You can be the most cautious driver on the road and still become seriously injured in an auto accident. It doesn’t seem fair when you follow the laws and someone else’s careless or reckless behavior causes a crash that could bring you financial hardship as well as life-altering injuries.
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one resulting from a car crash on one of Virginia’s roads, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. The personal injury attorneys at the Pack Law Group have experience helping victims of auto accidents collect payment for their damages so that they can reclaim their lives.
Virginia Auto Accident Facts
The Commonwealth of Virginia operates the third-largest state highway system in the country, with nearly 58,000 miles of state-maintained interstates, highways, and roads. In 2016, there were 128,525 car crashes in Virginia that resulted in 67,294 injuries and 761 deaths. The number of licensed drivers in Virginia has continued to climb each year, with that figure now at nearly 6.5 million, up over a half a million drivers from the prior year.
The Most Common Causes of Virginia Auto Accidents
With more drivers on the road, the rate of accidents and fatalities are expected to increase each year. Some of the most common types of accidents that can result in devastating injuries or wrongful death include:
- Drunk driving accidents
- Distracted driving accidents
- Speed-related accidents
- Drowsy driving accidents
- Head-on and rear-end collisions
- Hit-and-run accidents
Just about any accident can lead to life-altering injuries or loss of life. Common serious injuries include traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries, internal injuries, broken bones, and burns. If you’ve been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, you have the right to make a claim for damages related to medical care, lost wages, permanent disability, and pain and suffering.
What If You Are Hit By an Uninsured Driver?
One fact that catches many responsible adults by surprise is that Virginia drivers are not required by law to carry auto insurance. However, this waiving of insurance is based on the condition of paying a $500 fee to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. That fee is paid at the time of vehicle registration or renewal, but it is not considered a form of insurance.
Anyone who pays this fee agrees that they are assuming the risk of being an uninsured driver. Unfortunately, if you are hit by one of these people, you may find it difficult to recover your losses. The good news is that everyone who does have insurance in Virginia, which hopefully includes you, must carry certain limits and has access to valuable underinsured motorists coverage (UIM).
Virginia law requires that insured motorists carry minimum amounts of insurance equal to:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury or death
- $50,000 aggregate for bodily injury or death
- $20,000 property damage coverage
UIM coverage is optional and would be equal to liability coverage (so minimum of $25,000/$50,000).
If you are hit by a driver that either doesn’t have insurance, doesn’t have sufficient insurance limits, or doesn’t have the ability to pay for your losses, you may be able to collect from your policy’s UIM coverage. This is something that your personal injury attorney can investigate and claim on your behalf.
Steps to Take If You’ve Been in an Accident
If you have been involved in a car accident, the actions you take or fail to take could have an impact on the strength of your personal injury case. A few of the steps that you should take include:
- Call 911. First responders can deliver medical care, and a police offer can create an accident report to document the incident.
- Gather Evidence. If you are able, exchange information with other drivers and witnesses. Also, take pictures of the accident scene, damages, and your injuries.
- Seek Medical Care. If you didn’t leave by ambulance, seek medical attention as soon as possible to document your injuries.
- Call Your Insurer. Call your auto insurance company to report the accident, but leave it at that.
- Avoid Giving Statements. Avoid giving recorded statements to any insurance company representative as they don’t have your best interests in mind.
- Speak with an Attorney. Speak with an experienced auto accident attorney who will advocate for your rights.
How an Experienced Virginia Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
In the aftermath of a serious car accident, you may be angry and confused about what steps to take next. Determining legal rights and fault after severe car crash injuries can be a complex undertaking. The longer you wait to investigate and gather evidence, the more difficult it becomes to build a compelling case for negligence.
We recommend that you speak with one of our knowledgeable and experienced Virginia auto accident attorneys as soon as possible. We will thoroughly review your case and advise you of your options. Some of the questions that we will help answer as quickly as possible include:
- Do I have a valid claim for damages?
- What evidence is needed to prove that another party was negligent?
- Are there certain time limits that apply to my claim?
- What rights do I have to collect under different insurance policies?
- What damages can I ask to recover?
- What steps do I need to take to maximize my recovery for damages?
These are just a few of the questions that we can discuss with you during your free case evaluation. You may have additional needs related to your accident, and our attorneys will work to make sure you get the medical care and financial resources you need to reclaim your life.
At the Pack Law Group, our legal team is committed to helping car accident victims pursue just compensation from every available source. If you’ve been hurt, speak to us now about how you can seek justice. We serve clients throughout the Bedford and Lynchburg areas. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (540) 586-7225 or contact us online now.