Money Money Money! Personal Injury Simplified.
I’ve handled over 1,600 cases in my decade long career so far. In a significant number of these cases, I was representing clients who were injured in a car accident.
Most people think it works like this — someone crashes into you, you get hurt and you receive a fat check, right? Not exactly.
Here’s what you ought to know. Just the basics.
Personal injury is a type of case where you’re hurt and someone else may be legally responsible for that harm. It is civil law, meaning the person who was at fault cannot go to jail. Instead, they can be held accountable by making you whole again. That means, they somehow compensate you for the injury you sustained (pain & suffering), medical expenses, and maybe lost wages, etc. Most times, their insurance takes care of paying.
A personal injury case requires that all of the following four elements of the case be true and satisfied; 1) a duty must exist; 2) a breach of that duty has to occur; 3) a causation must exist; and 4) there must be damages.
What does this mean? For your case to be successful, the person who is hurt must not have been even a tiny bit at fault. Virginia is a pure contributory negligence state. Which means, in order for you to “win” your case, you cannot have contributed to the harm you sustained; the other guy has to be 100% at fault. For example, in the context of a car accident, the other driver has a duty to drive safely and obey the laws on public roads. A breach of that duty would be something the driver did or didn’t do such as failing to stop or running a red light. Next, causation would be established when the driver’s failure to uphold their duty caused harm to you. And lastly, you must have been actually hurt (damages).
In the event the unfortunate happens, I’m glad to explain the process of how to get you from Point A to Point B. From the date of the accident to the date you deposit your settlement check, my job will be to be your guide and obtain the maximum amount of compensation possible.
If an accident happens, regardless of fault, take these steps:
- Don’t drive away. Stay put, if your car is driveable, move to a safe place nearby. No one likes extra traffic. TAKE PICTURES BEFORE you move your car!
- See if everyone is okay, if not, call 911 for help to arrive.
- Keep record of the accident. Location, time, etc. Calling the police is a good idea. Normally, do not approach or talk to the other driver. Do not admit fault or say sorry. The police will help you exchange information. Most police have their own ways to do this. Some may want you to take pictures of each other’s drivers license and insurance cards.
- If you’re not at fault, there is no need to give your own insurance information. Provide the other driver with ONLY your contact information.
- Take pictures. Use your phone to take pictures from multiple angles and viewpoints.
- Report the accident to your insurance company to let them know what happened. If you’re not at fault, your rates won’t go up anyway. It is best to keep them in the loop. If you are at fault, they’ll find out anyway when the other driver calls your insurance company to file a claim.
- Don’t contact the other insurance company just yet. Even though you’re not at fault, when you file a claim, they will record the conversation and do their best to limit their liability (pay you less in compensation). If you call the same day or even the day after, you may not be hurting yet or feel hurt. When you are a certain age (typically over 30 years old), the onset of pain or irregularities may not be felt until a day or two after the trauma.
- Seek medical attention for your injuries. With treatment, you can establish records for your injuries to say you actually got hurt.
- Keep records. Put all paperwork from the insurance companies, the body shop, attorney documents, etc. in a safe place.
Or just give me a call and I’d be happy to talk you through you need to do.