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Virginia Car Accident Lawyer
Car Accident Lawyer and Accident Attorneys in Northern Virginia
When we get into our cars, to head to the store, or take a Sunday drive, or head to the park with the kids, none of us plan on getting into a accident. In Northern Virginia car accident lawyers hear these types of stories all the time. Any Virginia accident lawyer that has been car accident lawyer for any length of time is sadly aware of the huge amount of car accidents and the tragic loss of life that takes place not only in Virginia, but nationwide.
In 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were nearly 6 million car accidents in the United States alone, with 116,386 occurring in Virginia. We hope never to be included in these statistics, but sometimes accidents happen. We here at Ashcraft & Gerel believe that every Virginia driver should be aware of the process, Virginia car accident laws, and rules and legal guidelines involved in the aftermath of a car accident.
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, Virginia drivers do NOT have to purchase auto insurance by law. However, this is conditional on a payment of $500 to the Virginia Department of motor vehicles. This fee must be paid at the time of car registration and again for each following license renewal. However, this fee is not any form of insurance. If you pay this fee in place of car insurance, you assume the risk of an uninsured vehicle. For those who choose to have car insurance for their vehicles, the state requires minimum coverage in a few areas:
- At least $25,000. This covers any physical injury or death of a single person in case of a car accident.
- At least $50,000. This covers any physical injury or death of two or more people involved in the car accident.
- At least $20,000. This covers any property damage that may have happened during or as a result of the accident. Typically, this goes toward any damage to the vehicle or vehicles involved in an car accident.
These numbers may seem high. And while we hope we will never have to use it, there is a reason the majority of people who drive have insurance: if you are involved in a Virginia car accident, you and the others involved in the accident will be protected by this coverage up to the amount in your policy. Those without insurance in the state of Virginia are personally responsible for any costs from a car accident, often having to pay out of their own pocket.
What Happens After a Virginia Car Accident
- The most important thing to do after a car accident is make sure you and any passengers in your car are physically alright and seek immediate medical attention if necessary.
- Assuming there are no serious injuries requiring immediate medical attention, it is usually a good idea to call the police. This typically helps ensure that insurance information is exchanged between you and the other driver(s) involved in the accident.
After the accident, once you have received any medical attention and exchanged insurance information with the other person or people involved, the process of dealing with insurance companies begins. This can be a complicated and frustrating process. Although people handle insurance companies by themselves, many will hire a car accident lawyer to help guide them through the twists and turns of dealing with auto insurance companies. Here is some general information every person involved in a Virginia car accident should know:
1. Giving notice. The state of Virginia has a 2 year statute of limitations to file a car accident claim. The time begins on the date the accident occurs. With that in mind, as soon as possible after the car accident, call the other driver’s insurance company to “give notice,” or inform them that a claim is being filed. If you choose to hire an attorney after this point, he or she will promptly follow this verbal notice with a written letter to the insurance company.
2. Fault. Virginia is what is known as a “Fault” State. In states like this, if you are hurt or your car is at all damaged, you can file a claim with the other driver or driver’s insurance company, assuming that they are at fault. This type of claim is what is known as a “third party claim.” For example, if you are stopped at a red light and are rear ended by a driver or are involved in an accident while driving your car for work or a company vehicle, you would file a claim with the other person’s or your company’s insurance company.
3. Contributory negligence. Virginia is one of the few states that still uses what is known as contributory negligence, also known as comparative fault. In simplest terms, this means that if you are found to be responsible for the accident in anyway, you cannot recover any money by Virginia law. This law can also affect you insurance claim. For example, an adjuster, the insurance company employee who handles accident claims, will use this in settlement negotiations to try and lower the amount of money the insurance company has to pay out. If you choose hire a car accident lawyer to file a civil lawsuit in addition to your insurance claim, contributory negligence also applies. If the judge or jury finds the other driver 99% responsible and you only 1% responsible, that 1% will bar you from collecting any money from the insurance company. Due to Virginia car accident laws, and because there is no concrete, or scientific way, to prove or disprove blame, the way to receive insurance money on your car accident claim will typically come down to negotiation between your car accident lawyer and the claims adjuster. In the case of a civil lawsuit, the same idea applies.
This is just a brief introduction into the world of Virginia accident lawyers, car accident laws, and accidents and insurance companies in general. There is a lot a red tape to cut through and the task of getting through it can seem daunting. For this reason alone is well worth your while to seek the advice of a knowledgeable Virginia car accident lawyer. In Manassas, our five Virginia accident lawyers are experts in these matters and can be invaluable to winning your car accident case. Because of court experience and understanding of related Virginia car accident laws each accident lawyer is equip to win car accident lawsuits.
Why not allow a Virginia accident lawyer at Ashcraft & Gerel to help guide you through the complexities of your case. You will find any one of our accident lawyers to be helpful if you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident in the state of Virginia, please, don’t hesitate to contact Virginia car accident lawyer at Ashcraft & Gerel law firm today for a FREE consultation. Call us at 800-829-7037.