LIVESAY & MYERS
Personal injury lawyer, attorneys in Fredericksburg, Virginia and Woodbridge, Virginia.
If you have been the victim of an automobile accident in Fredericksburg, Virginia or Woodbridge Virginia, our Virginia personal injury attorneys can help.
After your automobile accident, the insurance companies will attempt to settle with you quickly, before you have the opportunity to consult with a lawyer to learn about your rights. It is critical that you speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, and before waiving any of your rights with the insurance companies.
Before agreeing to any settlement of your personal injury claim, ask yourself: "why are the insurance companies so eager to settle with me?" The answer: insurance companies attempt to reach quick personal injury settlements, knowing they can usually settle claims for less money with personal injury victims who are not represented by attorneys.
You have absolutely nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by consulting with our Virginia personal injury attorneys regarding your automobile accident. The initial free consultation is with one of our personal injury lawyers in our offices in Fredericksburg, Virginia or Woodbridge, Virginia.
Should you choose to hire our Virginia personal injury attorneys to represent you, we will work for you a "contingency fee." The standard contingency fee is one-third, meaning we would receive one-third of any money we collect for you, but receive nothing if there is no recovery.
In addition, if you do hire our Virginia personal injury lawyers, you may thereafter change attorneys at any time, if you are unhappy with our services for any reason.
Our personal injury attorneys will (1) document your personal injury, by gathering evidence such as police reports, medical records, medical invoices, photographs, and witness statements, (2) negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company, and (3) if the insurance company refuses to enter into a fair settlement, present your case to a jury at trial.
Although many cases do settle prior to trial, our personal injury lawyers are more than willing to present your case to a jury if needed. Between them, our lawyers have extensive trial experience, and are certainly not shy about going to court for you.
Here are some answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Virginia personal injury and automobile accident claims:
DO I HAVE A CASE?
Virginia is a contributory negligence jurisdiction. This means that if you are at fault at all, even where the other party (the "defendant") is much more at fault, your claim will be barred totally.
It is extremely important, but not absolutely necessary, to have the police arrive at the scene and charge the defendant (if your personal injury case involves an automobile accident). You may be required to later appear at the defendant's traffic court date, to assist the prosecution's case against the defendant. Since the defendant being found guilty in his or her traffic court case would help you establish the fault of the defendant in your personal injury case, it's certainly in your best interests to assist in the prosecution.
HOW MUCH IS MY CASE WORTH?
It is often difficult to put a dollar figure on the "worth" of your personal injury claim. There are a variety of factors that will determine the value of your claim, such as any lost wages you suffered, severity of the damage to your vehicle (in an automobile accident case), type of injuries you received, any medical expenses you incurred, and the duration of any treatment you have undergone.
While we can not predict a specific dollar amount of recovery in your personal injury case, we can give you a general idea of what your claim may be worth.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO BRING A CASE IN VIRGINIA?
It is important to contact an attorney immediately after your injury if you are able to do so. The statute of limitations in Virginia is two years from the date of the accident, unless you are a minor (if you are a minor, you will have two years after your 18th birthday to settle your personal injury claim).
If you allow the statute of limitations in your personal injury case to lapse, you will be forever barred from collecting on your claim.
However, you should certainly not wait until the end of your 2-year statute of limitations period to hire an attorney. The sooner you retain an attorney, the better it is for your claim. This is because it is much easier and more effective for your attorney to interview witnesses and gather evidence (photographs, medical records, etc.) soon after your personal injury, rather than later.
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT THE INSURANCE COMPANY?
Soon after your personal injury, an "insurance adjuster" will likely call you, on behalf of the defendant's insurance company. An insurance adjuster's job is to evaluate your claim and offer a settlement to you. It is not the adjuster's job to look out for your best interests. Many times the adjuster will pressure you to settle quickly, and sometimes even inform you that you do not need an attorney.
The most important thing to keep in mind about the adjuster is that the adjuster works for the insurance company, and is directed to settle your personal injury claim for as little as possible. Therefore, you should always consult an attorney prior to settling your personal injury claim. The insurance companies often use software packages to evaluate your claim. The system is imperfect, to say the least, and rarely reflects a fair evaluation of your personal injury case.
WHAT ABOUT MEDICAL PAYMENT COVERAGE UNDER MY OWN AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE POLICY?
Medical payment coverage ("med pay") is additional coverage that you maintain on your automobile policy for your protection. It is designed to assist you in paying medical bills due to an automobile accident, even if the accident was not your fault. Payment of medical bills under your med pay coverage is available to not only you, but also to any passengers in your vehicle at the time of the accident.
Your premiums should not be increased due to a med pay claim if you are not at fault in the accident.
WHAT IF THE DEFENDANT WAS UNINSURED, OR "UNDERINSURED"?
In these cases, you may still have an "underinsured or uninsured motorist claim," whereby you make a personal injury claim against your own policy. Your insurance company will treat this claim just as if someone else were suing you as a defendant in a personal injury case.
Once you reach resolution to your underinsured or uninsured motorist claim, your insurance company may decide to sue the individual who was at fault-- the defendant-- for repayment of the money it paid you for your claim. This is called the insurance company's right of "subrogation."
Your premiums should not increase as a result of your underinsured or uninsured motorist claim, because the accident was not your fault.
WHAT'S THE ONE THING I SHOULD REMEMBER REGARDING MY AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT CASE?
Remember that all victims of automobile accidents should contact an attorney. The insurance company will not take you seriously until you retain a personal injury attorney. Without an attorney, you are not really prepared to take legal action against the insurance company, and are therefore not a threat to them. However, with the experienced negotiators and trial attorneys at Livesay & Myers on your side, you can receive the compensation for your personal injury that you deserve.
Contact us to schedule your free consultation with one of our Virginia personal injury lawyers today, in our offices in Fredericksburg, Virginia or Woodbridge, Virginia.