Virginia Auto Accident FAQs
Below are some questions answered by our Virginia attorneys regarding auto accident claims in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
What Are the First Things You Look at in Auto Accident Cases?
When we get contacted regarding auto accidents, people have typically been hurt and they’re scared. They’re not necessarily sure who they should or should not talk to because they typically have not previously had this type of experience. No one wants to be in an accident, so when they or a loved one has been injured, they’re concerned about what to do next.
I want to be a source of comfort and a source of knowledge as far as helping them to navigate the initial steps in the process. Then, I try to get the information as far as how it happened, where it happened, what was damaged, and who was damaged. We talk through all the essential questions. At the very onset, I want to be able to provide some good advice and some good procedures to follow for somebody that’s potentially injured, scared, and not sure what to do.
How Should I Handle Insurance Companies after an Auto Accident?
There is the potential for multiple insurance companies to be involved, either the driver’s insurance or the at-fault driver’s insurance. They are both going to have questions about what happened, how it happened, when it happened, and also about how the person is feeling. If they pursued medical treatment, they insurance companies will have subjective as well as objective questions about the person’s condition.
That is where it becomes important for an injured person to talk to an attorney and find out what their options are. They should assist the insurance company with the name, the date of the accident, and the contact information so that they can do their job and begin the process of helping you.
When the insurance companies start trying to dig with questions about how the person is feeling or how this happened should be answered by an attorney acting on their behalf. The insurance company adjusters and investigators are very skilled at getting questions answered the way they want them answered, but those answers aren’t always in your best interest.
Having someone to advocate on your behalf who knows the process, the appropriate timelines for things, and the appropriate responses can be invaluable. No one in that situation wants to receive unwanted calls. They want to be able to recuperate, relax, and receive treatment. Having an auto accident attorney available to take that burden off of them is a great thing and they should take advantage of that.
What Should I Do if I Feel Fine After an Accident, But Start Feeling Pain Days Later?
The most important thing is to seek a medical provider as soon as possible and document that pain and discomfort. If someone is in pain, whether it’s because they didn’t initially seek treatment or because the initial treatment they sought was inadequate, they need to seek medical treatment. Tell them what hurts, especially where it hurts, why it hurts, and how long it has been hurting. Describe that in the most detailed way possible so that you can receive the best possible treatment.
The most important thing is making sure that an injured person can receive treatment and can get better as soon as possible.
What Makes Virginia Auto Accident Cases Unique from other Jurisdictions?
It’s important for someone who is injured to be aware of contributory negligence. Contributory negligence means that an at-fault party is barred from recovering damages if they contributed to their own injury. The most common situation where that comes into play is if the driver who’s injured is actually the at-fault driver, or the one who caused the accident. They cannot recover anything from the other driver who was involved. A lot of contributory negligence is actually common sense, but sometimes, it can be tough to determine who is liable or negligent.
It can get pretty complicated, especially with the different types of liability in negligence cases. This doesn’t just apply to auto accidents, but also to slip and falls and premises liability. Those are cases in which contributory negligence is difficult for the injured person to understand because it’s not quite as intuitive. Along with that, Virginia also has some mandatory insurance requirements that are important to understand. Typically, $25,000 per person and $50,000 for an accident is the minimum that insurance is supposed to cover. When things go beyond those limits, you want to be on the lookout for things like underinsured or uninsured motorists. One of the most unique features about Virginia personal injury law is that we are a contributory negligence state.