Norfolk, VA Car Accident Lawyer
Drivers in Norfolk cause car accidents every day on highways and major roads like I-64, I-264, I-564, Military Highway, Little Creek, Crosby Street, and Tidewater Drive. When these crashes happen at high speeds, severe injuries can and do occur.
Even when the at-fault driver is clearly legally responsible for both the damage to your car and your bodily injuries, like in a rear-ender, the insurance companies certainly do not make it easy to hold them accountable. Getting your injury and property damage claims quickly and properly handled by insurance adjusters is just one way a Norfolk car accident lawyer from Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers could provide valuable assistance in your case.
Given how often insurance companies try to dodge paying fair compensation for accidents, it is critical to seek legal guidance before you even start the process of filing a claim. For example, you are not required to give the other driver’s insurance company a recorded statement. An experienced personal injury attorney from our firm could evaluate your claim and help you determine what to do and what not to do following a crash.
What Do I Do After a Car Accident?
The days after a car accident can be a confusing and frightening time. Additionally, these moments can be some of the most critical to a person’s ability to prove and document their injury case in order to receive fair payment. As soon as a crash occurs, contact local law enforcement. A police officer will investigate the accident and interview any witnesses.
An officer will also prepare and provide you a copy of the exchange sheet containing the other driver’s personal and insurance information. After, the officer often prepares an accident report, which will contain the findings of his investigation, which can be used to help your personal injury case. Many police officers and state troopers now wear cameras, which can capture statements made by the responsible driver at the scene. This early evidence captured by the police can sometimes be the difference in winning or losing your case.
The next step should be to take pictures or video at the scene of the collision. This can be valuable evidence as it can demonstrate the position of the vehicles or road conditions at the time of the crash. Photographs taken within moments of the accident are most useful and can document skid marks before they fade, or the location of debris left behind by the vehicles before removed from the roadway.
It is also important to seek prompt medical attention. If the injuries are serious enough an ambulance can be dispatched to the accident scene. The medics will examine you and make a determination if you should be transported to a local emergency room.
It is common for people to not think about the evidence of the case following the shock and fright of having just been in an accident. Most are understandably concerned about the well-being of those involved, and not an investigation. There will also certainly be accidents in which a person is too badly injured to do these early investigation steps themselves, and unable to initially discuss the accident with the police. While these early steps to preserve evidence are preferred, your health and well-being is most important.
An injured person can certainly still pursue a case even if these early steps are not taken, but in those instances it is even more important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to get their investigators working on the case, preserving important evidence, and interviewing officers and witnesses.
Finally, anyone involved in a car crash should avoid talking with insurance companies before speaking with an attorney. The at-fault driver’s car insurance company is only looking out for their profits, and they may try to get people to sign written statements or provide recordings that work against their claims. An insurance company is looking for a way to close your claim. This is typically done by denying your claim (a/k/a refusing payment) or hoping you’ll go away cheap with a lowball settlement offer. The attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers exclusively help those injured through the negligent acts of others and offer free no commitment consultations.
Proving Liability in Car Accident Cases
Under the laws of negligence, the person or entity who caused an accident may be held liable for the consequences even if the entire incident was unintentional. Recovery is based on the concept that if the allegedly liable person had acted with ordinary care, the accident would not have happened.
For example, if a driver loses control of a car because he or she looked away from the road and hit your vehicle, the collision may be accidental. However, the fact that the at-fault driver did not mean to cause the wreck does not allow them to escape responsibility—in other words, their negligence—which directly caused the accident.
When a driver fails to exercise the ordinary care that a reasonable person would use when driving in similar circumstances, that driver may be considered negligent. If you are hurt by a negligent driver in Norfolk, a car accident attorney from Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers could help you recover money for your injuries.
Click here to watch our video on “What To Do After a Car Accident”
Determining Who Bears Responsibility for a Norfolk Wreck
Sometimes the at-fault driver is not the only one responsible for an accident. For example, if the driver was working for someone or for a company, then the company may be liable too. For example, an Uber or Lyft driver carrying a passenger for hire may be responsible for a wreck, and Uber, the employer, may be too.
An experienced car wreck lawyer in Norfolk, Virginia can help you determine all parties that may bear responsibility for your injuries. This can help you get the full payment you are entitled to and the justice you deserve. Reach out to a dedicated lawyer today.
How Do Multiple Defendants Affect the Litigation Process?
Having multiple defendants in a case makes the trial last longer because there are more attorneys asking questions and more people testifying. For instance, if two defendants are pointing fingers at each other, they would both be put on the stand.
Sometines, the plaintiff’s attorney has an idea of who is more at fault. However, an attorney also may ask for joint and several liability against both defendants, which means that both defendants are responsible for 100 percent of the judgment. This protects an injured person if one defendant does not have insurance or any money to pay the judgment.
What Information is Included in a Car Wreck Claim?
When someone is filing a claim in court, that means he or she drafted a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and is filing it in either the general district or circuit court.
In car accident lawsuits, the claimant needs to put the defendant on notice about the accident and why he or she is filing the lawsuit. The lawsuit must include the date and location of the accident, the defendant’s name, and the allegations of negligence describing why this party is at fault.
This lawsuit also says that the claimant suffered injuries as well as other losses. Therefore, the claimant must include the amount of money he or she is seeking from the defendant. In district court, this document is called a Warrant in Debt. In circuit court, it is called a Complaint.
When Should Settlement Negotiations Start?
There is a lot of work that goes into getting a case ready before negotiations for a settlement can begin. First, the injured person must reach a point in his or her treatment where the doctor can tell the attorney what care is going to be necessary in the future. The attorney then needs to collect the medical bills and records, and organize and summarize them, so the insurance company knows the nature of the injuries from the wreck.
Then, after all of this information is sent to the insurance company, the adjuster and the attorney negotiate a possible settlement. If the settlement offers are too low or if the insurance company denies the claim, a lawyer will talk about the need to file a lawsuit with the injured person.
Consult with a Norfolk Car Accident Attorney
After suffering injuries in a car accident, you likely have many harms and losses to deal with, from medical bills and lost time from work to pain and suffering. The damages in an injury claim arising from a wreck could also include your inconvenience, mental anguish, as well as physical pain, and general disruption to your life
A Norfolk car accident lawyer can evaluate your situation, discuss your options going forward, and help you protect your rights and pursue the recovery to which you are entitled. We are familiar with local courts and roads, and we are experienced with cases just like yours. Call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.
The attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers are excited to be a sponsor of Magnolia Circle and Union of Hands Circle of The King’s Daughters March Madness event. Join us at Azalea Inn & Time Out Sports Bar on Thursday, March 28th from 7:00 to 10:00 PM to benefit the Behavioral Health Program for Children’s Hospital King’s Daughters. Visit our March Madness Page for more information.