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When Should You Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
A car, motorcycle, or bike accident is a traumatic event, often resulting in broken bones, mental anguish, lost wages, and a whole host of other damages. Similarly, a doctor’s medical malpractice may cause damages that significantly affect your life in the present and future.
If you suffer significant personal injuries anywhere in the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is no question that you should hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. Whether the injuries are minor or severe, a Richmond personal injury lawyer will know the true value of your claim and may see potential damages in areas you might not have considered.
Examples of cases that may require a personal injury lawyer include:
- Personal injury claims where another party is at fault
- Claims not covered by workers' compensation
- Wrongful death
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bite cases
- Faulty manufacturing or product liability cases
- Injuries resulting in permanent or temporary disabilities
- Injuries not covered by car insurance alone
- When liability is unclear but you feel you are not at fault
Lack of Fair Compensation by Insurance Companies
By design, insurance companies are trained to offer the least amount of compensation possible. Negotiation with an insurance company is a specialized skill that only the most experienced personal injury claim lawyers have.
Insurance companies may pressure you to accept an extremely low settlement offer. A Richmond personal injury lawyer will know the damages you are entitled to and ensure that you receive a fair settlement allowing for the maximum compensation to cover damages for medical care, emotional distress, and loss of future wages.
It costs you nothing to consult with a personal injury lawyer in Richmond and studies show that having a lawyer on your side results in higher settlement amounts. Being hired on a contingency fee basis guarantees that your Richmond personal injury attorney will work hard to obtain the highest possible figure.
Customary contingency fees in personal injury cases are 33% of the settlement or final judgment. Even with these fees, you can likely receive more than three times the amount you would have received without the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Medical Malpractice Resulting in High Medical Costs
Medical malpractice results in high medical costs because hospitals must be insured against the negligent provision of medical care, and physicians must be insured to protect against medical malpractice lawsuits.
While prescribing the wrong medication to a patient may be general malpractice, actions that blatantly disregard standards of care may rise to the level of gross negligence. For example, leaving an instrument inside a patient’s body after an operation would be gross negligence and likely cost the hospital and doctor a great deal of money.
Personal injury cases can involve spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, neck injuries, harm to a baby during childbirth, or the wrongful death of a patient while under medical care.
The stakes are high in these situations. Medical problems can cause tremendous present and future damages. Legal representation is critical, as a medical insurer will be just as obstinate as any other insurer in seeking a low settlement. Hiring an attorney to protect your interests against an at-fault party is highly advisable.
Workplace Accidents Not Covered by Workers Compensation
If injured on the job, you cannot sue your employer for negligence in a personal injury lawsuit and would therefore not be allowed to sue for pain and suffering. You must file a workers’ compensation claim. However, there are exceptions.
For example, workers’ compensation does not cover independent contractors.If the workplace accident does not “arise out of” and “in the course of” employment you are also free to hire a personal injury lawyer. For example, if a car accident occurs while you are performing your work duties as a salesperson it would be a workers’ compensation claim. However, if the same accident occurred on your commute home, it is a personal injury accident and could warrant a lawsuit.
Motorcycle Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, or Other Types of Accidents
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the party deemed to be at fault for an accident is legally liable for the resulting damages. In most cases, the at-fault party will be a driver.
In addition, in order to recover damages, you must be found not to be at fault in any way — not even by 1%. This is called a pure contributory negligence law and it bars recovery even when the other driver is deemed to be 99% at fault. Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Alabama, and the District of Columbia are the only states that follow this legal rule of recovery.
With this in mind, victims of traffic accidents must exercise the duty of care of a reasonable person just as drivers must exercise a duty of care to follow state and local traffic laws.
For example, a bike rider who fails to have a legally required headlight on their bike will not recover damages from a trucker or other driver who hits them because they will be deemed partially responsible for the accident. Similarly, a motorcyclist who is hit on a highway may be partially responsible for the accident due to excessive speeding.
Burn Injuries Caused by Negligent Parties
In order for burn injuries to be compensated, negligent parties must owe a duty of care to the injured victim and a failure of that duty must be determined to be the direct cause of the injury.
A case against a negligent party who fails to take proper care in doing something is not always actionable, even if injuries result. For example, you may receive burn injuries after ignoring clearly labeled instructions or a child may sustain burn injuries while playing with a lighter.
As long as your personal injury lawyer is able to prove that a duty of care was owed and that a breach of that duty is the sole cause of your burns, your case is actionable for damages.
Emotional Distress as an Accident Victim
Emotional distress resulting from an accident is a form of pain and suffering that is difficult to quantify because it can’t simply be tallied up in receipts and bills.
An accident victim’s depression or post-traumatic stress might linger long after broken bones and a severe concussion have healed. In such cases, the victim would still be able to claim any damages related to emotional distress because the ongoing problems are directly related to the accident.
For example, after a tragic car wreck, a victim may become angry, have difficulty sleeping, be unable to return to work, and may withdraw from their family. Only an experienced personal injury lawyer would know that such forms of ongoing emotional distress can be compensated as damages for a loss of consortium, loss of earning potential, loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment, or lost future wages.
Find an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Richmond
Determining how to find a personal injury lawyer can be as simple as searching for a “personal injury lawyer near me” or taking the recommendations of others in finding the best personal injury lawyer for your case.
If you have suffered a personal injury, don’t go it alone. Contact a personal injury law firm like the Commonwealth Law Group to provide advice, protect your interests, and collect the damages you are entitled to under the law.
If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at (804) 999-9999 or or use the form below to connect with our legal team. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.