Our Car Accident Lawyers Fight For Injury Victims
What Should I Do After An Accident?
When Should I Contact The Insurance Company After An Accident?
What Will The Police Do At The Accident Scene?
How Do Truck Company Policies Lead To Truck Accidents?
What Are Common Causes Of Bicycle-Related Accidents?
Is There Civil Liability In Drunk Driving Accidents And Drugged Driving Accidents?
What Are External Causes Of Distracted Driving Accidents?
Pedestrian Accidents: When Do Sidewalks And Crosswalks Become The Scene Of An Accident?
What Are The Benefits Of Hiring A Lawyer After A Car Accident?
Car accident injuries can be devastating and traumatic. After an auto wreck in the Roanoke, Virginia, area, victims often need to file a lawsuit to recover fair compensation for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses related to their injuries.
At Fishwick & Associates PLC, our personal injury lawyers believe victims should be compensated fairly for their injuries. You can schedule a consultation with one of our car crash attorneys by calling 540-643-9772 or by completing a simple online form. We will listen to your story and help you understand your legal options.
Below, we have more information that may help if you have been injured or lost a loved one in a car accident.
After a motor vehicle accident, it is important to take the right steps to ensure your accident claim is positioned to secure a successful outcome. If it is safe to do so, you should:
- Call 911 to report the accident
- Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries
- Document your injuries and property damage by having someone take pictures and collect witness information at the accident scene
First and foremost, and if you are able, check yourself for injuries. Your safety and health should be your number one priority at all times. Remember, if you are driving with one or more loved ones, you will not be able to help them unless you are in a position to do so.
If your injuries permit, make sure law enforcement has been called to the scene. Sometimes, a helpful bystander will call 911 and this will not be an issue, but it is important to remember that, if a car accident results in injuries or death, law enforcement must be called. Failure to make such a report could result in criminal penalties in Virginia.
Similarly, it would be a mistake to leave the scene or say anything that could be construed as admitting fault. While you will likely be confused and overwhelmed after being involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should make every effort to maintain a cool head.
If able, you should also take the time after a motor vehicle accident to collect evidence that will be helpful to your future case. If you have a camera or mobile phone on you, take pictures of yourself and your vehicle to document the damage.
It is important to notify your own auto insurance carrier after being involved in a car accident, whether you were at fault or not. While the at-fault driver’s insurance will often pay for towing and storage, your insurance company may be able to step in if they do not, depending on your coverage. Storage fees can quickly add up as the insurance companies try to resolve the property claim.
Also, if the at-fault driver is uninsured or has low insurance policy limits, you may ultimately need to rely on your own insurance’s uninsured/underinsured coverage. Most insurance policies require their insureds to notify them of a car accident, so not reporting the motor vehicle accident to your insurance provider could be a costly mistake.
When the police visit the accident scene, they will interview witnesses and the drivers/passengers of the vehicles involved in the accident. They will then fill out a form called a police crash report, including the names of the drivers, the owners of the vehicles, insurance information, any traffic violations committed, any criminal or traffic citations, the damage to the vehicles, and a description and diagram of the accident, among other things.
In personal injury cases, the accident report is a valuable piece of evidence and can go a long way to support your claim. It identifies the other driver and their auto insurance provider, information needed to obtain a settlement or file a lawsuit. It also provides objective proof of the accident and the other driver’s negligent conduct.
For these reasons, if possible, you should try to obtain a copy of the police crash report at the scene of the accident. If you are unable to do so, a personal injury lawyer can obtain a copy for you using a Freedom of Information Act or FOIA request.
One of the major reasons truck accidents happen is because of the pressures trucking companies place on drivers to save money. Truck accidents are often directly caused by:
- Extended shifts, especially when they encroach on or surpass legal limits
- Improper loading practices that lead to truck imbalances and instability
- Failure to maintain to properly maintain trucks
- Defects in tires and other equipment
Commercial trucks in Virginia are required to carry higher liability limits than other motor vehicles. Trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings of 10,000 pounds are more, like most commercial trucks, are required to carry at least $750,000 in insurance coverage. This means that, if you are seriously injured by a truck driver’s negligence, there is more money available to compensate you for your injuries.
Bicyclists are vigilant about their safety, but they fall victim to:
- Distracted drivers
- Drugged drivers
- Drunk drivers
- Road damage
- Truck wrecks
- Unexpected traffic changes
Unfortunately, bicyclists are at more risk for injury because of the exposure to the elements and lack of safety features when accidents occur. Even in the best cases, the result can be devastating, requiring multiple reconstructive surgeries, months of rehabilitation, physical therapy, and lifelong medical care. In the worst case, your loved one may die or never be able to live independently again because an at-fault driver struck them.
Civil courts provide an outlet to hold drivers financially liable for injuries, meaning that the consequences for a DUI do not stop at an arrest. The result of civil litigation will depend on the evidence, including:
- The driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC): Breath and blood tests can establish that a DUI happened and the severity of the crime.
- Police reports: Reports include critical information like when and where the accident happened, both drivers’ conditions at the time of the accident and a narrative account.
- Witness testimony: Witness statements can corroborate your side of the story and can be especially valuable in settlement claims.
- Medical documents: A full diagnosis and the plan for your medical treatment is vital when determining a fair settlement.
Many people think justice is done solely in criminal court, but we use civil court as a tool to hold drunk and drugged drivers responsible for the catastrophic injuries their decisions cause.
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, more than 180 people are hurt every day in distracted driving accidents. All it takes is one person glancing at their phone or dropping something at the wrong time to cause a catastrophic automobile accident.
It’s important for drivers to know that outside distractions can be just as dangerous as those inside their vehicles. Common external distractions include:
- Vehicles pulled to the side of the road
- Flashing lights or signs
- Animals attempting to cross the road
- People or activities outside the vehicle
Even if they look away from the road for just a few seconds, that may be long enough to rear end another vehicle, leave the roadway or cross the center line.
To avoid external distractions, follow these tips.
- Don’t engage in sightseeing while behind the wheel. If there is something you want to look at, pull over to the side of the road safely before doing so.
- Stay focused on traffic in front of your vehicle. If there is a crash or there are emergency vehicles nearby, don’t focus on them. Instead, look ahead and make sure to keep a safe distance back from nearby traffic.
- Avoid driving while you’re tired. If you’re tired, you’re more likely to daydream or get distracted by outside stimuli. If you find yourself not paying attention to the road, pull over for a quick nap and to reassess if you can drive safely.
Pedestrian accidents account for roughly 16 percent of motor vehicle accident fatalities, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. In pedestrian accidents where the accident victim survives, the medical challenges that follow can require serious intervention and ongoing care. But ask yourself: can you trust an insurance company to give you the support you need?
If you are in an accident while walking or jogging, you should try to do the following:
- Assess the situation. Take time to make sure you and any injured person get medical care.
- Call the police. Even seemingly straightforward, inarguable situations should be documented by a neutral party.
- Ask witnesses for their contact information. Witnesses can be very important to a later case or claim.
- Get medical help. Your immediate medical needs should be your priority; do not wait to call for emergency medical services.
Most pedestrian accidents happen at sidewalks, crosswalks, parking lots and intersections. This is where cars and pedestrians share spaces and these are also areas where drivers pay less attention.
If you are involved in a car accident and have serious injuries, the at-fault driver’s insurance provider may try to settle with you early. However, even if the offer looks tempting, it is best to consult an attorney to weigh all possible options before coming to a decision. Here are a few reasons why:
First, insurance companies typically do not offer the maximum compensation you can receive from the get-go. Insurance companies do not have to disclose what their at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits are, unless you follow a very specific procedure according to the Virginia Code. A lawyer can walk you through this process to make sure an insurance provider does not short-change you.
Second, the at-fault driver may have low insurance policy limits, requiring you to rely on your own insurance’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Virginia law, however, has very specific requirements when it comes to filing a uninsured/underinsured claim or lawsuit. A lawyer can guide you through the ins and outs of uninsured/underinsured coverage and help make sure you do not inadvertently shut yourself out of the uninsured/underinsured insurance coverage for which you pay your auto insurance provider for.
Third, you may not know the full extent of your injuries when the at-fault driver’s insurance company comes to you with an early offer. If you settle early, you will be unable to pursue any future claim arising out of the same accident, even if new injuries develop. Moreover, insurance companies typically do not account for lost wages, emotional anguish, and pain and suffering in their offer. Consulting with a lawyer today is often the key to avoiding regret tomorrow.
We Handle All Kinds Of Auto Accident Cases
The team of personal injury attorneys at our law firm handles a wide variety of motor vehicle claims related to:
- Bicycle-car crashes
- Car accidents
- Distracted driving
- Drugged driving
- Drunk driving
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian-car collisions
- Reckless driving
- Truck wrecks
Auto accident injuries can include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, whiplash, and even psychological damage such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The most tragic accidents can necessitate wrongful death lawsuits.
For more information about our approach to personal injury cases, request an initial consultation with one of our accident attorneys.
How To Reach Our Auto Accident Lawyers
Representative Case Results
- $1,240,000 settlement
Motor vehicle accident
- $151,928 settlement
- $100,000 settlement
Auto accident caused by speeding driver
Read more of our case results.
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- The importance of UIM auto insurance coverage in Virginia