Car accidents are a terrifying situation to find oneself in. The immediate situation needs to be processed and handled, but many car accident victims suffer anxiety and stress following the incident. Many victims require time to heal from their injuries, have medical bills to pay, and need to get their vehicle fixed as well as decide how they will seek justice and compensation from the person that caused the accident. Many people are, understandably, tempted to take the quickest route available and accept a settlement from the opposing insurance company to get their lives back on track.
Worries from Clients: Do I Have to File A Car Accident Lawsuit?
The events following a car accident are a whirlwind. Making a police report, documenting your vehicle’s damage, and assessing yourself for injury is a quick checklist. When the dust settles from the incident, clients often wonder how they’ll get their vehicle fixed, recover from their injuries, and get back to the life they had prior to the accident. Possible questions swirling through their minds could include “How does a car accident lawsuit work”? and “How much am I entitled to sue someone for a car accident injury?” They wonder if the hassle of a lawsuit or even speaking with an attorney is worth the time.
Though the idea of filing a lawsuit is intimidating, clients are almost always in a better position if seek legal counsel and consult an attorney before speaking with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This is for a few key reasons:
- Insurance companies are well-versed in working to minimize their liability and the amount of money they will pay on a claim. Accident victims should never make any statements to an opposing insurance company as it is likely that information will be used in denying or limiting a personal injury claim. Discussing how to navigate dealing with the insurance company with an attorney is key if you plan to pursue an injury claim. If you do decide to make a claim and hire an experienced personal injury attorney, you won’t have to speak to the insurance company at all about your injuries. Your attorney will handle that for you and ensure your rights are protected.
- Insurance companies will try to settle early. When an insurance company offers an early settlement after an injury, this is a major red flag and the amount being offered is likely much less than the true value of your claim. In many cases, the insurance company is betting the need for cash – with missed work and mounting bills – will sway the injured party to accept a claim and sign a release before the victim even knows full the extent of their injuries.
- Virginia has a very strict contributory negligence rule. If the injured person contributed to an accident in any way, then they may be denied from recovering any damages – even if the other party was 99% at fault. By speaking with an opposing party’s insurance company without an attorney on your side, the plaintiff could potentially say something that damages their case.
Insurance companies have a strong motivation to lead injury victims away from receiving a fair settlement. That is why is very important to at least speak to an attorney should you have injuries related to a car accident.
How much compensation for a car accident is available?
Compensation for car accidents can vary drastically depending on two key factors: the strength of the case or claim and on the insurance coverage available. The amount of compensation could range from zero to the maximum amount of insurance coverage available.
In the worst-case scenario, there are no funds available to a plaintiff following a car accident. This could occur if the plaintiff was found partially at fault and barred from any financial recovery under Virginia’s strict contributory negligence rule. A scenario where no funds are offered can also be possible if neither the at fault party nor the plaintiff have auto insurance. Though both of these scenarios seem grim in the chances of obtaining financial compensation, all hope is not lost and is a very good reason to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights and explore all options for coverage.
In most scenarios, the plaintiff is able to recover compensation for damages, including medical bills for injuries, lost wages, pain, suffering, and inconvenience, and property damage. These cases may be settled under a defendant’s auto insurance policy limits or under the plaintiff’s uninsured/underinsured motorist policy. Again, the amount of compensation depends on the amount of damages (medical bills specifically) and the coverage under the available insurance policies. Because there are many drivers on the road with either the bare minimum coverage or none at all, it is important to ensure your own policy is enough to protect you should you unfortunately find yourself involved in an accident.
In severe cases, where the injuries result in serious issues like paralysis, traumatic brain injury, or death, the damages typically result in a much larger settlement number, as long as there is proper insurance coverage. Cases with serious, life-changing injuries are best left to a skilled personal injury attorney from the very beginning to ensure full and fair compensation is obtained. These cases can also take years to settle if they go to litigation or trial.
Contact an Attorney for the Best Results
A skilled personal injury or car accident attorney plays a pivotal role in steering clients away from the worst-case scenarios and guiding their cases toward the most favorable outcomes. By reaching out to a seasoned personal injury attorney with the knowledge to avoid potential pitfalls – such as inadvertently compromising your case through social media posts – you can lay the groundwork for a solid case or claim and ensure that your rights are protected.
Car accidents unquestionably usher in a period of immense stress and uncertainty in the life of a victim. Yet, securing the services of a skilled personal injury law firm, one well-versed in navigating the complex terrain of personal injury cases and advocating on your behalf in the courtroom, stands as the pivotal step that can secure the most favorable financial recovery for you.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident that resulted in injuries, contact our experienced attorneys today at Huffman & Huffman Brothers-in-Law for a free consultation. Our firm prides ourselves on providing honest advice to victims of car accidents and we are here for you every step of the way. Let our family help your family.
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