Accidents happen. Everywhere. You or a loved one may have been involved in a car accident; perhaps you tripped over a hazard on someone’s property, or a product failed and hurt you.
You can brush off the dirt from many accidents and get back on your feet, maybe a bit embarrassed but no worse for the wear. Then there are the more severe accidents that result in significant personal injury and have a lasting, if not permanent, effect on the injured party’s life.
Understanding Personal Injury Law in Charlottesville, Virginia
Not every personal injury claim contemplates damages sufficient to warrant involvement of an accident lawyer in Charlottesville. But when you have been seriously injured, due to no fault of your own, representation by an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer is critical.
One of the first things you should be aware of is that personal injury laws vary from state to state. It’s essential to ensure you understand the basics of Virginia personal injury law.
- Virginia has a pure contributory negligence rule for personal injury cases, meaning the injured party is barred from recovery if they were the slightest bit at fault in causing the accident. Insurance companies will often claim that your actions were at least partially to blame for causing the accident or your injuries. Proving negligence of the other party is a vital part of your work with a personal injury law firm. This process entails gathering evidence from witnesses, first responder reports, and medical reports to support your personal injury claim.
- To have a claim, the accident or injury must have resulted in damages. Damages include, among other things, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience.
- You must file your personal injury claim within the applicable statute of limitations. Virginia’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years. Still, there are exceptions to this rule with which an experienced accident lawyer in Charlottesville will be knowledgeable. While two years may sound like a long time, getting your claim started as early as possible is extremely important.
- Some damages are easier to quantify than others, such as medical bills and damaged property, but others are more challenging. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to help you quantify future damages, such as loss of earning capacity, and less tangible losses, such as emotional pain and suffering. Having an accurate picture of your total losses is essential in the valuation and negotiation of an appropriate settlement.
- If you were injured on someone’s property, you must have had a legal right to be on the premises to pursue a claim. Personal guests of a property owner and customers of a business are considered invitees or licensees and have a legal right to be on the premises. Trespassers do not. The landowner has a legal duty to act reasonably in maintaining the premises and warning of known unsafe conditions or those that should have been known through the exercise of ordinary care.
- If you are injured on the job and your injury falls within the scope of the Virginia Workers Compensation Act, workers’ compensation is your “exclusive remedy” for a settlement from your employer. However, if another person or company is at fault and unrelated to your employer, you may have the right to recover compensation from a personal injury claim.
Contact an Accident Lawyer in Charlottesville Today
Virginia’s Laws around personal injury are complex. If you have been injured, you may benefit from the services of an accident lawyer in Charlottesville who can help you win your case. Burnett & Williams is one of Virginia’s oldest and most recognized personal injury law firms. We are experts in personal injury law and have a proven track record. Contact us today for a free consultation.