Drivers in Norfolk cause car accidents every day on highways and major roads like I-64, I-264, I-564, Military Highway, Little Creek, Crosby Street, and Tidewater Drive. When these crashes happen at high speeds, severe injuries can and do occur.
Even when the at-fault driver is clearly legally responsible for both the damage to your car and your bodily injuries, like in a rear-ender, the insurance companies certainly do not make it easy to hold them accountable. Getting your injury and property damage claims quickly and properly handled by insurance adjusters is just one way a Norfolk car accident lawyer from Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers could provide valuable assistance in your case.
Given how often insurance companies try to dodge paying fair compensation for accidents, it is critical to seek legal guidance before you even start the process of filing a claim. For example, you are not required to give the other driver’s insurance company a recorded statement. An experienced personal injury attorney from our firm could evaluate your claim and help you determine what to do and what not to do following a crash.
What Do I Do After a Car Accident?
The days after a car accident can be a confusing and frightening time. Additionally, these moments can be some of the most critical to a person’s ability to prove and document their injury case in order to receive fair payment. As soon as a crash occurs, contact local law enforcement. A police officer will investigate the motor vehicle accident and interview any witnesses.
An officer will also prepare and provide you a copy of the exchange sheet containing the other driver’s personal and insurance information. After, the officer often prepares an accident report, which will contain the findings of his investigation, which can be used to help your personal injury case. Many police officers and state troopers now wear cameras, which can capture statements made by the responsible driver at the scene. This early evidence captured by the police can sometimes be the difference in winning or losing your case.
The next step should be to take pictures or video at the scene of the collision. This can be valuable evidence as it can demonstrate the position of the vehicles or road conditions at the time of the crash. Photographs taken within moments of the car accident are most useful and can document skid marks before they fade, or the location of debris left behind by the vehicles before removed from the roadway.
It is also important to seek prompt medical attention. If the injuries are serious enough an ambulance can be dispatched to the accident scene. The medics will examine you and make a determination if you should be transported to a local emergency room.
It is common for people to not think about the evidence of the case following the shock and fright of having just been in a car accident. Most are understandably concerned about the well-being of those involved, and not an investigation. There will also certainly be crahses in which a person is too badly injured to do these early investigation steps themselves, and unable to initially discuss the car accident with the police. While these early steps to preserve evidence are preferred, your health and well-being is most important.
An injured person can certainly still pursue a case even if these early steps are not taken, but in those instances it is even more important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to get their investigators working on the case, preserving important evidence, and interviewing officers and witnesses.
Finally, anyone involved in a car crash should avoid talking with insurance companies before speaking with an attorney. The at-fault driver’s car insurance company is only looking out for their profits, and they may try to get people to sign written statements or provide recordings that work against their claims. An insurance company is looking for a way to close your claim. This is typically done by denying your claim (a/k/a refusing payment) or hoping you’ll go away cheap with a lowball settlement offer. The Norfolk car wreck attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers exclusively help those injured through the negligent acts of others and offer free no commitment consultations.
Proving Liability in Car Accident Cases
Under the laws of negligence, the person or entity who caused an accident may be held liable for the consequences even if the entire incident was unintentional. Recovery is based on the concept that if the allegedly liable person had acted with ordinary care, the motor vehicle accident would not have happened.
For example, if a driver loses control of a car because he or she looked away from the road and hit your vehicle, the collision may be accidental. However, the fact that the at-fault driver did not mean to cause the wreck does not allow them to escape responsibility—in other words, their negligence—which directly caused the car crash.
When a driver fails to exercise the ordinary care that a reasonable person would use when driving in similar circumstances, that driver may be considered negligent. If you are hurt by a negligent driver in a car accident, a Norfolk attorney from Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers could help you recover money for your injuries.
Click here to watch our video on “What To Do After a Car Accident”
Determining Who Bears Responsibility for a Norfolk Car Wreck
Sometimes the at-fault driver is not the only one responsible for a car crash. For example, if the driver was working for someone or for a company, then the company may be liable too. For example, an Uber or Lyft driver carrying a passenger for hire may be responsible for a wreck, and Uber, the employer, may be too.
An experienced lawyer in Norfolk, Virginia can help you determine all parties that may bear responsibility for your injuries following a car accident. This can help you get the full payment you are entitled to and the justice you deserve. Reach out to a dedicated lawyer today.
How Do Multiple Defendants Affect the Litigation Process?
Having multiple defendants in a case makes the trial last longer because there are more attorneys asking questions and more people testifying. For instance, if two defendants are pointing fingers at each other, they would both be put on the stand.
Sometines, the plaintiff’s attorney has an idea of who is more at fault following a car wreck. However, an attorney also may ask for joint and several liability against both defendants, which means that both defendants are responsible for 100 percent of the judgment. This protects an injured person if one defendant does not have insurance or any money to pay the judgment.
What Information is Included in a Car Wreck Claim?
When someone is filing a claim in court, that means he or she drafted a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and is filing it in either the general district or circuit court.
In car accident lawsuits, the claimant needs to put the defendant on notice about the crash and why he or she is filing the lawsuit. The lawsuit must include the date and location of the motor vehicle accident, the defendant’s name, and the allegations of negligence describing why this party is at fault.
This lawsuit also says that the claimant suffered injuries as well as other losses. Therefore, the claimant must include the amount of money he or she is seeking from the defendant. In district court, this document is called a Warrant in Debt. In circuit court, it is called a Complaint. An attorney in Norfolk could help someone prepare their car accident claim with the proper information.
When Should Settlement Negotiations Start Following a Motor Vehicle Crash?
There is a lot of work that goes into getting a case ready before negotiations for a settlement can begin. First, the injured person must reach a point in his or her treatment where the doctor can tell the attorney what care is going to be necessary in the future. The attorney then needs to collect the medical bills and records, and organize and summarize them, so the insurance company knows the nature of the injuries from the wreck.
Then, after all of this information is sent to the insurance company, the adjuster and the attorney negotiate a possible settlement. If the settlement offers are too low or if the insurance company denies the claim, a lawyer in Norfolk, VA will talk about the need to file a car wreck lawsuit with the injured person.
Consult with a Norfolk Car Accident Attorney
After suffering injuries in a car accident, you likely have many harms and losses to deal with, from medical bills and lost time from work to pain and suffering. The damages in an injury claim arising from a wreck could also include your inconvenience, mental anguish, as well as physical pain, and general disruption to your life
A Norfolk car accident lawyer can evaluate your situation, discuss your options going forward, and help you protect your rights and pursue the recovery to which you are entitled. We are familiar with local courts and roads, and we are experienced with cases just like yours. Call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.
As a general rule, the personal injury lawyer will receive 33% of the final settlement amount in the case. However, cases that go to trial often incur different costs. The goal of this fee structure is to minimize the client's financial risk in hiring an attorney to represent them.What is the probability of me getting in a car accident? ›
What is the chance of getting into a car accident? According to car insurance companies, the average driver will make an automobile collision claim once every 17.9 years. This means that if you start driving at 16 years of age, you'll be involved with at least three collisions over your lifetime.Should you call police for fender bender Virginia? ›
In the state of Virginia, car accidents that occur on a public road or highway, must be reported to the police. Additionally, if there is an injury involved in the accident, that injury must also be reported within the police crash report.What are the qualities of the best car accident lawyer? ›
- Experienced. While all attorneys must prove academic prowess to achieve their law license, the more impressive trait is their level of experience. ...
- Pragmatic. ...
- Studious. ...
- Communicative. ...
- Transparent. ...
- Focused. ...
- Empathetic and Compassionate. ...
- Driven and Passionate.
The vast majority of personal injury claims in the United States are resolved outside the courtroom. Up to 95% of all accident settlement negotiations are settled in out-of-court agreements.What is the most money awarded in a lawsuit? ›
Technically, the case against big tobacco was the biggest personal injury settlement in U.S. history although it wasn't a single person or family suing the companies. Forty-six states worked together to sue tobacco manufacturers, and they came away with a $246 billion settlement.What time are you most likely to get in a car accident? ›
According to IIHS, fatality accidents are most likely to occur in the 5 P.M. to 7 P.M. time range. Over 14,000 people were killed during this 2 hour period in a recent year. However, as a percentage of people on the road, 12:00 A.M. to 4 A.M. is the most deadly timeframe for driving.What is the most common way to get in a car accident? ›
Undoubtedly, distracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents. A distracted driver does not have their complete attention on the road, and they may be paying closer attention to a mobile device, passengers, or even a cheeseburger.How often does the average person get into an accident? ›
The car insurance industry estimates that the average driver will file a claim for a collision about once every 17.9 years. This suggests that if you got your license at the age of 16, that odds are that you crash your car by the time you reach 34.What to do after a car accident not your fault? ›
If the accident wasn't your fault, you can use a credit hire company instead of making a claim through your insurance company. A credit hire company pays for the cost of you hiring a replacement vehicle while yours is being fixed, and pays for the cost of repairs.
A fender bender is a low-speed car accident that doesn't result in serious injuries; the vehicle damage is minimal, and your car is still in driveable shape. Examples of fender benders include: Getting hit when you're backing your car out of a spot in a parking lot.How long after an accident can you file a claim? ›
Typically, your personal injury limitation period will start from the date of the accident. This is the date on which you first became injured. You will then have three years to make your claim from that date. There are exceptions to this rule, though, and it is important you know about these.What is a good settlement offer for a car accident? ›
A good car accident settlement offer is one that fully covers your medical expenses, property damage, and time off from work. It compensates you adequately for the pain and trauma you have experienced related to the accident. A skilled attorney can evaluate your settlement offer and advise you if it is reasonable.How do you negotiate a higher settlement in a car accident? ›
- Initiate a Claim as Soon as Possible After an Auto Accident.
- Keep Accurate Records About the Accident.
- Calculate a Fair Settlement.
- Send a Detailed Demand Letter to the Insurance Company.
- Do Not Accept the First Offer.
- Emphasize the Points in Your Favor.
- Get Everything in Writing.
On average, the typical settlement can take up to six weeks for processing after the case is settled. This is due to a number of factors and may vary from one case to another. This is just an average on how long it will take to get paid after your case is finished but varies depending on a number of factors.Why do judges prefer settlements? ›
Settlement allows the parties to control the outcome of the case. The outcome of a trial is never certain. Even if your case appears to be a “slam dunk”, it is still possible for a jury to find for the defendant, or award much less than your case is fairly worth. Settlement allows you to avoid the risks of trial.Is it better to settle or go to trial? ›
Your litigation can end within a few months if you settle out of court, and it is much less stressful. A guaranteed outcome. Going to trial means there is no certainty you will win, but when you settle, you are guaranteed compensation for your injuries.What is the usual result of a settlement? ›
Generally, when a settlement agreement is reached, the responsible party pays an amount to compensate for the “damages,” or losses, their negligence caused the victim.How long does it take to get lawsuit money? ›
After accepting an offer of settlement for a personal injury claim you will usually receive your compensation money within 14-28 days from the date of settlement.How do you successfully win a lawsuit? ›
You need to make a compelling legal argument, citing to statutes, past court decisions and other laws and regulations. You need to show how and why the defendant breached a legal duty or failed to fulfill a legal obligation and you need to show the consequences of the failure.
In truth, the amount of debris that is flecked off a car and how far it was flung in the accident can be a measurement of speed. Traffic forensic experts can actually measure how far the debris was flung and calculate the speed at which the car was going when it made impact.Is it better to be asleep in a car crash? ›
If you remain relaxed, those ligaments, discs, and nerves will take more of the force, resulting in more injury. Muscles tend to heal much faster and easier than ligaments, discs, and nerves, so: Brace your head against your car's headrest (make sure your headrest is properly adjusted for your height).What is the deadliest day to drive? ›
- Deadliest Holidays to Drive Number 6: Mother's Day.
- Deadliest Holidays to Drive Number 5: Cinco de Mayo.
- Deadliest Holidays to Drive Number 4: Father's Day.
- Deadliest Holidays to Drive Number 3: Independence Day.
- Deadliest Holidays to Drive Number 2: Labor Day.
- Deadliest Holidays to Drive Number 1: Memorial Day.
According to the III, here's the most important information drivers should exchange after an accident: Full name and contact information. Insurance company and policy number. Driver's license and license plate number.What not to say when you get in an accident? ›
Don't say “I'm sorry”
DON'T! A simple “I'm sorry” can be used to show that you admitted guilt and responsibility for the accident. Even if you mean “I'm sorry you're late for work” or “I'm sorry you are hurt” – try to avoid using the words “I'm sorry”.
Normal pain after a car accident usually includes minor soreness. Commonly, car accident victims experience pain in the neck or back. Even minor whiplash can linger for weeks, making it difficult for you to turn your head or move your neck into certain positions.Is it rare to survive a car accident? ›
The survival rate for auto accidents is remarkably high, given modern vehicle safety standards like seat belts and airbags, so there should be little reason to fear driving. That means there is only a 0.99% death rate for car crashes.Why do I keep getting into accidents? ›
The number one cause of car accidents is not drunk driving, speeding, or running a red light. It is distracted driving. Distracted driving includes anything that takes your attention off the road.
You may be confident in your own driving abilities and sure that you'll never get in an accident, but the stats show that the vast majority of drivers are going to be involved in accidents eventually. According to researchers, a car accident happens once every 17.9 years for the average driver.What percentage do most lawyers take as a contingency fee? ›
What is a typical percentage for contingency fees? In general, contingency fee percentages range from 33% to 40%, depending on the amount the client could potentially win, the strength of the case, and other factors. I have seen contingency fees as high as 50% (for small cases) and 15% (for very large cases).
An attorney assisting you in an injury claim should provide you with guidance and an assessment of your claim. In our firm, we start with an investigation of the claim, including obtaining all evidence, records and police reports. We work to obtain video evidence, statements and other evidence from witnesses.Why do most personal injury cases settle? ›
The vast majority of personal injury claimants settle to save time and money, while reducing risk. There are easily hundreds of thousands of plaintiffs and defendants currently tied up in personal injury cases nationwide.What are some tips to hire a personal injury lawyer? ›
- List Out Your Needs. ...
- Start Your Search by Asking Friends and Family. ...
- Look for Personal Injury Attorneys Who've Worked Similar Cases. ...
- Prepare a List of Key Questions for the Consultation. ...
- Look into Their Testimonials. ...
- Don't Be Intimidated by the Fees.
The file should be handed over immediately upon request. If the attorney's fees are paid in full, the attorney cannot hold the file back for the cost of any copies that the attorney has made, because the attorney cannot charge the client for these copies.What two types of cases Cannot be taken on a contingency basis? ›
However, Model Rule 1.5(d) prohibits contingency fee agreements for domestic relations matters—such as divorce cases—and for the representation of a defendant in a criminal case. Most states, including California and New York, have adopted such prohibitions on contingent fees.How do lawyers get paid from a settlement? ›
After a final settlement amount is reached in a case, the check will typically be sent to the lawyer on record for the plaintiff. The money will then usually be held in a trust or escrow account until it can be cleared by the banks, which usually takes three to ten business days for a larger sum.How long does a settlement take for personal injury? ›
Claims handled through the portal usually take around 4-9 months to settle – based on clients accepting the first settlement offer. Medical Negligence: Medical negligence cases can take anything from 18 months to even 2-3 years to settle.When should you hire a personal injury lawyer after a car crash? ›
In terms of when one should obtain legal representation, the general rule of thumb is the earlier the better. By hiring a lawyer soon after an accident, you can safeguard yourself against any costly mistakes you might make on your own, especially if this if your first time dealing with a serious car accident.Do most personal injury lawyers make a lot of money? ›
Some personal injury lawyers make more than $200,000 annually. While this is an extremely impressive figure, a personal injury lawyer's salary is more variable. The average personal injury lawyer makes about $73,000 per year, but is still below the coveted top-five averages.How long does an insurance company have to settle a claim? ›
Your insurer must compensate you within 60 days following receipt of your claims form, or information and supporting documents. If your vehicle was stolen, the insurer will generally wait 30 days before compensating you, in case your vehicle is found within this time period.
- Seek medical treatment immediately.
- Collect and preserve all evidence.
- File your personal injury claim as soon as possible.
- Aim for the full value of your claim.
- Do not accept the first offer without review.
- Include past, current, and future damages.
You should get legal advice urgently if you want to claim compensation. The most common claim in a personal injury case is negligence and the time limit for this is 3 years. This means that court proceedings must be issued within 3 years of you first being aware that you have suffered an injury.