Auto accident formula concept.

A Guide to Virginia Auto Accident Settlement Formulas

If you have been injured in a Lynchburg car accident, there is a strong possibility that you are entitled to an auto accident settlement. A settlement is intended to compensate you for all your damages, including your medical expenses, property damages, and pain and suffering. You may be wondering how much your settlement should be worth. It is essential to familiarize and educate yourself with all aspects of the settlement process, including settlement formulas auto insurance companies frequently use to calculate damages. 

What is a Medical Settlement Calculator?

A medical settlement is intended to compensate you for your expenses, including pain and suffering. Medical settlement calculators can help you calculate the monetary value of your injuries from a motor vehicle accident. Essentially, medical settlement calculators help you determine the amount of your legal settlement. To use a medical settlement calculator, you will need to know the amounts for all the different line items, which are different types of damages you have experienced. 

The Types of Damages Included in Auto Accident Settlement Formula

There are two main types of damages in car accident settlements — economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are easily quantifiable damages, such as medical expenses, lost income, and loss of earning capacity. Non-economic damages are just as important, but they include compensation for costs more difficult to quantify. In auto accident settlement formulas, non-economic damages are often calculated based on the final amount of economic damages.

Medical Expenses

When car accident victims suffer a serious injury, their medical expenses are usually the highest type of damage. The attorneys at Straw Law Firm regularly work with financial experts to ensure that we account for our client’s current and future medical expenses. Keeping an organized and correct record of medical expenses is the best way to ensure that your account is for every dollar. Keep careful records of all of the following medical expenses:

  • Doctor visits, including visits with specialists
  • Surgeries
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Rehabilitative treatment
  • Prescription medication
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Adaptive medical equipment

Tips for Recovering the Full Compensation You Deserve for Your Medical Expenses

Remember, after you accept a settlement agreement, you will not be able to pursue compensation for additional medical expenses in the future that were not accounted for in the settlement. It is important to talk to your doctor about all of your symptoms, even if you think they are mild. Your medical provider will be able to make notes in your medical record regarding your symptoms, making it more likely to be accepted by an insurance adjuster as part of your settlement calculation.

Property Damage

Most serious car accidents involve damage to your vehicle. An attorney can hold the insurance company accountable for thoroughly assessing the damage to your vehicle. In some cases, insurance companies attempt to undervalue damage to your vehicle or refuse to declare the vehicle as totaled when they should. The attorneys at Straw Law Firm will fight to ensure that all of your property damage is accounted for when the insurance company calculates the settlement amount.

Lost Income 

After being injured in a car accident, it is important that you write down every day that you need to take off from work due to your injuries. Keep track of any vacation or paid time off that you use to recover. If you lose out on other employment benefits, such as promotions, you should include that in the total. Victims who become permanently disabled due to their injuries can recover compensation for their future loss of earnings. 

Future Expenses

Future expenses can be more difficult to calculate. In cases of serious injuries, our attorneys work with medical and financial experts to determine the cost of future medical expenses, such as additional surgeries, rehabilitation, or in-home medical care. Again, insurance companies frequently undervalue the full cost of future medical expenses. 

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify. You can recover compensation for your pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium. Car accidents can be traumatic, causing anxiety, depression, and serious pain. Undergoing multiple surgeries can cause immense pain. Many car accident victims lose their ability to engage in the activities they once loved. Serious injuries can also negatively impact relationships with other family members. 

The Auto Accident Multiplier

Insurance adjusters frequently use the auto accident multiplier to determine a value for the economic and non-economic damages. The adjuster will assign a multiplier to the claimant’s economic damage between one and five. The multiplier is based on the case’s facts and the injuries’ severity. For example, a broken arm in a minor accident will typically be considered minor damages that receive a multiplier of 1.5. 

More serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or spinal cord injuries that result in permanent damage may receive a higher multiplier, such as a 4 or 5. If you believe that the insurance adjuster is assigning a multiplier that is too low in your claim, a personal injury attorney can negotiate the number with the adjuster.

The Auto Accident Formula

Once the multiplier has been agreed upon, the adjuster will multiply that number by the amount of the special damages. The sum is the number that insurance companies typically use as a starting point to discuss car accident settlements. Suppose a claimant’s economic damages total $500,000. The victim suffered a serious brain injury, and the adjuster assigned the case a multiplier of 5. In that case, the claimant would be entitled to $2.5 million in total damages. As you can see, ensuring that the economic damages and the multiplier correctly reflect your injuries is crucial for recovering the total amount of damages you deserve.

Contact a Virginia Car Accident Attorney Today

If you or your loved person have been injured in a car accident in Lynchburg or Virginia, we recommend discussing your case with an experienced attorney. Straw Law Firm will negotiate the most compensation possible in your auto accident claim. Contact Straw Law Firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.

Question mark concept.

10 Questions to Ask a Lawyer After a Car Accident

If you have been seriously hurt in a Lynchburg car accident, you may be asking yourself what you should do now. Pursuing a personal injury claim can be overwhelming, especially if you have been seriously injured. Nonetheless, discussing your case with an attorney as soon as possible is important. The steps you take after a car accident will directly influence your ability to obtain the total amount of compensation you deserve. Discussing your case with a personal injury attorney is an important first step to protecting your claim. Having an idea of what questions you should ask can help you when you meet with an attorney for the first time. 

  1. Do You Focus on Car Accident Cases?

You should only hire an attorney with experience in personal injury cases, specifically car accident cases. An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to obtain a fair settlement. Ask the attorney how many car accident cases they handle every year to understand whether this is their primary focus area.

  1. Do You Belong to any Special Associations?

There are several different types of legal associations for personal injury attorneys. Asking the attorney whether the organizations they participate in and whether they have received any awards or any special designation from them can give you an idea about their experience and skill in car accident cases.

  1. How Long Do You Expect My Case to Take?

It is impossible to predict exactly how long each case will take to be resolved. However, an attorney can give you a general idea about the length of your claim based on how complicated the facts in your case are. An attorney may take a few months to settle if your case is relatively straightforward. Complex cases could take over a year to resolve. An attorney can give you an educated guess based on past experience.

  1. How Likely is it That My Case Will Go to Trial?

The majority of car accident cases are settled outside of court, but the attorneys at Straw Law Firm are prepared to go to trial when necessary. We treat every claim as though it may go to trial. 

  1. How Much Do You Think My Case is Realistically Worth?

Many car accident victims wonder about how much their claim is worth and whether it is worth taking the time to speak to an attorney. Typically, the more serious your injuries, the more your case is worth. An attorney can review the facts in your case and help you estimate the total value of your case. It is important that you ask about the realistic value of your case to help you make informed decisions. 

  1. What Should I Say to the Insurance Company?

One of the benefits of speaking to an attorney soon after the car accident is to protect yourself when communicating with the insurance company. You are required to notify your insurance company that an accident has occurred. However, it is wise to refrain from providing a statement until you discuss your case with an attorney. 

It can be easy to unintentionally admit fault for an accident that was not your fault in the immediate aftermath of the accident. You can ask your attorney how much communication you should have with the insurance company. If you decide to hire an attorney, the attorney can help you prepare a statement for the insurance company. 

  1. How Long Does it Typically Take for You to Respond to Calls or Emails?

Communication is key when selecting an attorney to represent you. You do not want to work with an attorney who takes weeks to communicate with you about your case. At Straw Law Firm, we pride ourselves on being effective and prompt communicators with our clients. We want our clients to be informed about all of the updates in their cases. We are responsive and willing to answer our clients’ questions. You should also ask about how long it will take the attorney to begin working on your case if you choose to hire him or her. When it comes to car accident cases, it is important that an attorney begins working on the investigation and negotiations with the insurance company quickly. 

  1. What Tools Do You Have to Investigate My Case?

In complex car accident cases, the investigation process is crucial. Evidence can be destroyed, and witnesses can forget what they saw when the investigation occurred too late after the car accident occurred. When you meet with an attorney, ask about their resources to investigate your case thoroughly. Do they work with accident reconstruction specialists? Does the firm have the financial and other resources to investigate your claim and gather evidence immediately? You should ask questions to understand how seriously they will take your car accident claim during the investigatory process.

  1. What is Your Track Record for Car Accident Settlements?

When you meet with an attorney, you should ask about their track record when negotiating car accident settlements. Have they recently negotiated settlements for over a million dollars? Alternatively, do they usually take low-value car accident claims and settle them as quickly as possible? Ask for recent examples of car accident claims they have settled or taken to court to get an idea of whether they are capable of effectively negotiating the best automatic possible in your case.

  1. Do You Offer a Free Case Evaluation?

At Straw Law Firm, we offer potential clients a free case evaluation. We believe that clients should be able to ask us questions and learn more about us without the burden of paying for a first visit. Our Lynchburg personal injury attorneys will protect your interests and answer all of your questions. We will help you from start to finish by filing your claim, aggressively negotiating a fair settlement, and taking your case to court, if necessary. If you or your loved one has been injured in a Lynchburg car accident, contact Straw Law Firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.

Uninsured driver concept.

What to Do When an Uninsured Driver Hits You in Virginia

In Virginia, drivers are required to carry minimum amounts of auto insurance. Unfortunately, not all drivers comply with the law. When drivers without car insurance cause accidents, they cannot cover the victim’s damages, including their medical expenses, property damage, and loss of income. If an uninsured driver caused a car accident that resulted in your injuries, you may be wondering what you should do to recover the damages you deserve. There are several different options you may be able to pursue, depending on the facts in your case.

Some Virginia Drivers Do Not Carry the Required Minimum Auto Insurance

All drivers in Virginia must carry fault-based auto insurance according to the state’s mandatory minimums. Additionally, drivers are required to carry proof of insurance when they drive. Drivers need to exchange insurance information when a car accident occurs. If you are involved in an auto accident, and you discover that the at-fault driver does not have insurance, it is important that you call the police immediately. 

You can report the other driver and prevent them from fleeing the scene and returning to the road while uninsured. In hit-and-run accidents, a driver collides with another vehicle and then takes off. If this happens to you, try to write down all the information you remember about the driver in his or her vehicle. Doing so can help the police identify the driver.

Notify Your Insurance Company After the Accident

Even if the other driver does not have insurance, you should immediately notify your auto insurance company of the accident. In most cases, waiting longer than a month after the accident to notify your insurance company could give your insurance company a reason to deny uninsured or underinsured benefits. Informing your insurance company about the accident can increase your odds of a successful claim.

Discuss Your Legal Options With an Attorney

If an uninsured driver has injured you, you probably feel frustrated and worried about how you will pay your medical bills and expenses. Discussing your case with an attorney as soon as possible is important. An attorney will help you understand your legal options, investigate your case, and gather evidence. Uninsured motorist cases can be complicated, and you will benefit from experienced legal representation As you move through the process of obtaining benefits. Unfortunately, the bottom line is that you could end up being on the hook for your vehicle damage, medical bills, and other expenses. Still, there are a few different options you can pursue in Virginia.

File an Uninsured Motorist Claim With Your Own Insurance Company

When the driver who caused your accident does not have insurance, you will probably need to file an uninsured motorist claim through your own insurance policy. In Virginia, all auto insurance policies must include uninsured motorist coverage. Additionally, the coverage must be at least the same as the minimum amount of the driver’s liability coverage. For example, if you have $500,000 of liability coverage, your insurance company must provide you with at least $500,000 of uninsured motorist coverage. If you have an insurance policy in Virginia, you will have uninsured motorist coverage unless you opt-out of the coverage in writing.

As soon as you find out that the other driver does not have insurance, you should notify your insurance of the accident and discuss your case with an attorney. Sometimes people assume that since their insurance company will be taking care of things, they will receive a fair settlement. This is not the case, however. Even though you have paid auto insurance premiums for an extended amount of time, your auto insurance provider may challenge your claim or offer you a settlement amount that is far too low.

Negotiating With Your Insurance Company

An attorney will be able to negotiate aggressively with the insurance company. An attorney can also review the details of your insurance policy to determine if you have purchased other types of coverage that can help you. You may have purchased medical payment, also called MedPay, coverage or collision coverage. If the at-fault party has auto insurance, but it does not cover all of your damages, you may be able to turn to your underinsured motorist coverage. 

Explore Filing a Third-Party Liability Claim

Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to pursue damages from another person or company through a third-party liability claim. For example, suppose the uninsured driver who caused your accident was working for their employer when the accident occurred. In this case, you may be able to pursue compensation from the driver’s employer. In other cases, a government agency or a motor vehicle manufacturer may be responsible for the accident and liable for your damages. 

It is important that you work with an experienced attorney who will investigate your case thoroughly to discover whether there are one or more third parties you can hold accountable. Third-party liability claims are critical when the driver who caused the accident does not have insurance. The attorneys at the Straw Law Firm will use our resources and skills to identify all parties liable for your injuries to pursue the maximum compensation. 

Seek Compensation From the Uninsured Driver’s Personal Assets

Another option is to seek compensation directly from the at-fault driver in a Virginia district court. Unfortunately, this option is rarely feasible because many drivers who do not have car insurance do not have personal assets. When a driver does not have the means to pay you, you will not be able to recover enough to compensate yourself for your losses. However, it is still worth researching this option as you move forward.

Did an Uninsured Driver Cause Your Car Accident? Get Legal Help Today

Being injured by an uninsured driver can be frustrating and stressful. You do not have to go through the process alone. At Straw Law Firm, one of our skilled attorneys, can help you investigate your case and develop the best legal strategy for obtaining the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation and learn more about your legal options and how we can fight for you.

Virginia rear end collision laws.

Virginia Rear-End Collision Laws

According to the Insurance Information Institute, rear-end collisions account for nearly 29% of all car accidents causing serious injuries. Additionally, rear-end collisions account for 7.1% of total fatal crashes in the United States. Rear-end collisions can cause devastating injuries, and they can also be complicated cases. Determining who is at fault in a rear-end collision is not as simple as many would think. In a rear-end collision, the back driver is often at fault but is not always at fault. In some instances, the front driver who is rear-ended may be partially or entirely at fault. In other cases, a third-party driver is at fault.

Who is at Fault in a Lynchburg Rear-End Collision?

To recover compensation in a car accident lawsuit, the plaintiff bringing in the lawsuit needs to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident that resulted in his or her injuries. A driver acts negligently when they fail to use reasonable care under the circumstances. Determining liability in Virginia can be challenging due to Virginia’s unique contributory negligence law. Most states use the doctrine of comparative negligence to determine who is liable in rear-end collisions and other car accidents. 

Under the doctrine of comparative negligence, the plaintiff who brings a lawsuit can obtain damages if they were partially at fault for the accident. The damages will be reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault, as assigned by the court. In this scenario, a driver who was 20% at fault can still recover 80% of the damages.

Virginia’s Comparative Negligence Law

Virginia uses a different legal principle to determine fault, contributory negligence. Few states continue to use the contributory negligence law as many find the law unnecessarily harsh toward plaintiffs. Contributory negligence is much less forgiving to drivers who bear a small percentage of responsibility for the car accident. In Virginia, even if a driver is 1% at fault for a rear-end accident, they cannot recover any compensation from other drivers or companies involved in the accident. The contributory negligence rule becomes important in rear-end collision cases. 

In Virginia and other contributory negligence states, the back driver only needs to prove that the front driver was 1% at fault for the accident to avoid paying compensation. When the back driver can prove the front driver was at fault, they can escape liability and financial responsibility for the front driver’s property damage or injuries. Virginia’s contributory negligence law makes working with an experienced rear-end collision attorney necessary for drivers seeking compensation. If you were the back driver, you would need an experienced attorney to prove that you are not at fault for the accident at all.

Scenarios Through Which a Front Driver May be Liable

Most people assume that the back driver is always at fault in a rear-end collision, and most of the time, that is true. If you were the back driver in a rear-end collision, you should not assume that you are not entitled to compensation without discussing your case with an attorney. The front driver may have been at fault in your case. In a few scenarios, however, the front driver may be partly or totally at fault for the accident, such as:

  • The front driver makes a sudden lane change in front of the back driver and hits the brakes without warning.
  • The front driver makes an unnecessary and abrupt stop, making it difficult for the rear driver to avoid a collision even if he or she was keeping a safe following distance
  • The front driver was operating a vehicle was faulty brake lights, impairing the back driver’s ability to detect a sudden stopped
  • The front driver had a flat tire or breakdown but failed to pull safely to the side of the road and activate his or her hazard lights

Evidence Needed to Prove Fault in Virginia Rear-End Collision Laws

When you work with Straw Law Firm after a rear-end collision, we will begin gathering evidence in your case immediately. Multiple types of evidence can demonstrate liability in a rear-end car accident. Sometimes rear-end car accident cases that are straightforward. For example, in most rear-end accidents, the accident itself is evidence that the driver in the rear failed to slow down and stop in time to prevent the collision.

When rear-end accidents are caused by driving while distracted, speeding, fatigue driving, or aggressive driving, the evidence of liability may not be as clear-cut. Unless a driver steps up and admits that he or she was at fault, the insurance companies or a Virginia jury may have to decide who was at fault and how to award compensation. Most rear-end accident claims are resolved by insurance adjusters who consider the police report and other evidence to assign fault. When we investigate rear-end car accidents, we look for all the following types of evidence:

  • Debris at the crash scene
  • The police accident report, which may include a diagram of the crash
  • Statements from the drivers, passengers, and witnesses
  • Photos or video of the accident scene
  • The vehicles’ black box event data recorder readouts
  • Red light or security camera footage
  • The drivers’ cell phone records which could prove distracted driving
  • Social media comments by a driver or passenger about a car accident
  • Roadside or roadway conditions that may have contributed to their car accident
  • Evidence related to vehicle part recalls or failures

Contact an Experienced Lynchburg Car Accident Attorney Today

If you or your loved one have been involved in a rear-end accident in Lynchburg, Straw Law Firm is here to help. At Straw Law Firm, we will carefully review your case and advise you of all of your legal options. After a thorough investigation, we will negotiate aggressively on your behalf with the insurance adjuster, presenting evidence that shows that you are not at fault for the crash. Contact Straw Law Firm today to schedule your free initial consultation. 

A guide to Virginia DUI laws.

A Guide to Virginia DUI Laws in 2022

Virginia residents accused of a DUI face jail time, fines, court costs, probation, the loss of their driver’s license, and more. The personal ramifications from a DUI conviction can include lost employment and educational opportunities. There is also the social stigma of a criminal record. In this Virginia DUI guide, we will discuss what constitutes a DUI in Virginia, the penalties of a DUI, and other essential factors that can help you understand the charges you are facing.

What Constitutes a DUI in Virginia?

Virginia DUI laws prohibit drivers from driving or operating a motor vehicle:

  • While under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • With a blood-alcohol concentration of .08% or righter
  • With a blood concentration of .1 milligrams per liter or more of methamphetamine
  • With a blood concentration of .02 milligrams per liter or more of cocaine, or
  • With a blood concentration of .02 milligrams per liter or more of phencyclidine (PCP)

In Virginia, any amount of alcohol in your system while operating a motor vehicle can result in a DUI charge and conviction. Most criminal charges for drunk driving involve a driver with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) level of .08% or higher. However, prosecutors do not need to prove that you had a BAC of .08% or higher to convict you. Even if your BAC was below .08%, you could still face an arrest and conviction for a DUI.

Generally, a driver is considered to be under the influence of alcohol if the substances ingested impair his or her ability to operate or drive a vehicle safely. Additionally, in Virginia, there is a zero-tolerance policy for minors operating a motor vehicle while driving. It is illegal for underage drivers under 21 to get behind the wheel of a vehicle with a BAC of .02% or higher. 

Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Virginia

In Virginia, the penalties for a DUI can be severe, and they increase in severity with each subsequent DUI conviction. If you are convicted of a DUI, the court will determine your penalties by how many DUI convictions you have sustained within the last 10 years or the last five years if you had extremely high blood alcohol content levels and a minor was in the vehicle at the time. Additionally, if you are arrested for a DUI, this information will be available to the public and could negatively affect your career and housing situation. There are mandatory minimum jail sentences imposed upon you, depending on the factors involved in your conviction and your BAC level.

First DUI Offense in Virginia

If you are convicted of a first-time DUI, you face a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a fine between $250 and $2,500. If your blood alcohol concentration level is between .15 and .19, you will spend a minimum of five days in jail. If your blood alcohol level is 20 or higher, the mandatory minimum penalty will increase to 10 days in jail.

Second DUI Offense in Virginia

The penalties for DUI increase with subsequent convictions. If you are convicted of a second DUI, you will spend between one month up to one year in jail and face a fine between $500 and $2,500 with an additional penalty of a mandatory minimum of 20 days in jail. If this is your second DUI conviction within a 10-year time frame, you will have the same base penalty and an enhanced penalty of a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail. 

Suppose you have been convicted of a DUI twice within ten years and have a blood alcohol concentration level that measures .15 to .19%. In that case, you will face an additional penalty of 10 mandatory minimum days in jail. With a blood-alcohol concentration of .2% or higher, you can face a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 days in jail.

Third DUI Offense in Virginia

A third conviction of a DUI within 10 years is considered a Class 6 felony that carries a minimum 90-day mandatory jail sentence. You may face one to five years in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. It is possible for the judge or jury hearing your case to choose a lesser penalty of 90 days to 12 months in jail and fines between $1,000 to $2,500. Defendants convicted of a DUI three times within five years face a mandatory minimum jail sentence of six months. They will face a prison sentence between one and five years and a $1,000 fine unless the judge offers a lesser penalty.

A defendant with more than three prior DUI convictions could be charged with a Class 6 felony with a mandatory prison sentence of at least one year and a $1,000 minimum fine. You can still face one to five years in prison, but the mandatory prison sentence will be one year if you are convicted.

DUI While on Probation

If you are charged with a DUI while on probation, the DUI can affect your probation status before or after your case is resolved. We recommend discussing your case with an attorney as soon as possible to understand how being convicted of a DUI can affect your probation or parole status.

DUI With a Minor in the Vehicle

If you are found to be under the influence of alcohol and driving with a minor in the vehicle, you will face an additional five-day mandatory minimum jail sentence. You will also face fines ranging from $500 to $1,000.

Felony DUI

A conviction for felony DUI will result in the seizure of your driver’s license, which will be forfeited. In addition to this penalty, there are other mandatory penalties for those facing felony DUI charges in Virginia. 

Contact a Lynchburg DUI Attorney Today

If you are facing a DUI charge, your future is on the line. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you fight your DUI charge. The Lynchburg DUI defense attorneys at Straw Law Firm have a proven track record of successfully representing clients facing DUI charges in Virginia. Contact Straw Law Firm today to schedule your initial consultation and learn more about how we can fight for you.

screenshot t

A Guide to What to Do After a Car Accident in Virginia

Every day, Virginia residents become injured in car accidents. It only takes a few seconds for a car accident victim’s life to change forever. Car accidents can be shocking and traumatic, making it difficult for the victim to know what steps to take after the accident. Taking some time to consider what to do after a car accident can help you navigate the aftermath. After receiving medical treatment, one of the most important things you can do is discuss your case with an attorney. One of the experienced car accident attorneys at Straw Law Firm will help you navigate the process of obtaining compensation while protecting your rights and negotiating for you.

Stop Your Car and Pull Over

Depending on where the car accident occurred and how injured you are, moving your car out of the roadway may be impossible. One of the most important things you should do is stop your vehicle. Do not leave the scene of the accident because doing so may be illegal. It is essential that you stay where you are. Turn on your hazard lights and turn off your engine. If you are stuck in the middle of traffic, try to pull your vehicle off the road to a safe place outside of oncoming traffic. Doing so will reduce the risk of additional crashes. If you cannot move your car, make sure you put on your hazard lights.

Call 911 and Request a Police Officer

You should call 911 and ask the police to come to the accident scene to document it. Police officers will prepare an accident report that can be helpful for you when you seek compensation through the insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit. If anyone has been injured, request that the dispatcher send an ambulance with a police officer. You may not feel like you are injured, but the shock of the accident can cover up the true extent of your injuries.

Stick to the Facts When Talking to the Police

You will need to talk to the police officer about what happened. Accidents are traumatic, and it can be easy to guess the cause of the accident without knowing what happened. Make sure you tell the truth to the officer, but do not offer your own opinions, gas, or speculate about the cause of the accident. Stick to the facts that you know.

Document the Accident and Keep a File

Write down everything you remember about the accident when it is still fresh in your mind. You may not remember all the details as time goes on. Try to create a timeline of the events leading up to the car accident and write down anything unusual you notice about the other driver, the street, or your surroundings. If you can do so safely, take photos of the accident scene with your cell phone. Exchange insurance and contact information with all the other drivers involved in any witnesses at the scene.

We recommend getting an expandable binder for all of your reports, rental car receipts, medical reports, repair estimates, medications, and any bills you incur due to your car accident. This will make it easier for you to place a value on your damages when working with your attorney. You should also write down all of the days you missed at work and all of the employment benefits you missed out on because of your injuries. Anytime you have to miss an activity because of your injury or pain from your injury, write it down.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Most insurance policies require the insured to report a car accident immediately and provide full cooperation with them. The insurance company of the other driver will probably reach out and try to speak with you. You are not obligated to speak with them. If you do speak with them, remember that they are not on your side. It is a better idea to discuss your case with an attorney before discussing it with the driver’s insurance company.

Seek Medical Attention

We recommend seeking medical attention immediately at the emergency room or by booking an appointment with your physician. Even a minor car accident can cause serious injury, especially to the neck and back. After an accident, the shock of the accident causes adrenaline to search through the body. This adrenaline can make it difficult to accurately and immediately assess the extent of your injuries. Symptoms from traumatic brain injuries and concussions may not be a parent and won’t manifest for several days or even several weeks. Write down all the symptoms you are experiencing, no matter how minor they may seem.

Understand and Protect Your Rights

According to Virginia law, victims of car accidents have a right to pursue compensation for their injuries from the asphalt driver who caused the accident. You will need to prove that the actual driver’s negligence or recklessness caused the accident that resulted in your injuries. As the victim of a car accident, it is crucial that you understand your rights so you can protect your right to pursue compensation. You will need to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations to avoid losing your ability to bring a lawsuit. One of the best ways to protect your legal rights is to discuss your case with an attorney.

Contact a Virginia Car Accident Attorney Today

Have you or your loved one been involved in a car accident in Lynchburg? If so, the attorneys at Straw Law Firm are here to help. We have a proven track record of success when it comes to obtaining compensation for car accident victims. One of our experienced attorneys will carefully review your case and offer you excellent legal representation. Contact Straw Law Firm today to schedule your free initial consultation to learn more about how we can fight for your rights.

Virgina hit and run laws

A Guide to Virginia’s Hit-and-Run Laws

If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run car accident in Virginia, you may be wondering how you will be able to obtain compensation. The stress of knowing that you may not be able to hold the at-fault driver accountable because they left the accident scene is difficult enough. Additionally, your car insurance premiums will typically increase if you have to file a claim for underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage with your insurance policy. We will discuss Virginia’s hit-and-run laws and how you may be able to obtain compensation after being injured in one below.

The Definition of a Hit-and-Run in Virginia

A hit-and-run accident is any accident in which the person who caused the accident, also called the at-fault driver, flees the accident scene. In 2019, there were 238,000 moving violations in Virginia. Among these, 2% of the total were ruled to be hit-and-run accidents. Alcohol plays a role in hit-and-run accidents. Nearly 5% of the hit-and-run accidents every year are committed by drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Virginia’s Hit-and-Run Laws

Under Virginia law, a driver involved in a car accident in which someone becomes injured or property damage must stop at the accident scene. When drivers do not stop, they can be charged with a hit-and-run. Not stopping at the accident scene can carry serious penalties, including being charged with a misdemeanor if the damage to the property is under $1,000. When a car accident involves a serious injury, death, or property damage over $1,000, the hit-and-run is considered a class 5 felony. Class 5 felonies in Virginia carry a penalty of jail time for up to a year and a fine of up to $2,500, or both.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident

After a hit-and-run accident, it is important that you call 911 and ask a police officer to come to the scene. Be sure to request medical services if anyone has been injured. Allow the medical professionals to evaluate you and determine whether you need to go to the hospital. If you do not need to go to the hospital, we recommend undergoing a thorough medical evaluation as soon as possible from your doctor. You will need to document all of your injuries and keep those documents to use in your claim. Proving that the car accident caused your injuries will be important.

Discuss the accident with the police officer and tell the officer any details you remember about the at-fault driver and his or her vehicle. Having a police report will be helpful when you file an insurance claim. The police will interview Witnesses and try to gather important information related to the accident. If you can safely do so, take your photos and gather evidence of the vehicle and the surrounding area. These photos could help later after you file an insurance claim. Write down details you remember about the accident, including the time of day, weather and road conditions, and a detailed description of any damage.

Why You Need an Experienced Lawyer

We recommend contacting Straw Law Firm as soon as possible after the hit-and-run accident. Sometimes people assume that the police will do everything possible to find the at-fault driver. However, police departments are busy, and they may not put enough time and effort into finding the driver who caused your injuries. One of our experienced personal injury lawyers can help you search for the driver who caused your injuries. We have the resources and skills necessary to conduct a thorough search.

What if I Cannot Find the Hit-and-Run Driver?

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to locate the at-fault driver, even after a thorough search. In these circumstances, the victim’s only option may be to file a claim for uninsured motorist coverage with his or her own insurance company. Uninsured motorist coverage is optional, but many drivers do carry it. Uninsured motorist coverage will cover the medical expenses and property damage you have experienced in the accident.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

In Virginia, every car insurance company that provides motor vehicle liability coverage must offer customers uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in addition to regular liability coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is often necessary after a hit-and-run accident in Virginia. The driver who is the victim of a hit-and-run accident is typically responsible for paying the first $200 in property damage before the uninsured motorist coverage goes into effect. 

The limits and exact coverage associated with your uninsured motorist policy depend on the terms of your policy. Sometimes people assume that since they are filing a claim with their own insurer, recovering the compensation they need will be straightforward. Unfortunately, dealing with any insurance company, even if it is your own, can be challenging. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and they will try any technique possible to avoid paying out fair settlements. 

At Straw Law Firm, we will carefully review your insurance policy and advocate strongly for you to obtain the compensation you need. We have decades of experience in negotiating aggressively with insurance companies. Our lawyers know all of the tactics they used to avoid paying claims in a fair manner, and we will hold them accountable in your case. Our legal team will manage every aspect of your case so you can focus on your recovery.

Contact a Lynchburg Hit-and-Run Injury Lawyer Today

Being injured in a hit-and-run accident can be devastating and extremely frustrating. If you or your loved one have suffered a serious injury and a hit-and-run accident in Lynchburg, Straw Law Firm is here to help. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.

How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in Virginia?

Being involved in a car accident can be a stressful and traumatic experience. Between serious injuries, property damage, and dealing with insurance companies, car accidents cause significant stress to victims and their family members. The process of recovering compensation through an insurance claim further complicates matters. If you have been injured in a Virginia car accident, you may need to file an insurance claim to recover the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be wondering how long you have to file a car accident Insurance injury claim in Virginia.

Reporting the Car Accident to the Police

In the state of Virginia, you must report a car accident to the local authorities as soon as practicable. When the car accident involves an injury, death, or property damage, you must report the car accident to state police or local law enforcement within 24 hours of the car accident. Most car accidents involve one or more of these circumstances, so when in doubt, it is best to contact the police after you are involved in a car accident.

Filing a Car Accident Report in Virginia

If the car accident in which you were involved meets one or more of the criteria listed above, you will need to report the car accident. Your report must include your name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number. Providing this information makes the exchange of information easier and can help simplify the claims process as you go forward. 

Additionally, it is crucial to know which people you need to share the car accident report with under Virginia law. You will also need to provide your name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number. information to all of the following people and agencies:

  • The state police or local law enforcement agency responsible for investigating the car accident
  • Any person struck or injured in the car accident
  • Any driver or occupant of another vehicle that was struck in the car accident, and
  • The owner or custodian of any damaged property

Failure to comply with Virginia’s laws regarding notification and car accidents can result in a misdemeanor or felony charge. It is imperative that you do not wait to notify the police and understand your legal requirements to take precautions to ensure that you comply.

Reporting the Car Accident to an Insurance Company

After reporting the car accident to your local police department, you should also report it to your insurance provider. The time frame for reporting your accident varies from insurer to insurer and policy to policy. If you are unsure how long you have to report your car accident, we recommend discussing your case with the lawyer. Your car accident insurance policy will state the time frame within which you must report the accident.

We recommend reporting your accent as soon as possible to be on the safe side. Most insurance companies require customers to report a car accident soon after it happens, typically within 30 days of the accident. Some insurance policies do not set a time frame at all, While others set a specific time frame in which you must file a claim. Review your insurance policy to ensure that you follow the timelines and requirements. If you fail to report the accident to your insurance company within the time limit, they could deny your claim entirely.

After reporting the car accident, you may need to file a claim, which is another process altogether. Even if the accident was not your fault, recovering compensation can still be challenging. Insurance companies put their profit margin above everything else and frequently try every tactic possible to deny paying victims the compensation they deserve.

Statute of Limitations for Virginia Car Accidents

Every state has statutes of limitations that provide time limits for the filing of personal injury lawsuits. If you cannot resolve your car accident claim with the at-fault driver or his or her insurance company directly, you may need to bring a personal injury lawsuit against him or her. Before you file your personal injury lawsuit, it is essential to become aware of Virginia’s statute of limitations for car accident claims.

The statute of limitation allows you a limited amount of time following your car accident to file your lawsuit. Under Virginia law, the statute of limitations for bringing your claim depends on the type of accident and the amount of damages or injuries caused by the accident. If you seek damages for injuries caused by a car accident, you have two years from the date of the car accident to file your lawsuit. However, if you seek compensation for damage to your vehicle, you have five years from the date of the car accident to file a lawsuit.

Two years may seem like a long time to file a lawsuit, especially when you are dealing with serious injuries. The thought of speaking to an attorney may seem overwhelming in the aftermath of a car accident. In a personal injury lawsuit, you and your lawyer will need as much time as possible to investigate the case and prepare your legal strategy. 

The sooner you discuss your case with a lawyer, the better your lawyer will be able to protect your rights and negotiate with the at-fault party. Many lawyers will not take your case if you wait too long because they will not have enough time to prepare. The best strategy is to discuss your case with a lawyer as soon as you can.

is virginia a no fault insurance state

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.

What Should I Do If I Was Hit By a Semi-Truck?

What Should I Do If I Was Hit By a Semi-Truck?

Every year, over 130,000 people become injured in accidents involving semi-truck accidents. Additionally, nearly 74% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents involved a large truck. The considerable size and weight of semi-trucks make them dangerous, especially when passenger vehicle occupants are involved. Passenger vehicle occupants account for 68% of all truck fatalities. If you are one of the thousands of Americans who have been injured in a semi-truck accident, it is crucial that you speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. We will discuss the steps you should take if you have been hit by a semi-truck below.

Seek Medical Attention

The most important thing you should do after being involved in a semi-truck accident is to seek medical help as soon as possible. If you are able to call 9-1-1, do so. Allow yourself to be evaluated by emergency medical personnel. Should they suggest that you go to the emergency room, follow their advice, even if you were not sure whether you are seriously hurt. It is also important to follow through with all of the treatment your doctor advises you to receive. 

For example, if your doctor sends you to a physical therapist or requests that you see an orthopedic surgeon, you should do so. Not only will following through with your medical team’s advice help you recover from your injuries, it also shows that the semi-truck accident caused your injuries and the severity of your injuries.

Request a Police Officer 

When you call 9-1-1 to request an ambulance, request that a police officer come to the scene of the semi-truck accident. The police officer will conduct a preliminary investigation. The investigation will allow you to obtain a police report later that could help your compensation claim. When you speak to the police officer, be sure that you do not unintentionally admit fault for the semi-truck accident. Try to keep your answers accurate and factual, but do not speculate about the cause of the accident.

Report the Semi-Truck Accident

You must report the semi-truck accident to your own insurance company. However, what you say to the insurance company is crucial as it relates to your potential claim. The only thing you should tell your insurance company is that the semi-truck accident occurred. We recommend speaking with a personal injury lawyer before you provide your insurance company with a recorded statement. Insurance adjusters often begin calling truck accident victims immediately after the accident, asking them to provide a statement. It can be easy to unintentionally admit fault, which will harm your chances of recovering that compensation you deserve. One of the skilled personal injury lawyers at Straw Law Firm can help you craft an accurate statement about the accident. 

Do Not Sign Anything Before You Discuss Your Case With a Lawyer

If the semi-truck driver was at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, an insurance claims adjuster from the trucking company’s insurance policy would probably contact you after the accident. The adjuster may try to tell you that you have to make a recorded statement right now or that they need you to sign a medical records release form. Insurance claims adjusters put significant pressure on victims to try to get them to settle as quickly as possible. If you’ve been seriously injured,  insurance adjusters will be even more likely to pressure you. 

Many victims of car accidents settle quickly so they can recover compensation to pay their medical bills. Unfortunately, most first-time settlement offers are far too low and do not provide adequate compensation for all of the victim’s injuries and expenses. It is better to consult with a personal injury lawyer before you begin discussing your case with the claims adjuster. Claims adjusters are not your friends; they are more concerned with getting you to agree to a low payout than ensuring you are fairly compensated. You should tell the claims adjuster that you will not make any recorded statements or sign anything until you speak to an attorney.

Develop a Legal Strategy With Your Lawyer

Being involved in a serious semi-truck accident can be devastating, and you may be wondering what your life will look like going forward. You are probably concerned about paying your mounting medical bills and when you will be able to return to work. When you consult with an attorney after your truck accident, you can protect yourself and your compensation claim.  

When we meet with new clients, we ask them questions about the accident. Our firm will begin a thorough investigation into the accident. The first thing our law firm tries to determine is who was at fault for the truck accident. In some cases, multiple persons or companies are at fault for the accident. Suppose a truck driver was intoxicated when he caused your truck accident and his employer failed to do a background check that would have shown the employer the truck driver had DUIs in his history. 

In that case, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the truck driver and his employer under the legal theory of respondeat superior. Employers can be held vicariously liable for the actions of their employees when the employees were acting within the scope of their job. Trucking companies are responsible for screening candidates for red flags that could show they are not safe drivers. Your lawyer can work with you to develop the best legal strategy to recover compensation for you. 

Contact a Lynchburg Personal Injury Lawyer

At Straw Law Firm, we have a proven track record of obtaining millions in compensation for our personal injury clients. If you or your loved one have been seriously injured in a semi-truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The steps you take after your semi-truck accident are crucial to your claim’s success. The sooner you consult with one of our personal injury lawyers, the better. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation as soon as possible.