Is Virginia a No-Fault Insurance State?
If you are involved in a car accident in Virginia, it is important to understand how Virginia’s insurance laws work. Virginia is one of several “at fault” insurance dates. In Virginia, a party injured in a car accident does not need to seek compensation from their insurance policy. Instead, the injured party will seek compensation from the at-fault driver directly or that driver’s insurance policy. Understanding Virginia’s fault-based insurance last is key to recovering the largest possible damages award. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Straw Law Firm will help you pursue the compensation you deserve after being seriously injured in a car accident.
The Difference Between No-Fault and Fault-Based States
Every state takes a slightly different approach to auto insurance laws. However, most states fall into two general categories — at-fault states and no-fault states. In a no-fault state, drivers are legally required to carry some type of minimum “Personal Injury Protection” (PIP) insurance. When a driver is hurt in a car accident, he or she files a claim with his or her own insurance company, regardless of who was at fault. Virginia drivers are required to carry minimum auto insurance coverage for bodily injury and property damage.
PIP Coverage typically covers around 80% of medical costs and 60% of lost wages due to the car accident injury. In some states that use a no-fault approach, the victim can sue the at-fault driver in court for additional damages when the victim has suffered serious injuries, such as those that cause a permanent disability.
On the contrary, in fault-based Insurance states like Virginia, when a driver is involved in a crash, the driver’s first option is to sue the at-fault driver who caused the crash. The driver has the option of filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, bringing a lawsuit against the driver directly, or even suing the driver’s employer for negligent hiring.
Understanding Virginia’s Fault-Based Insurance Law
Virginia is a fault state. However, Virginia driver’s do have the option to purchase Med Pay coverage. This type of coverage can be helpful immediately after a car accident because you can turn to your own insurance company for quick payouts for medical bills and lost time at work. Unfortunately, Med Pay insurance rarely covers all of your losses. You will likely need to seek compensation from other sources, especially if you have been seriously injured.
Why You Need a Lynchburg Car Accident Lawyer
The insurance process is typically adversarial and challenging right from the start. After you are injured, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will probably try to contact you and ask you to provide a recorded statement. It is important to discuss your case with a lawyer before signing any document from the insurance company or providing them with a recorded statement. You could unintentionally admit fault and harm your compensation claim. Your lawyer can help you prepare a statement that is accurate and factual and protects your legal rights.
Your lawyer will also help you calculate the full value of your case and negotiate a fair settlement agreement. Car insurance companies are notorious for making settlement offers that are far too low, hoping that the victims will be desperate enough to accept them. Negotiating with insurance companies is crucial to obtain the total value of your claim.
Uninsured or Underinsured Drivers
If the at-fault driver does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your injuries, you may need to file a claim with your own insurance company for uninsured motorist coverage. Most comprehensive insurance policies allow drivers to file a claim when they cannot recover damages from the other driver’s insurance company.
After the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage has been maxed out, you can turn to your own insurance company. Sometimes people assume that their own insurance company will treat them better and provide a fair settlement, but that is not always the case. You will need a lawyer to ensure that your own insurance company gives you the total amount of compensation you deserve.
Proving Fault in a Lynchburg Car Accident
Proving fault is a crucial aspect of recovering compensation in Virginia. Injured victims will not be able to recover compensation unless they can prove that the defendant’s negligence or recklessness causes a car accident that resulted in their injuries. Hiring an experienced lawyer is essential when it comes to the investigation process. Police officers who arrived at the scene will prepare a report about the evidence found at the scene, such as:
- Witness statements
- Vehicle damage
- Skid marks or brake marks
- Signs of the driver’s intoxication
Gathering the police report is important, but your lawyer will need to conduct an independent investigation, as well. There may be other evidence out there proving that the at-fault driver caused the car accident. For example, there could be CCTV footage or additional video footage showing what happened leading to the accident. There could even be an electronic data recorder from one or more vehicles involved in the accident.
Suppose the cause of the accident is not clear-cut. In that case, your lawyer can work with an accident reconstruction specialist to recreate the accident and determine which driver or driver’s caused the accident. When one or more people are at fault for the accident, you may be able to bring a claim against both at-fault parties. You also need to prove the amount of your damages, such as medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Consult With a Lynchburg Car Accident Lawyer Today
Has your loved one been injured in a Lynchburg car accident? If so, you will need to prove that the other driver’s negligence caused your accident to recover compensation. Contact Straw Law Firm today to schedule your free national consultation to learn more about how we can advocate for your right to compensation.
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