Richmond Car Accident Lawyer

There were nearly 122,000 car accidents in Virginia in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, and more than half of those accidents resulted in injuries. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident in Virginia, a Richmond car accident lawyer can help.

Cases a Richmond Car Accident Lawyer Handles

Your car accident attorney can guide you through the process of working with your insurer and the insurance company for the other parties, which can involve a complex negotiation process. By speaking with an Richmond car accident attorney first, you will be able to take steps to preserve your claim and make sure you do not say or do anything to jeopardize your chance to obtain compensation for your injuries, property damages, and other harms and losses caused by the crash. Working with a personal injury lawyer in Richmond can help you to understand the complex legal process and file your claim effectively.

Recorded Statements

Your lawyer can also advise you in responding to an insurer that demands that you give a recorded statement. While you are obligated to cooperate with your own insurer, you are never under an obligation to cooperate with or give a statement to another party’s insurance carrier.  In  most cases, giving a recorded statement to an adverse party can hurt or compromise your case.

The insurance carriers for other parties involved in an accident have an interest in finding any reason to deny or reduce your claim. Their representatives may unfairly pressure you to accept a small settlement amount, or ask questions to discover a reason to deny your claim. Never speak to another party’s insurance company without first seeking representation of a Richmond car accident lawyer.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

Your Richmond car accident lawyer can examine the merits of your case and determine whether you might benefit from filing a personal injury lawsuit in court. If you can establish that another party’s negligence, carelessness, or reckless actions caused your injuries or contributed to the accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other damages.

Establishing Fault

Establishing fault for a car accident is more difficult in Virginia than in many other states. Virginia is one of only a few states that apply a rule called contributory negligence. Under this rule, injured parties who are even partially responsible for contributing to the accident that caused their injuries are barred from recovery. In other words, you must prove that the other party is fully responsible for the injuries in order for you to obtain a damage award in court. There are, however, a few exceptions.

Willful and Wanton Acts

If the other party’s actions could be considered willful and wanton, as opposed to just negligent, then it does not matter if you had a hand in causing your own accident. If the responsible party’s actions were intentional or so reckless that they should have known their actions would be likely to cause injury, then you may still be able to recover compensation.

In some cases, if  you were negligent in placing yourself in peril but the other party had an opportunity to avoid causing the accident, or should have had the opportunity had they been using ordinary care, you may still be awarded damages for your losses. An example of this in a car accident case is the ability to swerve to miss hitting another car, even if the driver of that car was negligent as well. If the car that collided with you had an opportunity to swerve safely out of the way and yet did not do so, then the fact that you may have contributed to the accident will not necessarily bar your recovery.

Elements of an Auto Accident Case

In order to successfully pursue a claim for personal injury damages suffered as a result of a motor vehicle accident, an injured person needs to be able to show three basic things:

Liability

In order to recover compensation for injury suffered in a motor vehicle accident, first the liability or fault of another party (the defendant) must be established. A plaintiff needs to establish both a duty owed by the defendant and a breach of that duty in order to show liability.There are some accidents where liability is easy to prove, usually in rear-end collisions. But in many accidents, the issue of liability is contested, and it incumbent on the person asserting the claim (the plaintiff) to prove negligence.

Typical damages in a motor vehicle accident case might include:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

Often the aide of expert witnesses is required to reconstruct accidents so as to effectively demonstrate and prove the negligence of the person or persons at fault.

Our lawyers are knowledgeable and experienced in all aspects of motor vehicle accident liability issues.  When the other driver says, “It wasn’t my fault,” a qualified Richmond auto accident lawyer can help you prove liability in your case.

Damages

In order to recover compensation for injuries suffered in an auto accident, it must been demonstrated that the plaintiff suffered actual damages.

The three listed aspects of damages involve not only the damages already incurred, but often damages for future medical expenses have to be projected out into the future. Similarly, injuries are permanent and medical expenses and loss of earnings and earning capacity need to be projected out over a lifetime. In these cases, an expert economist, vocational rehabilitation expert, and/or life care planner can provide the testimony needed to substantiate damages. An experienced Richmond auto accident lawyer can help you with the complexities of proving damages.

Causation

In addition to proving liability and damages, an injured person needs to be able to establish the causal connection between the liability that led to the accident and the damages that the person sustained. Expert medical testimony is often necessary to establish that the negligent, reckless, or wrongful act in question actually caused the injuries that the plaintiff is claiming. Such an expert can explain the mechanism of injury to a jury so that they understand the connection between the liability and damages aspects in a particular case.

Consult an Experienced Richmond Car Accident Lawyer

Tens of thousands of drivers and passengers are injured in car accidents in Virginia each year, but many of them do not receive fair compensation for their injuries. Because Virginia negligence and liability laws are quite nuanced, it is important to consult with an experienced Richmond car accident attorney who understands the unique legal complexities and can advise you of your rights if you are injured in an accident.