Unique Aspects of Car Accident Claims in Fairfax

When someone is injured in a car accident in Fairfax County, they should call an attorney to help them organize the facts of the accident and organize records for medical treatment so that they can present a clear picture as to what happened, who is at fault, what treatment was received, and how their life was affected by the car accident to a defense counsel, insurance adjuster, or to a judge. A Fairfax car accident attorney can help the injured person demonstrate why they are entitled to the relief they are seeking.

What to do After a Car Accident

If someone is involved in a car accident, one of the first things they should do is call the police so they can document the scene of the accident. If the police don’t come and the other person drives off, it is very important that the person gets at least some description of the vehicle involved so that it can be tracked down later to possibly bring a lawsuit, or claim against their insurance policy.

The person should take photographs of any damage to their car and any other cars involved. They should keep a record of the medical treatment they received from the ambulance, at the hospital, or any doctors. The person should keep those records and present them to their attorney if they choose to have an attorney filing a car accident.

It’s always valuable to have an attorney because they deal with these types of accidents every day and are better suited to navigate the pitfalls and consequences of these cases than the person handling it alone.

Process Differences in Fairfax

In Fairfax, and Virginia as a whole, there are a couple of distinctions that make car accident claims unique. One is that the time to bring a lawsuit for, that is to file for a car accident, is two years from the date of the accident. This is shorter than in Washington, DC and Maryland where people have three years.

Another thing is that in Virginia, if a person uses their health insurance to pay for any treatment caused by someone who was in a car accident, they do not have to pay back the health insurance because there is no right of subrogation for the health insurer in certain circumstances. Virginia is known as an “anti-subrogation” state.

Other than that, a car accident that occurs in Virginia or Fairfax is remarkably similar to car accidents that occur in Maryland, DC, or anywhere else. A person needs to prove their liability; meaning the other person involved in the accident was one hundred percent at fault. The person must prove their damages as a result of the car accident.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence is a defense raised by anyone a person is suing for the accident. The defense says that the person who was injured somehow contributed to the happening of the accident. They might say the person was distracted, they did not yield the right-of-way, or they were speeding. In Fairfax, if the court finds that the person who is injured is as little as one percent at fault for the accident, their case will be dismissed under the adaption of contributory negligence.

In these cases, the person who is injured must be one hundred percent free from any negligence in causing the accident. Sometimes that can be difficult to prove and may become a “he said, she said” or a word versus word situation as to how the accident occurred.

Liability Factors

The factors considered are based on the testimony of the people involved, and the testimony of any witnesses, photographs, or any surveillance of the actual accident. If the person who was injured was one hundred percent free from fault, for example they were rear-ended or were standing still when they were hit by another car, it is likely they will be found to be free from any negligence.

Statements of the witnesses, any police reports, or anything like that will be used to determine who is at fault.

Contacting an Attorney

The earlier a person contacts an attorney, the better chance they have of getting a full picture of the accident. That includes tracking down any witnesses who may have seen something, any surveillance cameras that may have captured the accident, cellphones, and video.

The quicker an investigation is conducted to piece together what happened, the better suited they are in presenting that picture to anyone who was not there, such as in a settlement with the insurance company, or a settlement with the defense attorney later on or in front of a judge or jury.

A person should contact an attorney as soon as they are contacted by an insurance company because the insurance company will try to settle the case for less than what it’s worth. They try to get the person to give a recorded statement; to lull them into a confidence. They try to to take statements from the person that are out of context or can be used against them.