The Basics of Personal Injury Law
Injuries are an unavoidable part of life, but injuries caused by someone else’s negligence are different. If someone else directly caused you harm by acting or failing to act in a reasonable manner, you may be able to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim.
To learn more about Virginia personal injury cases and if you’ve been harmed by someone else’s negligence, reach out to Pack Law Group at 540-586-7225.
What is Personal Injury?
The field of personal injury law refers to civil cases that make injured victims whole after being hurt by someone else’s action or inaction. This is separate from criminal justice, where perpetrators of crimes are held accountable through fines, jail time, or probation. Personal injury law strictly allows the victims to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses.
Types of personal injury cases include:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle crashes
- Bicycle or pedestrian accidents
- Dog bites or other animal attacks
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Injuries caused by defective products
- Medical malpractice
The term “damages” comes up a lot in personal injury law. Damages refers to money paid to victims to compensate them for their losses. For example, you may seek damages for the cost of your medical care after an accident caused by someone else.
After an accident, a successful personal injury case may allow a victim to recover damages for:
- Medical expenses, including ambulance transportation, the cost of getting to and from appointments, physical therapy, occupational therapy, surgical expenses, and pharmaceuticals; this also includes the cost of future treatment
- Lost wages and future income, including potential income you lost out on because of an accident that limited your ability to work or move ahead in your career
- Pain and suffering, depending on the severity, prognosis, and impact of your injuries
- Mental anguish and trauma
Recommended Steps After an Injury
If you get into a car accident, suffer a dog bite, experience a slip and fall injury, or are otherwise hurt by someone else’s actions, the steps you take immediately afterward may affect your case. General tips for victims include:
- Reporting the accident to the proper authorities; this may mean calling the police after a car accident or notifying a store manager after a slip and fall
- Seek medical attention and keep copies of all bills and documents you receive
- Gather any evidence you can, including witness reports or contact information, photos, and video
- Contact a personal injury lawyer before you communicate with insurance adjusters or other parties involved in your claim
- Do not speak about the accident or your injuries on social media, since anything that the other party can find may work against you
The Role of Contributory Negligence in Virginia
There is one aspect of personal injury law that separates Virginia from the vast majority of other states. In most states, when a victim is partially liable for the accident, their award is reduced by the percentage of fault they have. However, Virginia uses a standard of pure contributory negligence.
Under this law, if a jury finds that the victim of an accident is even 1% responsible for the accident, the victim cannot receive any damages from the other party. This is a significant risk for any victim who ends up taking their case to court.
However, the fact is that very few personal injury cases actually make it to court. Most cases are settled out of court, either before a lawsuit is filed or before court proceedings begin. This allows victims who may have some blame to still receive compensation while permitting the liable party to avoid the risk of a potentially huge award.
Take the First Step in Your Personal Injury Claim
If you or someone you love has been injured and you’re not sure what to do next, it’s time to connect with a personal injury lawyer who is committed to fighting for compensation on your behalf. The longer you wait to hire an attorney, the less evidence you may have to support your claim. At Pack Law Group, we put clients first by negotiating aggressively with insurance companies. When insurance companies are unreasonable, we aren’t afraid to take your case to court and hold them accountable. Get started now by calling us at 540-586-7225 or reaching out online.