Virginia Personal Injury Lawyers
Understanding Virginia’s Personal Injury Laws & Your Rights
After a serious accident or injury, you have a lot to worry about. Not only do you need to make sure you get the necessary medical care, but you also need to determine how you will be able to afford your medical bills and other related expenses.
You might have to take time off work during your recovery, and this can put you and your family under serious financial strain. On top of all this, you must deal with the physical and emotional impact of the injury on your day-to-day life.
At Reinhardt | Harper | Davis, we recognize the devastating effects of severe bodily injuries—and we want to help. You don’t have to face these consequences on your own; if someone else was to blame, our Virginia personal injury lawyers can help you fight for fair compensation while also working to hold the at-fault party accountable.
With over 100 years of combined experience and millions of dollars recovered for our clients, our team has what it takes to effectively advocate for you.
When to File a Personal Injury Claim
Virginia has what is known as a “statute of limitations” on all personal injury cases. This is the deadline by which you must file your lawsuit; if the statute of limitations expires before you bring your case, you will lose your right to sue the liable party for damages.
The statute of limitations on most personal injury lawsuits in Virginia is two years from the date of the accident or injury. Sometimes, when an injury is not immediately discovered, the statute of limitations begins on the day the injury was discovered or reasonably could have been discovered. In cases brought against government entities, different rules apply.
In any case, it is important that you act quickly after an accident or injury. While taking legal action may be the furthest thing from your mind, it is critical that you do not wait too long to speak to a lawyer who can help you build your claim and, if necessary, file a lawsuit against the liable party within the applicable amount of time.
Proving Your Personal Injury Case
Most personal injury cases are brought on the grounds of negligence, and one of the most important elements of negligence-based claims is proving liability. To have a personal injury case, you must establish that someone else is legally responsible (or liable) for your injuries and resulting damages.
To prove your personal injury case, our attorneys work to demonstrate each of the following elements:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care, meaning they had a legal responsibility to take certain actions and/or avoid certain actions that could cause foreseeable injury
- The defendant failed to uphold, or “breached,” the duty of care, typically by acting negligently or wrongfully, or by intentionally inflicting injury on another
- You were injured and suffered measurable damages for which you can be compensated, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering
- The defendant’s wrongful or negligent actions or inactions were the direct or proximate cause of your injuries and resulting damages
- You were not at fault and/or did not contribute in any way to the accident, incident, or event that led to your injury and resulting damages
Because Virginia follows a contributory negligence rule, you cannot be found even one percent at fault for the injury-causing event. Unlike states that follow comparative negligence laws, Virginia does not permit anyone who is found partly at fault to file a personal injury claim or recover damages, regardless of the degree of fault assigned to them.
What Damages Are Available in a Personal Injury Case?
A severe injury often leads to an array of physical, emotional, and financial losses. Collectively, these losses are known as “damages.” The purpose of filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit is to recover financial compensation for damages resulting from another party’s negligent or wrongful conduct.
Some examples of the types of damages commonly available in personal injury cases include:
- Medical expenses related to the incident
- Projected future medical care costs
- Medications, medical devices, equipment, and related items
- Lost income, wages, and employment-related benefits
- Loss of future earnings, income, wages, and benefits
- Reduced or lost earning capacity
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
In instances involving gross negligence and/or willful, wanton, or intentional misconduct, injured victims may also be entitled to punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are not tied to specific losses; rather, they are meant to punish defendants who act with extreme and egregious disregard for the lives of others.
What Does a Personal Injury Attorney Do?
If you were injured in an accident and you’re wondering if you need to hire a personal injury attorney, you could find yourself wondering what they do and how they can help you. The obvious answer is that they can help you get compensation for your injuries. But they do much more than that. A personal injury attorney will:
- Investigate your claim
- Gather evidence (photos, videos, etc.)
- Interview witnesses
- Review and collect records like a police report
- Deal with insurance adjusters
- Advise you on what to say
- Help reach a settlement or file a lawsuit
One of the most beneficial things a personal injury attorney helps you with is giving you the chance to recover from your injuries. Let’s face it, likely the last thing you want to be doing after you were seriously injured is dealing with the legal side of things, especially if the accident wasn’t because of anything you did. Your attorney will take on the brunt of your claim and possible lawsuit while you focus on your health.
When to Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
When someone is injured in an accident or as the result of another person’s negligence, they should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Time is of the essence when it comes to filing a claim for compensation. If too much time passes between the incident and the filing of the claim, your case may be barred from ever being heard by a court. That is why it is so important to get legal help right away if you have suffered an injury caused by someone else’s carelessness or recklessness. A qualified attorney will understand how to navigate Virginia’s personal injury laws and can ensure that all necessary documentation is filed on time in order to maximize your chances of recovering full compensation for your damages.
An attorney may also:
- Collect Timely Witness Testimony: A personal injury attorney is tasked with providing evidence that demonstrates the other party is liable for another’s injuries. An attorney will collect witness testimony from those who saw the accident or incident firsthand in order to corroborate a client’s version of events and bolster their case against the responsible party. By conducting interviews as soon as possible, an attorney can ensure that key details are not forgotten by witnesses. This prevents any inaccuracies or inconsistencies in testimony due to memories fading over time.
- Preserve Evidence: In addition to collecting witness testimony, a personal injury lawyer must also work quickly to preserve all physical evidence related to the case before it is tampered with or destroyed (in some cases intentionally). This is especially important if liability is disputed. Attorneys often use physical pieces such as tools, vehicles, clothing, photographs, etc., to prove their clients’ claims and support their medical records in court proceedings.
- Advise Clients on Preventing Decreases in Compensation: It is essential that injured individuals understand how insurance companies work and avoid making statements which could be used against them later. When seeking compensation from insurers after an injury-causing event has occurred, personal injury lawyers provide advice about what is and is not appropriate to say, as well as explain exactly how insurance companies assess compensation.
How Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
Navigating Virginia’s personal injury laws can be difficult, especially when you are already dealing with the physical, emotional, and financial aftermath of a serious injury. At Reinhardt | Harper | Davis, our team is ready to guide you through the recovery process and handle every legal detail of your case so that you can focus on healing and moving forward with your life.
We handle a wide range of personal injury matters, including car accident claims, wrongful death lawsuits, and more. We also assist injured workers with workers’ compensation claims and help individuals seeking Social Security disability benefits navigate the SSD system.
We are available 24/7 to take your call and answer your questions, and there are no attorney fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf.