If an individual is involved in a car accident, he/she may decide to file a personal injury claim. This person should acquire an attorney to give them accurate legal advice and help settle or win the case for them. There are a number of things a lawyer should discuss with a client before going to court.
The statute of limitations is the time limit a person has when filing for a claim. In the state of Virginia, the statute of limitations for a claim on car accident injuries is 2 years. For a claim on the damage of a vehicle or any other property in relation to the accident, the statute of limitation is 5 years. If a death occurs during or because of an accident and someone decides to file a ‘wrongful death’ lawsuit, the statute of limitations is 2 years from the date of the victims demise not the date of the accident.
Once a lawyer has established that the case is within its statute of limitations, he/she will begin an investigation and analyze the case thoroughly in order to determine what their client may or may not be entitled to. To estimate what a case is worth, an attorney will need to determine what the car accident cost the client from
- Medical Expenses
- Costs of any treatment required for any injuries acquired because of the accident.
- Damage of vehicle or any property involved in the accident.
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Suffering
- Any negative impact on psychological health including post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, fear of driving or crossing the road.
- Reimbursement for any wages that were lost (became unattainable) due to the accident and compensation for future incomes that can no longer be acquired because of the accident.
The attorney is required to prove two conceptions to the court in a car accident injury claim; Negligence and liability
To prove negligence in Virginia, a lawyer must have compelling evidence that proves the car accident was caused by the defendant’s carelessness and lack of responsibility while on the road. For example, if an accident occurs on the road because of a drunk driver, a lawyer will argue that the accident took place for the sole reason that the defendant was careless enough to drive a car after consuming an excessive amount of alcohol. To prove liability, a lawyer will need to prove that the defendant was the only person at fault for the accident. Since Virginia is a fault state, if a judge rules in favor of the plaintiff, the defendant is required to pay the compensation package ordered by the judge.
If the defendant can prove that the plaintiff can, to any extent, also be held responsible for the car accident, then under the law of ‘contributory negligence’, the court will dismiss the entire case. The state of Virginia is one of very few states that still enforce this law. An attorney should discuss this law and the likelihood of the defendant attempting to establish contributory negligence with their client before going to court.