Struggling After An Accident? Contact a Chesterfield Car Accident Attorney
If you have recently been involved in a Chesterfield car accident, you may be left injured, unable to work, and wondering how to pay your bills and where to turn. Should you find yourself in such a situation, the single most productive thing you can do is to contact an experienced Chesterfield, VA car accident attorney to help you through this difficult time.
Of the more than six million car accidents which occur each year, approximately three million occupants of the vehicles involved are moderately to severely injured, while the remainder involves only property damage. About 37,000 fatalities result from these accidents. Four factors contribute to the vast majority of collisions. These factors are equipment failure, roadway design, lack of roadway maintenance, and driver behaviors.
While most drivers don’t want to take the blame for an accident, in truth, the driver’s actions—or lack of action—are usually the primary cause. Excessive speed, distracted driving, fatigued driving, impaired driving, and aggressive driving behavior are the top driver behaviors that lead to auto accidents. In fact, exceeding the speed limit by only 5 mph in the wrong place can be almost as dangerous as driving 100 mph.
What all these numbers show is that a huge number of auto accidents could be prevented each year if drivers would modify their driving behaviors. A knowledgeable Chesterfield, VA car accident attorney from Tronfeld, West & Durrett has the experience and empathy necessary to help you get the monetary settlement you are entitled to and the medical treatments you need to recover.
What are the Primary Myths Associated with Car Accidents?
Being in a car accident is not something anyone ever forgets. When it happens to you, it can be one of the most stressful incidents you will ever experience. A part of the stress involved in a car accident lies in the fact that most of us are operating on what we have heard, from friends, relatives, or co-workers regarding what happens after an auto accident. These things may or may not have a basis in truth. Some of the more common myths associated with car collisions include the following:
Every state has the same auto injury laws.
This has to be the biggest myth of all. If you have lived in more than one state, you are probably aware that the insurance rates can vary widely, even if your information stays exactly the same. As an example: if you move from a state where a high percentage of drivers carry mandatory auto insurance to a state that has a much lower percentage of drivers who follow the law, you could find yourself paying much higher rates to make up for the number of uninsured drivers. In short, the rules and regulations regarding auto insurance can be like night and day from state to state. Some states operate under no-fault laws, while others do not. At-fault states determine the percentage of fault for each driver when determining who pays for injuries and damage. Then, states like Virginia, while a “fault” state, has a policy of contributory negligence. This means that if you were even the slightest bit at fault for the accident, you may be unable to collect compensation for your damages.
If you are in pain following your automobile accident, you will automatically be entitled to receive pain and suffering damages in your settlement.
Pain and suffering are considered non-economic damages (as opposed to economic damages such as lost wages and medical expenses). In some states, in order to be eligible for non-economic damages, you must have sustained serious impairment of a body function, permanent, serious disfigurement, or death. If you are claiming pain and suffering, it could be due to physical pain as well as emotional and mental injuries including grief, worry, anxiety, fear, insomnia, or the loss of enjoyment of life. In some instances, pain and suffering is calculated by multiplying your medical bills and lost wages by a number between one and five—depending on the severity of your injuries. Your personal injury attorney can explain how your pain and suffering may be calculated.
Automobile insurance—whether mine or theirs—will cover my injuries completely.
While most of your medical expenses will hopefully be covered—if you hire an experienced attorney—it is important that you don’t just sit back and expect the insurance company will do the right thing on its own.
All I have to do is hold out until my insurance company agrees to the settlement amount I believe is fair.
There are so many factors involved in the offer the insurance company is willing to make that it would be impossible to detail them all. Simply deciding to “wait out” the insurance company will not automatically ensure your settlement offer will go up—in fact, the insurance company may decide to play hardball with you and offer you even less. The best course of action is for you to take the time you need to heal from your injuries, while your Chesterfield, VA car accident attorney works on your behalf to obtain a fair settlement.
How Are Medical Bills Paid Following a Chesterfield Car Accident?
If you were in a Virginia car accident that resulted in injuries, you may have medical bills arriving in the mail. Perhaps you are still working on your case, so you are unsure how the medical bills will be paid prior to the case settling. Whatever you do, do not let your medical bills go unpaid, as this can damage your credit for many years to come. Since car accident cases can take months or even years, you might consider making arrangements for a payment plan with your medical providers. This will keep your medical bills from going to collections while you are waiting for your car accident settlement.
You can use your MedPay coverage if you have it. This will send your medical bills to your insurance company to be taken care of. You could also submit your medical bills to your health insurer who may cover the medical bills, however, they may expect repayment once your car accident case is settled. This practice is known as subrogation and is yet another good reason to have an experienced car accident attorney in your corner. If your injuries are severe, you want to be sure your settlement will fully cover repayment to your health insurer. Your car accident attorney can tell you whether subrogation is a part of your health insurance plan.
What Type of Compensation Can I Receive Following My Car Accident?
Your car accident may have significantly changed your life and that of your loved ones. The challenges associated with recovery your health and your finances are rarely easy. What is easy is accepting a quick settlement from an insurance company that fails to fully cover your expenses just because you are panicked and wondering how you will survive financially. This is where a strong car accident attorney comes in. Your attorney will find out exactly what your car accident claim is worth, then will fight hard on your behalf to secure that amount. While every car accident is different, you may be entitled to the following damages:
Things like property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and lost future earnings are all considered special damages. These types of damages are easily quantifiable. You can show, through receipts, just how much your medical expenses have cost you so far, and your attorney can determine, based on your doctor’s prognosis, how much they are likely to cost in the future.
You can show how much you would have earned at your job if you had not been injured, and your attorney can determine future lost earnings based on your age, current job, education, etc. Property damage is the damage to your vehicle, which can easily be shown through estimates or repair bills from body shops.
General damages are less easy to quantify and are known as non-economic damages. Pain and suffering is a non-economic damage because it is more subjective. Only you know how much pain you are in, and how that pain affects every aspect of your life. Loss of consortium is a legal term for the companionship of a husband or wife. If your accident left you in chronic pain, you may also have lost the companionship and intimacy you once had with your spouse.
Loss of enjoyment of life is another non-economic damage because only you can know just how many things you once enjoyed that you are no longer able to do because of your injuries. When an insurance company balks at paying non-economic damages your attorney may bring in medical experts and other expert witnesses to establish the extent your injuries have altered your life.
How a Chesterfield Car Accident Attorney from Tronfeld, West & Durrett Can Help
If you have suffered a car accident in Chesterfield or Midlothian, attorneys Jay Tronfeld and John Newby can help you during this difficult time. We are cognizant of the time limits associated with your car accident and subsequent claim, offering our skilled legal services on a contingency basis because we believe in justice. Serious legal issues like a car accident require serious legal professionals to fight for you and for your future. Contact Tronfeld, West & Durrett today!