hand to pay an hourly fee.
Whenever you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is critical that you protect yourself by reaching out to a VA car accident attorney as soon as you can. Your lawyer will handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf. They will also fight to ensure that you get the highest possible recovery for your losses.
No matter how kind they may seem, the insurance adjuster is not on your side. The best way to ensure that you get a fair settlement after a car accident is to have legal counsel fight for you. Reach out today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with one of our Virginia car accident attorneys.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
Motor vehicle accidents can be incredibly traumatic. If you have been injured in a crash, you may not know what to do or where to turn for help. Our legal team will fight for your right to full compensation and will stand by your side throughout the process.
Based in Virginia Beach, Poole, Brooke, Plumlee represents accident victims throughout the region. We use our decades of combined experience to help our clients achieve the best possible outcome for their cases. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a Virginia car accident attorney, give our law office a call at 757-499-1841 or fill out our online contact form.