In Virginia – just as in every other state in the country – any victim who is injured in an accident or incident that is a result of another party’s negligence or recklessness is allowed to pursue a legal claim against that party to recover financial compensation for the losses their injuries cause them. Some of these damages include medical expenses to treat their injuries, lost income from missed workdays, reduced earning capacity if they are left with a permanent disability, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and more.
Many people who have never gone through the personal injury claim process are unsure of how it works or even where to begin. They often wonder which steps need to be taken first, will they need to go to court and have a trial, and how long will it take for their case to reach a resolution.
If you have been injured in an accident, a Virginia Beach personal injury attorney can answer all of these questions. The following is a brief overview of the personal injury claim process, but for a more detailed explanation regarding your particular situation, contact our office to schedule a free case evaluation.
No matter what type of accident the victim has been injured in (vehicle accident, premises liability, defective product, etc.), the first step a Virginia personal injury attorney will take is to investigate the accident that caused the injury. The attorney will ask the victim about details of the accident or incident. Those details will help determine what other areas may need to be investigated, depending on the type of accident it was.
The attorney will then begin to gather the evidence to prove the victim’s case. This evidence can include medical records of the diagnosis and treatment the victim required, police reports of the incident, witness statements, and more.
The majority of personal injury cases are settled before they ever go to trial. With this in mind, the attorney will usually send the at-fault party and/or their insurance company a demand letter containing the facts regarding the injuries the victim sustained and a request for a specific amount of financial compensation for the losses the injuries have caused the victim.
Once the other party received the letter, they will either agree to pay the amount the attorney has stipulated in the letter or not. If they refuse to pay, the attorney will then file a personal injury lawsuit with the court.
Once the lawsuit has been filed, the discovery process will begin. This is where both parties will request interrogatories, depositions, production of documents, and more. All of these items will help the attorneys gather evidence that will eventually be used during the trial.
The type of evidence requested and gathered really depends on the type of accident that injured the victim. For example, if the accident was a car accident and the at-fault party’s vehicle had a dash camera installed, the victim’s attorney can request the footage from the accident be turned over.
While the discovery process is going on, the victim’s attorney and the insurance company often begin negotiations to try to reach a settlement amount. This is often the case when the insurance company realizes the attorney has gathered a lot of evidence and will likely win the trial.
If the two sides still cannot reach a settlement amount agreement, the case will go before a jury or judge. Both sides are able to present evidence, examine witnesses, and make opening and closing arguments. Once the case goes to the jury (or judge), they will decide if the alleged at-fault party is liable for the victim’s injuries and, if so, how much the victim should receive.
Contact Our Office Today
If you have suffered injuries in a car accident caused by another party, contact a Virginia car accident attorney to find out what legal options you may have. At Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn, we are dedicated to helping injured clients obtain the compensation they deserve for their medical bills, lost income, and other losses their injuries have caused. Call 800-752-0042 for a free case evaluation.
An experienced personal injury attorney with dual licensure in Virginia and North Carolina, Eric Washburn received a B.B.A. in Finance from James Madison University—initially worked in the information technology field before obtaining his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Once an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Danville, Va., Eric has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” Super Lawyer in Virginia since 2014.