Car accidents often cause serious, life-altering injuries. And if the lingering physical challenges weren’t enough, these tragic wrecks can also create emotional and financial hurdles for you and your family.
Unfortunately, you can be a safe, law-abiding driver and still have your life turned upside down because of someone else’s careless behavior. However, you don’t have to deal with this situation alone. Experienced personal injury attorney James H. Shoemaker, Jr. proudly represents clients that were hurt in automobile accidents.
If you were injured by a distracted, drunk, reckless, or otherwise negligent driver, you deserve justice and compensation. Call 757-223-4580 today to discuss your case free of charge*. Mr. Shoemaker welcomes clients from Virginia Beach, Newport News, Hampton Roads, Washington D.C., and throughout the United States.
Types of Auto Accident Injuries
The injuries that car accident victims suffer tend to vary depending on the unique circumstances surrounding their crash. Many factors, such as speed and direction of impact, likely affected the type and severity of your injury. However, some types of injuries occur frequently.
People often suffer from short- and long-term injuries after a crash, including:
- Whiplash and other soft tissue damage
- Scrapes and lacerations
- Head injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and concussions
- Spinal cord damage and herniated disks
- Broken bones
It is important to visit a doctor after being in a car accident. While some injuries may be obvious, others may show up days or weeks after your crash. Seek medical help even if your accident was minor. Your visit will also create paperwork that can support your injury claim.
What is the statute of limitations for a Car Accident Injury Claim in Virginia?
The statute of limitations for a personal injury case is two years in Virginia. In most cases, the clock will start running on the date of your car accident. You need to file your lawsuit before the end of the two-year deadline. If you try to take legal action later, your case will probably be thrown out. Keep in mind that you may not have as much time as you think. Claims against the state transportation district, for example, require you to put the government on notice. Typically, your notice must be sent within one year of the accident, or you could lose your rights.
Who decides what to do in a Car Accident case?
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, the ball is in your court. In general, you can decide to accept the insurance settlement offer, prepare a counter offer, or file a lawsuit. It is best to contact an experienced car accident attorney to review your options. An attorney like James H. Shoemaker can determine the value of your claim, thereby helping you figure out how much money you should be willing to accept for your injuries and suffering. Often, the first insurance settlement offer is not enough to cover long-term expenses and medical care.
How do I handle speaking to Insurance companies?
What you say to an insurance adjuster can impact your car accident case. Never admit fault, go into detail about the accident, or provide unnecessary information about the scope of your injuries. It is best to remain calm and polite while resisting any pressure to settle your claim immediately. Keep in mind that you do not have to go through this alone. A skilled lawyer like Mr. Shoemaker can talk to the insurance companies and negotiate on your behalf. He can also examine the rules of your policy to find out what information you are obligated to tell your insurance adjuster.
How will my Insurance Policy affect my settlement?
Insurance companies usually only pay out to the policy limits. A policy limit is a maximum amount that the insurance company is responsible for when an accident triggers coverage. The limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy can affect your settlement. So too can the limits of your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. It is possible to collect damages beyond the limits of the policy; however, it is rare, and you will need an attorney’s help.
What are the options for settling a case?
Most car accident cases end in settlement. A settlement can be reached without filing a lawsuit. If you do file a lawsuit, you do not give up your ability to settle for a good offer. You can settle your car accident injury case at any time as long as a verdict has not been entered. The process usually begins with a demand letter.
You will need to gather medical records and employment records, in the event that your injury caused you to miss work. You will also want to collect any proof of liability for the car accident, which may include a police report. Then, you can work with an attorney like Mr. Shoemaker to draft a clear and concise demand letter. Settlement talks usually come next. If you did not receive a response to your letter, or if the insurance company’s settlement was unreasonable, you may decide to file a lawsuit.
Compensation You May Receive After a Collision
You were injured due to someone else’s negligence. You shouldn’t have to face the ensuing financial challenges alone. It is crucial to seek compensation for the ways that the accident has affected your life, and how it may continue to follow you into the future.
Mr. Shoemaker can help you seek compensation for a variety of things, including:
- Medical expenses including physical therapy and pain medication
- Loss of wages
- Diminished ability to work
- Vehicle and property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Emotional distress
It takes a skilled lawyer like Mr. Shoemaker to calculate the exact damages that you should pursue. For example, it may be easy to determine the amount of money that you need to replace your car. However, determining noneconomic damages — like emotional distress — isn’t so straightforward.
How is a Car Accident settlement calculated?
Car accident settlements are calculated based on your economic and non-economic losses. It is important to hold out for a settlement that takes your current and future medical expenses, property damage, lost earnings, and future lost income into consideration.
A fair settlement should also compensate you for the emotional impact of your crash, otherwise known as pain and suffering. Additional damages may be awarded if the other driver behaved recklessly. Be wary of basic settlement calculators. They only provide a vague idea of your claim value. Instead, work with an attorney to determine the true worth of your car accident claim.
How Fault Affects Your Car Crash Claim in Virginia
Virginia’s laws involving fault can be incredibly unforgiving. Unlike most states, Virginia adheres to the “contributory negligence” model of establishing compensation based on fault. If you are found to be responsible for your crash in any way, you will not be able to receive compensation. Most states allow you to seek compensation if you are less than 50 percent at fault.
This should not discourage you from pursuing your case, but it should highlight your need for an experienced attorney. Mr. Shoemaker will work with you to prove that the other party was at fault.
Contact Our Auto Accident Lawyer Near Virginia Beach
Insurance companies may not pay you what you deserve for your car accident case. There is a limited window in which to take legal action after a collision, so contact Mr. Shoemaker today at 757-223-4580. One of our paralegals will review the facts of your case with you and then Mr. Shoemaker will call you and discuss your case with you free of charge*.
Mr. Shoemaker has over 22 years of experience as a trial attorney and is a partner in the law firm of Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein, L.C. ("PWHD"), based in Virginia. Mr. Shoemaker, his partners, and associates are available for representation nationwide. He also represents clients close to home, from areas such as Virginia Beach, Newport News, Hampton Roads, and Washington D.C.