Car accidents are traumatizing, no matter how great or small they are. But when they result in catastrophic injuries, a complicated recovery can make an already fragile situation more difficult.
Dealing With The Aftermath of a Car Accident
In the wake of a car accident, many needs demand your attention. If you or your loved one was injured, you’ll need to seek medical assistance immediately. But after your condition has stabilized and the initial shock has subsided, what happens to your future? You may be faced with growing medical expenses, missing time from work and even the potential for lifetime treatment of your injury. How will life look from now on?
If these thoughts sound familiar, you are not alone and you’ve come to the right place.
Speak To An Experienced Accident Attorney
Your injury could be the result of another person’s negligence. If it is, your family could be entitled to compensation for your losses. When you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, the attorneys at Brain Injury Law Center are here to help.
First Steps To Take Directly After a Collision
Record All Information
After you’ve received medical attention for your injuries, you’ll want to gather as much information as best as you can about what happened directly following the accident. The sooner you can collect this information, the better it will be for your case.
Get a police report
If you have not already, file a police report. This will be a vital component to support your case.
If it’s possible and will not affect your injuries or safety, collect the contact info for all parties involved. Take down their names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance company, driver’s license number and license plate number, and give them your information as well.
Document the scene
You’ll also want to document the scene of the accident with photos, notes and the names and numbers of any bystanders or witnesses. You may return to the scene of the accident if you’re not able to do this directly afterwards. Look for tire marks, damaged landscaping and even debris left behind at the site of the collision.
Record vehicle info
Take note of the make, model, year and color of all vehicles involved.
Contact an attorney
Your attorney will help you notify your insurance company and ensure they approve your claim. It’s important that your attorney help you do this since insurance companies can try to deny your claim. An experienced attorney knows what your damages are worth. Read on to learn more about how an attorney can help you.
Never Admit Fault
In a car accident, it’s hard to determine the actual cause without a proper investigation. Your attorney will analyze all information and enlist the help of experts to evaluate the event from all avenues. For this reason, be polite but do not admit fault of any kind – this could seriously hurt your chances of receiving compensation later down the line.
Car accidents are sudden and can catch you completely off-guard, so it’s easy to say something out of shock or because of nerves. However, be aware of what information you give to the other party, including what you say, and let your attorney do the rest.
Step Two: Determine Injuries and Damage
Your pain and suffering are directly related to the amount of compensation you could receive. For this reason, it’s critical to have an understanding of them.
You’ll want to obtain any and all medical forms and receipts, as these will be used to support your claim.
Physical injuries are some of the most obvious examples of your pain and suffering following an accident. The list below outlines some of the most common and costly injuries from car accidents – it’s best to take a moment and discuss them with an experienced car accident attorney:
Traumatic brain injuries can occur when the head is struck by an object or jerked suddenly during a car accident. When a mild brain injury occurs, the victim can lose consciousness for a short period of time, while a severe injury could result in memory loss and prolonged unconsciousness. Symptoms for concussions include dizziness, forgetfulness, nausea and disorientation.
Head injuries are typically identified as either open or closed. An open head injury occurs when the skull is fractured or penetrated by an object. Alternatively, a closed head injury occurs when the head is struck by an object yet the skull is not broken.
The spinal cord is a delicate structure that is not built to withstand the impact that occurs during a car accident. Spinal injuries and whiplash occur when the ligaments and muscles in the back are strained. Whiplash is most commonly seen in rear-end collisions, when the force of impact aggressively pushes the head backward and forward. Symptoms of whiplash include stiffness, headaches, dizziness, fatigue and blurred vision.
Spinal cord injuries
Spinal injuries occur when vertebrae are pushed out of place and often result from compression fractures in the middle and lower spine. During an accident, the shoulders can be thrown forward while the lap belt keeps the lower body in place, dislocating the vertebrae. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, weakness and loss of bladder and bowel control. If a spinal cord injury is suspected following a wreck, the victim must remain still until medical help arrives to avoid further damage.
Chest pain following a car accident can be a sign of serious injury. Common chest injuries can include fractured or bruised ribs, muscle strain or tears and injury to internal organs. If you experience sharp, shooting chest pain following an accident, you may have fractured ribs. This often results from the restriction of a seatbelt or if the chest hits the steering wheel in an accident. Symptoms can include a dull aching pain that is affected by movement. A particularly devastating injury occurs when the ribs puncture an organ, resulting in internal bleeding. Damage to the heart and other organs can be potentially life-threatening.
While seatbelts can protect against injuries such as head and neck injuries, they can also cause abdominal trauma during a collision. Abdominal bruising along the site of the safety belt is often an indicator of internal organ damage. Symptoms associated with abdominal trauma can include nausea, vomiting, blood in urine, fever, abdominal pain, tenderness, distention and bowel sounds.
Knee injuries can be particularly painful, as the joint is complex and takes a lot of time to heal. Some leg injuries can yield severe complications that can leave devastating permanent damage. Leg injuries sustained during a car accident may include ruptured tendons, fractures, broken bones, knee dislocation, ligament damage, hypertension, bruised bones, immobility and more.
Nothing is more devastating than when you lose a loved one without warning. If you have lost a family member during a car crash due to the fault of another driver, you may have a wrongful death case. The attorneys at the Brain Injury Law Center offer our deepest sympathies. We want to help. Call us today to learn more.
Step Three: Speak to a Car Accident Attorney
Accidents are unexpected and often turn your life upside down, but you don’t have to try and deal with it on your own. Speaking with an accident attorney and getting help is in your best interest.
Brain Injury Law Center, Virginia’s Accident Attorneys
Car accidents are stressful and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. A qualified accident attorney will help you make the right decision through every step of the process. From guiding you through the legal process to speaking with insurance adjusters and getting you the compensation you deserve, your attorney can help make a complex situation much easier for you and your family.
Attempting to navigate the legal system on your own after a car wreck can add unnecessary stress during a painful time. This is where the auto accident attorneys Brain Injury Law Center come in. We will help relieve the burden while you focus on your healing.
We can help if you’ve been injured in a car accident in Virginia, our experienced attorneys can navigate the legal system while you recover.
Car Accident Lawsuits in Virginia
Without a proper understanding of the state’s laws, initiating a lawsuit in Virginia can be a daunting task. The attorneys at Brain Injury Law Center have secured multi-million dollar verdicts in auto accident lawsuits and have dedicated their focus to helping survivors of catastrophic injuries for decades.
Auto Insurance Laws in Virginia
Virginia law provides several options for those filing an insurance claim after a car accident.
- Drivers may file a claim with their own insurance
- Drivers can file a claim against the other driver’s insurance if injured
- The driver can take the matter to court
The State of Virginia also allows drivers to waive car insurance by paying a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee. However, this fee does not equal insurance coverage in anyway. At-fault drivers who do not maintain liability insurance can be held responsible for damages that will come out of their own pocket.
It’s important that you know the restrictions of the state auto insurance laws and your right to compensation. You have the right to seek compensation even if the person responsible doesn’t have sufficient insurance to cover medical costs and other accident-related damages.
Virginia’s Statute of Limitations
Your window of time to seek compensation for damages after a car accident begins the day of the accident. Your insurance company may have its own deadlines but the Virginia statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is two years. The deadline for filing a property damage claim is five years.
This is why it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible following your accident to ensure you don’t miss your chance to seek compensation for any damages you’ve suffered.
Virginia’s Shared Fault Rule
Virginia operates on a rigid fault law when it comes to automobile accidents: contributory negligence. This means that if it’s determined that you were even partially at fault for the accident, you are unable to claim damages from the other driver.
Speak To An Experienced Accident Attorney Today
The attorneys at Brain Injury Law Center are more than just knowledgeable and experienced; we are advocates for people whose families and lives have been victimized by the carelessness of others. We understand the emotional and financial strain that a serious injury imposes on families, and we have repeatedly secured large settlements to help relieve the financial burden our clients face after a car accident.
To find out more about your best options following a car accident, call Brain Injury Law Center today at 757-344-7000 for a free, no-obligation consultation and take your first step on the road to recovery. We have handled cases all over V.A., including Hampton, Norfolk and Newport News.