Norfolk Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal injury claims and lawsuits in Virginia are the civil process through which injured accident victims are compensated for their losses.  This is often done with the assistance of a Norfolk personal injury lawyer by claiming or pleading that a negligent, careless, reckless, or even intentional act by the defendant caused the injury incurred by the innocent victim.

Norfolk Injury Lawyers in Negligence Cases

Any person, business, or group of defendants can be negligent if they breach what is called a “duty of care.”  The actual degree of duty owed by the defendant depends on the circumstances of the accident and their obligation at the time of the injury. When a person is injured because of someone else’s negligent conduct, four elements must be sequentially proven in order for the plaintiff-victim to be compensated for the physical, financial and emotional damages suffered in the accident.

  • Duty (or duty of care) – The defendant is obligated to behave in a manner that will not harm another.
  • Breach – The defendant’s conduct did not meet the standard required.
  • Causation – The breach of duty must be the proximate cause of the injuries.
  • Damages – Due to the defendant’s breach of duty, the plaintiff is injured and suffers actual damages associated with the injury.

The Types of Personal Injury Claims and Cases

There are many kinds of personal injury cases.  Some less common examples include:

  • Dog bites or other pet attacks
  • Amusement park and water park mishaps
  • Gas explosions or downed electric lines
  • Nursing home injuries
  • Boat Accidents

The following are the more common types of personal injury accidents:

Auto Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents can involve such things as automobiles, motorcycles, commercial trucks (18-wheelers), and even boats.  This single category comprises the largest percentage of personal injury claims in the U.S.  As a Norfolk personal injury attorney can tell you, negligent drivers are traditionally the defendants, but third-parties may also be held accountable for injuries that arise from the accidents they help cause.

Medical Malpractice

Medical professionals have the highest duty to protect patients in their care.  Doctors, nurses, device technicians, lab specialists, and pharmacies can be defendants in medical malpractice lawsuits.  Malpractice cases are very difficult to prove and often involve the services of specialists and healthcare investigators in order for a Norfolk personal injury lawyer to build a strong case against the party who caused the injury.

Premises Liability

Premises liability can be quite complex.  It applies to negligent business owners, home owners, and many renters who may be liable for injuries that happen to visitors on their property.  Usually referred to as “slip-and-fall claims,” liable owners often quickly fix the problem, or cover up the circumstances that caused the accident, thereby destroying the evidence against them.  This makes liability challenging, but not impossible, for the victim and their Norfolk personal injury lawyer to prove.

Product Liability

This applies to defective pharmaceutical (drug) and consumer and industrial products.  Negligence can surround both design and manufacturing defects, and failure to properly warn of the dangers of improperly using the products.  Although product liability claims can allege manufacturer negligence, breach of warranty, or failure to warn, they also can be based on strict liability.  This means the product was a bad idea in and of itself.  Then it isn’t necessary to prove negligence, only that the product is “inherently defective.”

Damages Available to Injured Plaintiffs

The following are the types of damages that injured accident victims can demand:

  • All medical bills (includes past and future) related to the injuries caused by the negligent conduct
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of past and future income and worker benefits
  • Permanent disability
  • Money to repair or replace any property damaged in the accident
  • Possible punitive damages

Wrongful Death and Survivor Claims 

Any negligent accident can cause an unexpected death.  Surviving family members then seek to recover compensation for the emotional loss, funeral expenses, and other damages unique to this form of claim under the Virginia Wrongful Death Act.  By their nature, wrongful death claims can be complex, time-consuming, and difficult to pursue.  Add to that the loss of a beloved family member making them highly emotional and these become some of the most difficult, but important claims, a personal injury attorney can pursue on behalf of their clients.

Role of Insurance in Personal Injury Cases

Insurance companies are in business to protect their shareholders from losses and to pay the least amount possible on their outstanding liabilities.  They are not in the business of looking out for the best interests of injured persons, their duty is to their clients and shareholders. .  They deny claims, drag their feet, and offer low-ball settlements that can’t come close to meeting injured victims’ needs.  In short, if you are injured in accident that wasn’t your fault, the other driver’s insurance company is “adverse” to you, they are not your advocate. Often, they will use Virginia’s contributory negligence statutes to oppose injury claims and cases.  If the injured plaintiff can be held liable for even a small percentage of the accident’s cause, the defendant (and thus their insurance carrier) may not have to pay any damages at all.

Virginia Statutes of Limitations

According to Va. Code Section 8.01-243(A), Va. Code Section 8.01-243(A) and (B), and Va. Code Section 8.01-244(B), the statutes of limitations for personal injury, product liability, and wrongful death actions are generally only two years.  The time limit to file a medical malpractice claim may be extended under certain circumstances. There are some specific exceptions to these statutes that you should discuss with your Norfolk personal injury lawyer.