Personal Injury Attorneys in Virginia
If you have an injury-causing car accident, it can be very beneficial to get the assistance of a personal injury attorney. If you're thinking of filing a lawsuit, however, consider both the statute of limitations and VA's shared fault laws, as these may affect your case. If you choose to proceed, make sure you hire the right personal injury lawyer by interviewing several before choosing one.
NOTE: The content of this website is intended solely for informational purposes. It is not a source of legal advice and should not be used as such.
When you have a personal injury accident, you can choose to go it alone; however, it can get complicated, and you might do something to hurt your own case. Personal injury attorneys know the law and can help you make sure you get the most compensation possible.
Why Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
When you have an injury-causing accident, your case can get complicated quickly. This is especially true if:
- You were seriously injured.
- You have a lot of medical bills or the involvement of several doctors.
- Your injuries appeared minor immediately after the accident but the severity has increased.
- Fault is unclear.
A Virginia personal injury attorney knows how to navigate through complicated legal territory and can make sure that you don't damage your own case by doing something that can hurt you.
In a very simple case, it may make sense to deal with it on your own, but remember that when you get injured, you can face complications quickly. When this happens, it can be a good idea to consult with a lawyer for advice on how to proceed.
There are some issues, however, to consider when thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit. Continue reading to learn more.
Virginia Statute of Limitations
All states have a limit on how long you can wait to initiate a personal injury lawsuit. This window is referred to as the state's “statute of limitations."
In Virginia, the statute of limitations for personal injury is 2 years.
Once this window of time has passed, it will be extremely difficult (if not impossible) to try and begin a personal injury lawsuit.
VA Laws and Your Compensation
When you get into a car accident with another driver, an investigation takes place to determine who was at fault. It's important to understand, however, that fault is often shared by the drivers involved; it is not always a single driver who is 100% to blame for the accident.
When there is shared fault for an accident, states have certain laws to deal with how compensation gets doled out amongst those involved. For example, some states reduce a driver's compensation by the percentage of fault they hold for the accident.
Virginia operates on one of the harshest fault laws, contributory negligence. This means that if you were determined to have ANY fault (even a small percentage), you cannot claim any damages from the other driver.
- You were in an accident and another driver hit you.
- You found to be speeding at the time and, as a result, found to be 10% at fault.
- You would not be able to receive ANY damages from the at-fault driver, even though the other driver was 90% at fault.
Your personal injury attorney can talk to you about how VA's contributory negligence law will play into your case.
Hiring the Right Personal Injury Attorney
After an accident in which you've sustained a personal injury, you'll have a lot to deal with. You'll be in the process of trying to recover, dealing with medical bills and doctor visits, and to top it off, you'll need to deal with the insurance company to try to get compensated for your injuries.
This can be extremely overwhelming, so it's important that if you do elect to hire a personal injury lawyer, you choose one that you can trust. Make sure that when you interview your lawyer, you check for the following;
- Track record—Always ask about the attorney's record. How many cases have they taken on? How many have they won?
- Area of expertise—Is personal injury the attorney's main focus? If not, what is?
- Comfort level—Do you feel comfortable with them? If they make you uneasy in any way, or you have an intuition they won't be the best choice, pay attention. You want someone you'll feel at ease with during this difficult period.
- Fees – Before you hire anyone, always get their fee structure upfront to make sure you can afford/budget for it.
Doing your legwork upfront and interviewing several attorneys can ensure you find the one that best suits your needs. Never rush into hiring a personal injury lawyer—you may find you regret your decision once you're mired in the case.