Personal Injury in Virginia

When you have been injured by someone else's carelessness, it is important to take some initial steps toward making sure your injury claim can be settled fairly and as quickly as possible:

Write down everything you can remember about how the injury occurred, including the names, addresses and phone numbers of potential witnesses, police officers, insurance company representatives (or company or workers' compensation representatives if it was a work injury)

Talk to a Virginia personal injury lawyer before making any statements, written or verbal, to insurance company adjusters or representatives

Let anyone you think may be responsible for the injury know right away that you are intending to file a claim against them

Take steps to protect any evidence you may need to prove your injury, such as your totaled car, photographs of an accident or injury scene, clothing you were wearing, damaged personal belongings, and so forth

How Do I Figure Out Who Is At Fault?

In most cases, in order to collect on an injury claim in Virginia, you must prove the person who caused the injury was "negligent" – which is a failure to exercise ordinary care. In Virginia, you must prove:

  • The existence of a duty owed to you by the person who caused your injury
  • The other person failed to carry out the duty that they owed you
  • You suffered damages
  • The other person's failure caused you to have the injury

If you were careless, and your carelessness was a substantial factor that contributed to your injury, you may not be able to recover in Virginia under the principle of contributory negligence. Contributory negligence is when you have not exercised an amount of ordinary care for your own safety and, when combined with the carelessness of the other person, your were injured.

In Virginia, if more one person is negligent toward you, each person who has been found negligent is responsible for the total damages under the principle of joint and several liability.

If you have been injured using a consumer product, the manufacturer of the product may be responsible under a "products liability" legal theory. Under Virginia law, you would need to prove that:

  • The product was defective or there was a failure to warn, which made it unreasonably dangerous
  • The defect of lack of warnings caused your injury
  • You suffered damages
  • The defect was not "open and obvious"

What Is My Claim Worth?

Under Virginia law, the person who injured you is responsible for:

  • Past, current and future estimated medical expenses
  • Time lost from work, including time spent going to medical appointments or therapy
  • Any property that was damaged, such as your vehicle
  • The cost of hiring someone to do household chores when you could not do them
  • Any permanent disfigurement or disability
  • Your emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, and any interference with your family relationships
  • A change in your future earning ability due to the injury
  • Any other costs that were a direct result of your injury

A lawyer will know what type of expert witness to hire to best prove your damages.

How Long Do I Have To File A Legal Claim?

In Virginia, you only have two years to file a lawsuit against the person who injured you. If your lawyer has not been able to come to an agreement with any involved insurance companies, you will definitely want to file a lawsuit before the two-year statute of limitations runs out.

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