Our Approach to Virginia Auto Accident Cases
Below is excerpted from an interview with an auto accident lawyer in Virginia as they discuss their approach to auto accident cases and why it is important to hire an attorney after being involved in an accident.
What Are the First Things You Look For in Auto Accident Cases?
Just like any other personal injury case, the first thing I’m going to look for is liability, meaning who is at fault. Virginia is a contributory negligence state, meaning that if the driver in a motor vehicle accident is even one degree at fault, they may be barred from recovery.
Certain types of accidents are often magnets for contributory liability defenses. In cases where the person has to yield the right of way to make left-hand turn and that causes the accident, there could be liability questions raised regarding the speed limits and the mechanics of the turn.
There are all sorts of unique circumstances, so I always want to look at what caused the accident. The first step is always to look at liability and see if we can assess the probability of proving the other party was liable for the accident that caused their injuries.
What Are the First Things You Tell Someone Who Suffered Injuries in an Auto Accident?
The first thing I tell clients is that from both a general personal injury context as well as my experience in criminal cases, there are two things someone should do as soon as there is any motor vehicle accident.
The first one is to ascertain whether or not they are injured. If they are injured, they should immediately call for emergency medical assistance and seek medical treatment as soon as possible. They have to protect themselves as well as everyone else in the vehicle and make sure everyone is okay. If they are hurt, they need to seek that emergency medical attention. They shouldn’t receive any medical treatment that is unnecessary or superfluous, but they should take steps to make sure that if they need treatment that they get it right away. Failure to receive treatment right away may be a red flag for a claim’s adjuster later in the claims process.
The second thing that a person involved in a motor vehicle accident should do is call the police if there is any personal injury or property damage; Virginia state law requires that. If the person leaves the scene, they could be subject to a criminal charge of hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident. They need to remain on the scene, provide information to law enforcement officials, and cooperate with law enforcement as much as possible. At the same time, they should know that they are not obligated to answer any questions from the insurance company at that time. The obligation is to first make sure that they and their loved ones are okay. After all of that is squared away, then speak to an attorney.
Why Is Hiring An Attorney For An Auto Accident Case Important? What Can An Attorney Do For An Individual?
Well it’s important to protect your rights. If you have an attorney involved, they’re going to be experienced with dealing with the insurance companies. They’re not going to fall for their tricks, and they’re going to fight zealously for you to obtain the recovery that you deserve, but it’s more important than that. It’s also to make sure that the people that are responsible are held responsible and if it involves some sort of dangerous reckless behavior that is prevalent in the community, an attorney can help to take steps to make sure that those types of things get weeded out and nipped in the bud and they don’t go further.
As far as what an attorney can do for an individual it runs the gamut from just being there to provide counsel, not just legal counsel but emotional counsel and support, being a sounding board for venting issues, frustrations about not being able to work, things like that but also to represent their interest, to protect their interest, and to ease the amount of stress and frustration that’s placed on an injured person because there are a lot of complicating factors in a lot of things that make the process of proceeding with a claim difficult. To have an attorney there and looking out for you with your best interests at heart, that’s one of the most important things that personal injury attorneys working for an injured person can do is to provide guidance, comfort, and support.
Our interests are aligned with those of our clients, and that really provides comfortand encouragement to our clients. If you have been injured, you want to know the full extent of what your options are, and there’s no better way to do that than contact an attorney.