Unfortunately, it’s likely that we all have been in or will be in a car accident at some point in our lifetimes. Hopefully, we’ll all walk away without injuries, but unfortunately, that may not always be the case. If you suffered injuries in a car accident, you may feel overwhelmed by your medical prognosis—and by ever-increasing medical bills at a time when you cannot or should not work. Car accident victims often face high costs for medical care, lost wages, and property damage after a crash. You deserve to hold the responsible party accountable for the harm they caused you and your family. You need an experienced Norfolk car accident lawyer to protect your rights and help you get the compensation you need to move forward. Read on to learn more about car accidents and what you may be entitled to recover.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
In 2021, there were 118,498 car crashes, and 903 collisions resulted in fatalities. While car accidents happen every day and occur for any number of reasons, the most common causes of car accidents include the following:
- Drunk driving,
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
- Distracted driving,
- Reckless driving,
- Driving while fatigued,
- Failing to yield,
- Unsafe lane changes,
- Tailgating or following too closely,
- Aggressive driving or road rage,
- Wrong-way driving,
- Inexperienced driving,
- Failure to maintain road conditions, and
- Failure to maintain automobiles.
Determining the cause can often provide clear evidence as to liability. Your attorney gets to work immediately to determine the cause of your car accident and build a strong case on your behalf.
Common Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
Injuries after a car accident can cause harm to any part of your body. Although injuries may vary in severity, even a minor injury can disrupt one’s life. Common injuries caused by car accidents include the following:
- Back and neck injuries,
- Head injuries,
- Spinal cord injuries,
- Internal injuries,
- Rib and torso injuries,
- Lacerations and burns,
- Broken bones,
- Seat belt injuries, and
- Wrongful death.
A Norfolk car accident attorney helps set you up with qualified medical professionals so you can get a clear medical diagnosis and an accurate outlook for your recovery.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
Staying calm and remembering to take the appropriate steps after an accident is vital not only to the protection of your rights but also to your safety. The essential things you should do following a car accident include:
- Call 9-1-1;
- Seek medical attention right away;
- Gather evidence at the scene, including photos, videos, and witness statements;
- Never admit fault; and
- Contact a car accident lawyer.
While these steps are important, you should never sacrifice your health and well-being to collect evidence after an accident. If you need medical attention, that should be your priority. Your attorney can work to gather the necessary evidence for your case if you are not able to complete these steps yourself.
How Is Car Accident Liability Determined in Virginia?
Virginia law follows the rule of contributory negligence, which can drastically affect the results of your case. The contributory negligence rule states that an injured party cannot recover compensation for their injuries or losses if they were just 1% responsible for causing the accident. Insurance companies and the attorney for the responsible party will argue you hold responsibility for your accident to get themselves off the hook for paying for your losses. Having an experienced attorney on your side is crucial to protect your interests.
What Can a Norfolk Car Accident Lawyer Help Me Recover?
Virginia law permits injured victims who prove their case to recover compensatory damages. These damage awards seek to return the plaintiff to their position before their injury occurred.
Special damages represent direct financial losses resulting from your injuries. Examples of special damages (i.e., economic damages) include the following:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost earnings,
- Loss of future earnings, and
- Property damage.
A Norfolk car accident attorney calculates these losses through evidence like medical bills, pay stubs, invoices, and other supporting documentation.
General damages (i.e., noneconomic damages) compensate a victim for intangible losses sustained after a car accident. These losses are challenging to calculate due to their subjective nature. Examples of general damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Loss of enjoyment of life,
- Loss of consortium, and
- Permanent injury or disfigurement.
It seems impossible to put a value on the amount of emotional distress suffered after a car accident. However, an experienced attorney understands how to calculate a value that seeks to support you after such a devastating experience.
In certain situations, punitive damages may also be awarded. Though rare, your auto accident lawyer may push for recovery of punitive damages if the liable party acted recklessly or negligently. Punitive damages seek to punish the defendant and deter future bad behavior by others. Virginia places a cap of $350,000 on punitive damages, but despite this cap, an award of punitive damages on top of compensatory damages can significantly assist injured victims and their families in moving forward after a crash.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Filing My Car Accident Case?
The statute of limitations for any case is the period one has to file their claim before they are barred, by law, from pursuing their case further. In Virginia, the statute of limitations for a car accident case is the same as for personal injury cases—two years from the accident date. Special exceptions to this statute of limitations may be granted in limited circumstances. However, one should never rely on these exceptions. Acting quickly after your accident and speaking to an attorney to explore your options is essential. Once the statute of limitations has passed, you are forever barred from pursuing the compensation you deserve from the party that caused you harm.
At The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, PLLC, our lawyers work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve after you suffer injuries in a car accident. Our experienced legal team provides the reliability you need during this uncertain and challenging time. We support you in your time of need while analyzing your case in detail. We explore all options and pursue the justice you deserve. Regardless of the injury you suffered, our attorneys work hard to provide you with the personal attention and service you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation.