Car Injuries
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The questions on this page were answered by our team of Virginia Beach & Norfolk personal injury attorneys. The questions are categorized by practice area such as car accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, etc. If you have specific questions about your situation, contact our firm to set up a free consultation with an actual attorney.

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  • I was hit and injured by a car in a parking lot. Can I file a claim against the business?

    Probably not unless you can prove that the business owner or the company that owns the lot that serves the business clearly violated state laws and city ordinances regarding the design and maintenance of the lot. A business or lot owner cannot be held responsible for the actions of a negligent, reckless or inattentive driver, but an injured pedestrian might have a claim against a business or lot owner that allowed the condition of the pavement to deteriorate to the point that the lot was not safe for anyone.

    Clearly unsafe parking lots would be those that lack required lighting, those covered with uncleared snow and ice, and those without marked crosswalks. A lot with massive potholes could also be considered unsafe enough to make a business or lot owner subject to what Virginia personal injury lawyers like my colleagues and I call a premises liability lawsuit.

    EJL

  • Does a pedestrian always have right of way in a parking lot?

    Not always.

    Drivers must watch for and yield to pedestrians in parking lots, but the laws of Virginia only guarantee right of way to pedestrians who are in crosswalks or at parking lot entrances.

    A driver who hits a pedestrian while pulling out of a parking space may still be held responsible for acting negligently and settling insurance claims, but the victim should partner with an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer to ensure that fault is assigned correctly.

    EJL

  • A driver hit my 5-year-old daughter in a parking lot. Can I file an insurance claim?

    The answer to this question is definitely yes if your daughter suffered injuries severe enough to require emergency medical treatment or hospitalization.

    The severity of the injury would be the primary consideration in this instance because concepts like right of way and contributory negligence do not apply to children younger than 8 years old. It would not matter, for instance, if your daughter ran ahead of you and failed to see a car that was backing out of a parking spot.

    But please do be aware that insurance claims must have merit. A mild bruise or simple scare will not result in a settlement.

    EJL

  • If something like a boat or motorcycle falls off a trailer, is the person towing the trailer responsible for any accidents that result?

    Virginia law requires drivers to secure all items placed on a towed trailer with tarps, straps or cages, as appropriate. Violating that law, or even just allowing a tarp or strap to work loose, makes a driver responsible for any crash caused by an item that falls off the trailer.

    The same type of law applies to dump trucks and pickups. That is, allowing items to fly out of the hopper or truck bed is a ticketable offense and something that can be cited as negligence in a Virginia personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

    EJL

  • Does Virginia have laws about securely attaching a towed trailer to a car, SUV or truck?

    Definitely. Virginia state laws set requirements for trailer hitch design, brake configuration, chain use and many other safety provisions. The statutes cover all types of towed trailers, from those that support cargo containers hauled by big rigs to mini trailers that attach to motorcycles. Failing to properly attach a trailer to a vehicle, or using a trailer that lacks all the required safety equipment, will generally make the driver of a vehicle from which a trailer came loose responsible for causing any resulting crash that inflicts property damage, personal injuries or deaths.

    EJL

  • In Virginia, who is responsible if a towed trailer comes free and causes an accident?

    In Virginia and other states, the person driving a vehicle with an attached trailer has legal duties to ensure that the trailer is securely attached to the car, truck or SUV. Failing to meet those duties makes a driver responsible for any accident involving a loose trailer. Police can ticket a driver for allowing a trailer to get loose, and victims of crashes involving a loose trailer can file insurance claims with the assistance of a Virginia personal injury lawyer.

    This is true for drivers of passenger vehicles, commercial trucks and even bicycles and motorcycles. It also does not matter if the driver owns the trailer or rented it. That said, a rental company that allowed a driver to leave its lot with a trailer that had a defective hitch or which lacked other legally required safety features could also be held responsible for settling personal injury or wrongful death insurance claims.

    EJL

  • Do I have to give the insurance company for the driver who hit and injured me in Virginia complete access to all my medical records?

    No. And the only reason the insurance company for the driver who hit and hurt you wants to review your entire health history is to find something it can call a preexisting condition that could not have been caused by the crash its policyholder caused.

    Partnering with an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer will help you protect your medical history while also releasing only the precise information the auto insurance company needs to calculate a fair and adequate settlement.

    EJL

  • Someone else caused the car accident in which I got injured. Do I have to notify my own insurance company in Virginia?

    Definitely call your own insurance company after you get in a car crash caused by another driver. No matter how much evidence exists to show that the other person hit and hurt you, it can take months -- and, sometimes, years -- for that person’s insurance company to even offer a settlement for your claims.

    Your own insurance policy can cover medical bills and car repairs while you deal with the other insurance company. In some cases, your own policy will cover all your claims and then go after the other insurer for you.

    Note, though, that you can still benefit from consulting with a Virginia personal injury lawyer even if you speak only with your own insurance company. Insurers investigate all claims, and you may encounter some of the same hassles from your own insurer that you would while dealing with the other driver’s insurance company.

    EJL

  • The insurance company for the Virginia driver who hit and injured me is demanding a recorded statement. Do I have to give one?

    In a word, no.

    Insurance company representatives usually put pressure on car crash victims to provide an official recorded or written statement about the collision, their injuries and medical care, and their experiences with pain and disability following the wreck. While the reps are allowed to ask for this, no law requires the injured person to give an official statement.

    The insurance company wants an official statement that they can use like testimony. If things you say after giving a recorded or written statement differ from what is in the statement, the insurer will try to use the discrepancies as reasons to deny settling claims.

    If you do decide to speak on the record with an insurance company representative, it will benefit you to first consult with a Virginia personal injury lawyer.

    EJL

  • In an auto defect lawsuit, do I need to prove the other party's negligence caused my injury?

    There are other rules in play in auto defect cases, such as strict liability, breach of express warranty and breach of implied warranty. Strict liability requires proof that the vehicle or parts were defective and caused your injuries. Breach of express or implied warranty means the auto defect violated the warranty so there could be liability.