Whether it is a fender-bender or a multi-car pile-up, a car accident always leads to heavy costs. These are the responsibility of whoever caused the accident because, without their actions, the costs never would have been incurred.
However, it is typically the insurance company of those at fault that is responsible for paying them, but holding them accountable can be challenging. An Alexandria car accident lawyer, though, may be able to help you get the restitution you deserve.
At Whitlock Law, LLC, the bulk of our work is done on car accident claims. We are able to bring that experience to our clients’ cases and argue for the compensation they deserve. We understand what to expect from the insurance companies and how to negotiate with them.
If a settlement won’t be an option, we can call on our litigation experience to hold them accountable in court. We make sure that every option is taken to get our clients what they are legally owed.
When you decide to have an Alexandria car accident lawyer represent you in the claims process, we become responsible for seeking the restitution that you need. We bring a depth of knowledge regarding the process, the laws, and what to expect from the other side of the case. These can give you an advantage in the process.
However, before those processes begin in earnest, we must thoroughly investigate the accident that you were involved in.
Some car accidents are straightforward in terms of who is liable and at fault. However, there are others that can be much more complex. It’s not always another driver who is at fault, and an investigation can help reveal which parties are liable and where compensation should be sought.
In addition to identifying the liable parties, we must gather evidence that can, if necessary, be used in court to prove that liability. Police reports, witness accounts, photos, videos, and other documentation may all be helpful.
We can also look for evidence that can help defend against any claims that you were responsible for the accident. Under Virginia’s contributory negligence rules, this could put your compensation at risk, so we can work to defend against those claims and preserve your right to seek compensation.
After the investigation, the next phase of the process often involves some negotiation with the parties that are responsible for paying the costs incurred. Choosing a settlement instead of going to court may be advantageous for all parties involved. However, you should only settle if it is on the right terms, and allowing us to negotiate on your behalf may be your strongest chance of getting those terms.
When the insurance companies we typically negotiate with recognize that a lawyer is involved, it can accelerate the negotiation process. They usually realize that a lowball offer isn’t going to get anywhere as it might when they are dealing with a novice negotiator.
They also recognize that the presence of a lawyer carries the implicit threat of taking the claim to court. Wanting to avoid that outcome could lead to more agreeable results.
There are some situations where we may not find an agreement that both parties find acceptable. If that happens, though, litigation may be the right option. These cases are handled under Virginia’s personal injury claim law and operate according to those rules.
We have experience arguing and winning these claims in court and are ready to bring that knowledge to our clients’ trials if that’s what’s needed.
The restitution in a car accident claim in Alexandria, VA is meant to cover all costs that are a direct result of the accident and injuries that you suffered. One of our key tasks is to prove the connection between these two facts.
In many cases, evidence like medical bills, receipts, and other documentation can be used to do so. That’s why it’s critical that you keep a good record of the costs that you have endured, and continue to endure, as a result of the accident. These expenses will be compensated through different forms of damages.
If a cost can be easily calculated in monetary terms, it can be compensated through economic damages. This usually means that costs with a bill or a receipt will fall under these damages. Medical bills are often a primary component, but repairs or the replacement of a vehicle after the accident are also addressed under these damages.
Lost wages are compensated if the injury was serious enough to require you to miss work for a period of time.
In the case of very serious injuries with long-term effects, damages can cover the expenses that are associated with them. For example, any future medical costs that are going to be necessary to care for your injuries are addressed.
Additionally, if the injuries are going to prevent you from returning to work at the same capacity as you had prior to the injury, that lost earning capacity will be compensated as well.
These damages are designed to cover those costs that lack a clear financial aspect and can’t be directly addressed with a bill. Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, and mental anguish are some of the more common issues that these kinds of damages address.
While they are compensated with monetary value, it’s understood that money won’t “fix” these issues, and nothing can directly “make you whole” regarding these costs. Instead, the compensation acts as a kind of acknowledgment that you’re suffering these costs, and it may be able to help you address other issues in life.
Most car accident claims won’t have punitive damages awarded, but they are possible in limited circumstances. These are a referendum on the behavior of the defendant and not a direct response to the costs that you suffered.
Unless there was something malicious or egregious about the defendant’s actions, they likely won’t be a part of the compensation that you receive. When we look at the specifics of your case, we may be able to give you a better idea of whether they would apply in your situation.
A critical component of any personal injury claim, including those involving motor vehicles, is the contributory negligence involved. Virginia is one of just a few states that use these rules, whereas most use compensatory negligence instead.
In both cases, the defendant in a civil claim is given the opportunity to argue that the plaintiff was also negligent in some way that contributed to their actions. They must show that, if the plaintiff had not been negligent as well, the accident may have been avoided.
If the defendant’s team is successfully able to make this argument, then the ability to collect damages is impacted. In the case of comparative negligence, damages are reduced proportionately to the plaintiff’s share of responsibility for the accident.
However, in Virginia, contributory negligence rules say that a plaintiff who is even 1% at fault for an accident is prohibited from collecting damages.
The high stakes involved with contributory negligence is one of the reasons why it’s important that you work with a firm that is experienced in litigation, like Whitlock Law, LLC. We understand the importance of being properly prepared to defend against these accusations and are ready to do so for our clients.
Liability in a car accident is often presumed to belong to another driver in the collision. While this may be the case for the majority of accidents, there are often circumstances where they may not be the only liable party or may not even be liable at all.
Car accidents can sometimes be complex, and it’s critical that the liable party is identified so that you can seek restitution from those who owe it. Some of the potentially liable parties in a car accident include:
If a claim goes to court, proving liability is necessary before you can collect any damages. This process connects a negligent action on the part of the defendant directly to the injuries that you sustained.
We can use evidence from the accident to prove that connection, and it typically involves demonstrating three elements:
The first element that we need to show is a duty of care, which means that the defendant had a particular responsibility in the circumstances surrounding the accident. They needed to consider the potential danger or risk that their actions could cause and take proper precautions to reduce those potential risks.
Generally, whenever vehicles are involved in a case, the danger that they could pose means that a duty of care is reasonably easy to recognize and understand.
When someone fails to meet the duty of care that they had in a given situation, that is considered a breach of that duty. This failure is what really makes someone liable for the situation and is often the most contentious element of the case.
We must demonstrate precisely what the defendant did and describe why those actions constituted a breach of duty. However, the specifics of what constitutes will depend on the defendant involved and the duty of care that should have been met.
Finally, the breach that was demonstrated must be the direct cause of the injuries that you suffered, as this makes the defendant liable for paying the costs that their negligence inflicted. This means that we must show how the breach created the accident. Then, we must demonstrate how the accident led to the injuries.
While this may seem unnecessary, it’s worth recognizing that there are times when a breach is not the cause of an accident. A defective headlight is a breach, but it is not the cause if that car is rear-ended.
Similarly, injuries could be exaggerated or unrelated to the accident. Proof of the connections between the breach, accident, and injuries must be clearly demonstrated, and then damages may be collected.
At some point, you may need to make a decision of whether to accept a settlement offer or take the claim to court. While we can certainly work to negotiate the strongest settlement offer possible, it may be less than what could be awarded if a court case went absolutely perfectly.
However, that’s not always what happens, so it’s worth recognizing a couple of advantages of a settlement that could factor into your decision.
One massive advantage is the removal of risk. Even the strongest of cases still hold the possibility that something unexpected could happen, and the trial does not go in your favor.
In particular, the risk of a successful contributory negligence argument could remove all possibility of collecting damages. A settlement is a way to avoid that risk. You will receive whatever compensation package is agreed to by both parties.
The other advantage of a settlement that is worth considering is that of time. When you take a claim to court, it’s likely that you won’t receive the funds that you are seeking for months or even years. With a settlement, though, you could receive them much sooner.
The funds are paid out according to the details of the agreement which, in most cases, will be thirty days. If you need to make sure that you receive the funds in a timely manner, a settlement is often a better option.
Depending on the severity and the lasting impact of your injuries, we understand how money can feel like a secondary concern. We realize that money won’t solve all the issues that you’re facing.
It’s important, though, that you get the restitution that you’re owed after an accident. These funds can help ease some of the stress and burden that you and your families are facing. For injuries that are going to impact you well into the future, they can offer comfort knowing that some important financial issues will be covered.
An Alexandria car accident lawyer, like the seasoned attorney at Whitlock Law, LLC, is often a crucial part of the process of getting the compensation that you’re owed. Insurance companies, which are usually the ones paying these claims, can often be challenging to hold accountable. Whatever they pay you is going to negatively impact their profit margins.
At Whitlock Law, LLC, we have experience working with these companies to find fair agreements. If they refuse to pay you the proper compensation, we know how to argue for it in court. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and are wondering about what to do next, contact us today.
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