Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What happens after the victim and insurance company reach a settlement?

    Once the two parties reach an agreement as to how much the insurance company should pay the victim, the amount should be put in writing. The amount should be enough to pay all the victim’s expenses after the attorney fees are deducted. The insurance company will also have the victim sign a release form that bars the victim from pursuing any more claims on the accident. It typically takes a few weeks from the time the victim signs the release to receive the funds. At that point, the claim will be closed.

  • What happens after the insurance company receives the victim’s demand letter?

    The insurance company will respond to the victim’s demand letter with an offer of their own. This is typically the lowest offer they can get away with. Victims should never accept this offer. Instead, negotiations between the two sides should begin. The victim should respond to the demand letter, reiterating the strengths of their case and include a counter-demand amount, lower than their original demand.

    This back and forth will continue until the parties reach an agreed-upon settlement amount.

  • What is a demand letter in a personal injury claim?

    A demand letter is where the victim presents their case of the car accident to the insurance company. This is where the victim will present all the facts and details of their injuries and the medical treatment received, as well as any future treatment, the injuries require. The initial amount “demanded” in the letter should be higher than the actual settlement the victim is willing to agree to. This allows for negotiation.

  • What damages can a drunk driving victim pursue?

    Victims can be awarded financial compensation for the following:

    • Past, present, and future medical expenses, including medications, medical devices, and even the cost of transportation to get back and forth to treatment.
    • Past, present, and future loss of income from being unable to work. This includes vocational training if the victim can no longer go back to his or her prior profession because of the injuries.
    • Pain and suffering
    • Emotional anguish
    • Loss of life enjoyment
    • Permanent disability
    • Scarring
    • Disfigurement

    The victim of a drunk driving accident may also be awarded punitive damages as a way to punish the drunk driver for their egregious behavior.

  • What steps should a victim take if they are in a crash involving a drunk driver?

    1. Call the police and report the crash. Do not leave the scene until police arrive. It is critical the police document the drunk driver’s condition.
    2. Take a video of the drunk driver. If you are physically unable to do so, ask a bystander. There are multiple ways a drunk driver can fight criminal charges and deny they were drunk. Your video will be a strong piece of evidence in both criminal and civil cases.
    3. Get the names and contact information of all witnesses.
    4. Make sure to follow all of your doctor’s treatment orders.
    5. Cooperate with the police and district attorney.
    6. Retain the services of a skilled Virginia car accident attorney.

  • How often do drunk driving accidents occur?

    According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 30 percent of all fatal car crashes involve a driver who is alcohol-impaired. Every day, 29 people lose their lives because a drunk driver made the decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

  • What legal recourse do victims of electrocution have?

    If the electrocution was work-related, the victim may be eligible for workers’ compensation and/or pursue a third-party lawsuit against any other responsible parties. If the injury was caused by a defective appliance, the victim may be able to pursue a defective product lawsuit. Faulty wiring can be a premises liability lawsuit. Victims of electrocution should contact a personal injury attorney to find out what legal options they have.  

  • What are some of the more frequent electrocution injuries?

    • Brain damage: If the brain or nervous system is electrocuted, injuries can include confusion, memory loss, and seizures.
    • Burns: Severe burns in the areas where the electric current entered and exited the body.
    • Cardiac injuries: If the electricity passes through the victim’s heart, it can cause irregularities or stop the house completely.
    • Fall injuries: The victim can lose consciousness and suffer a fall, especially if the incident occurs on a job site.
    • Fractures: When the muscles contract forcefully from the electric current, bones can fracture
    • Internal injuries: The current can damage any one or more of the internal organs.
    • Muscles injuries: The contraction from the electric current can cause tearing of the muscles.
    • Respiratory arrest: If the current hits the brain or chest muscles, the lungs can be affected, and breathing could be difficult or stop completely.

  • What is an electrocution injury?

    The human body conducts electricity. This is why any contact between a part of the body and a source of electrical energy can result in electrocution. This type of injury can cause many types of serious injuries, including death. Electrocution can occur from a defective appliance, faulty wiring, downed power line, or in the workplace.

  • Does Virginia place a cap on personal injury damage awards for noneconomic losses?

    Virginia joins most states in not limiting insurance settlements or jury awards for noneconomic damages for pain, mental anguish and disfigurement. The state does, however, impose a total cap of $2 million on awards for medical malpractice awards that covers economic, noneconomic and punitive damages.

    Economic damages include medical bills and lost wages, while punitive damages are assessed as noncriminal fines for especially negligent, reckless or intentional acts. Note, too, that the cap is not a floor; most people who succeed with medical malpractice claims in Virginia receive far less than $2 million. A total award to a medical malpractice victim will reflect economic losses plus a multiplier for noneconomic damages. Few medical malpractice victims receive punitive damages.

    EJL