Frequently Asked Questions
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I got hurt because of faulty or defective equipment at work. Can I bring a lawsuit against the company that made or sold the part even if I am receiving workers' compensation payments?
The answer may be yes if the injury was caused by the faulty or defective equipment or if the equipment became defective and dangerous because of something the product manufacturer, distributor or seller did to it. In other words, if the injury was caused by the negligence or malfeasence of another company rather than by your own employer, you can file injury claims against that other company.
In certain cases you can receive workers' compensation benefits from your employer and bring a separate negligence action against a third pary besides your employer, but read this entire list of FAQs to understand how workers' compensation claims differ from negligence claims and lawsuits in Virginia, North Carolina and beyond.
What do I do if my vehicle was totaled following a car wreck? What are my rights as far as replacing my car or getting a rental if repair work is possible?
In Virginia, like in most states, a car insurance company whose insured driver causes damage to your car normally must pay for restoring your vehicle to its pre-accident condition. Virginia also requires that an insurance company pay for a comparable rental car during the time that your car is being repaired. You generally have a choice about the repair facility for your vehicle. For instance, if you drive an expensive car, you might want to have the work done at a certified body shop. That is your right. Also, you can let the adjuster know that you do not want to use refurbished parts on your car.
Another issue that often comes up is that of the rental car. While your vehicle is being repaired, the insurance company must provide you with a comparable rental car. The rental vehicle must be made available until your own car is finished being repaired or the insurance company has made you an offer on your vehicle.
I was in a wreck and I am concerned about my lost wages. How will I recover them?
This is a frequent question. Of course you are worried about lost wages and time from work. In Virginia (VA), like most states, you are entitled to reimbursement for lost wages resulting from a wreck that was not your fault. When our attorneys submit a demand package to the insurance company, we send a form, filled out by your employer, that outlines your rate of pay and time lost from work since the wreck. Usually it helps to have a doctor who has made the recommendation to take you out of work to support this claim. With that documentation, we can easily argue that you are entitled to full compensation for your wages.
I was in a wreck and I am concerned about my lost wages. How will I recover them?
In North Carolina (NC), like most states, you are entitled to reimbursement for lost wages resulting from a wreck that was not your fault. When our attorneys submit a demand package to the insurance company, we send a form, filled out by your employer, that outlines your rate of pay and time lost from work since the wreck.
Usually it helps to have a doctor who has made the recommendation to take you out of work to support this claim. With that documentation, we can easily argue that you are entitled to full compensation for your wages.
I was in a car wreck and my friend was driving. I don't want to sue my friend, what should I do?
Most of the time you are simply making a claim against your friend's car insurance policy. There is a strong liklihood that the case will settle before it ever goes to a lawsuit. Also, this is why we all have car insurance, for claims like these.
About the Editors: Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan is a law firm which focuses exclusively on injury and accident law. We have a proven track record in the court room, and you can review our case results to see for yourself. Our attorneys have deep roots in Virginia and handle cases throughout the commonwealth. Our office is based in Virginia Beach, but we're ready to come to you anywhere in Virginia if you've been seriously hurt by someone else's carelessness. While not every injury case meets our criteria, we off a free, initial confidential injury case consultation, so call us toll free at 1-800-752-0042. If you cannot get through due to high call volume, please leave a voicemail and we will return your call promptly.
Rick Shapiro and James Lewis were included among the "Best Lawyers in America" 2010 Edition. Rick and James, along with fellow attorney John C. were named Virginia "Super Lawyers" For Personal Injury Law (2010 Ed., less than 5% of lawyers are chosen), and selected by the National Million Dollar Advocates Forum (2009). In addition, we were the first injury law firm in Virginia to join Primerus, a select group of highly ethical, respected law firms. Our firm has the highest rating of AV from Martindale-Hubbell, a national lawyer ranking organization, which means we have a reputation for preeminent legal skill.
We also offer free special reports along with editing the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as a public information service. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube, a Railroad Accident/FELA Lawyers blog, a Medical Malpractice and Surgical Errors blog, a VA/NC Wrongful Death blog, and a blog dedicated to accident and safety issues on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
What questions should I ask when selecting a doctor or surgeon?
While you can never find out every small detail about your doctor or surgeon, there are a few things you can do to make a better informed decision. First and foremost, ask questions. For example...
Where did you go to medical school?
What American Board of Medical Specialty Certifications do you have?
How long have you been practicing?
Are there any disciplinary actions outstanding against you?
All of these are perfectly legitimate questions to ask. Do not hesitate. If you'd like to learn more about surgical safety, medical negligence and ways not to become a victim, download our free report.
Is there a medical malpractice "damage cap" in North Carolina?
Unfortunately, yes. The North Carolina state legislature passed a damage cap of $500,000 for "noneconomic damages". Noneconomic damages compensate a victim for “pain, suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, inconvenience, and any other non-pecuniary compensatory damages.”
It's an unfair and illogical law that punishes victims. Nevertheless, it is the law of North Carolina.
How much time does it take to resolve a truck accident case? Do most cases settle or go to trial?
The amount of time required to resolve your truck accident case depends primarily on the circumstances of your specific case. Some truck wreck cases take a few months to resolve, while others take a year or longer.
Due to the extensive amount of damages involved in a typical truck crash case, the truck company insurers are more likely to authorize a time-consuming, all-out vigorous defense. This usually means truck accident cases take longer to resolve than typical car accident cases.
How does a court calculate loss of comfort, sorrow, mental anguish and solace in a wrongful death claim?
When someone you love dies in a serious accident, it is never possible to fully replace the loss. However, our justice system tries to provide some semblance of justice through a wrongful death suit. A successful wrongful death case tries to make amends for the loss by awarding an amount of money that is "fair and just." It is virtually impossible to precisely calculate how much sorrow or mental anguish a survivor experiences. The facts of each case will influence the amount that is determined to be fair and just. For example, the nature of the relationship in the family is taken into account. In addition, the length of marriage and the kinds of love, help and support your spouse gave you are important considerations.
What if a victim dies before their case is hard by a court?
A wrongful death claim usually stems from the victim's death from an accident and is brought on behalf of a relative or loved one.
For example, say someone is married with three children and becomes injured in a serious truck accident caused by the negligence of a trucker. If the victim is hospitalized and sues the person at fault, but before the victim's case is heard, they die from the injuries sustained in the truck wreck. The victim's spouse may proceed with the claim, after getting qualified as the personal representative of the estate, as a wrongful death matter against the person at fault.
You also need to be aware of the "survival statute" which preserves a victim's cause of action against an at-fault individual after the victim passes away from some cause other than the accident. This enables the estate to take over the victim's cause of action against the at-fault party. The damages available in a survival action include all the damages for the injury that are available to the actual victim if the individual survived.