Frequently Asked Questions
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I was in an accident but my friend was driving. I don't think I should make a claim against my friend. What is your advice?
Many people are often reluctant to make claims against friends or family members' insurance policies in the event of a car wreck. What you should know is that the entire purpose of auto insurance is to cover accidents like the one you've been in. In that regard you should have no qualms about making a claim against the individual to recover from your injuries. Most times the injury claim will be settled and your friend will probably not even know it's happening.
I got hurt on the job. Can I only get workers compensation or can I also bring a lawsuit?
It depends on how you were hurt, whether the injury occurred as an anticipated result of your job duties, and whether your injury was caused by a third-party company or a supplier's separate negligence.
Workers' compensation may be the only remedy but you need to read this entire article on FAQs and differences between workers' compensation laws and separate negligence claims and lawsuits in Virginia (VA), North Carolina (NC), South Carolina and beyond.
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.
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.
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.