When a victim has been injured in an accident caused by another party or parties, Virginia law says they are entitled to pursue damages for financial compensation for the losses their injuries have caused.
Victims often retain the services of a personal injury attorney to assist in this process. The first step is usually to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. In the majority of cases, the two sides will negotiate a settlement and come to an agreement of the amount the victim deserves. When they cannot agree, the attorney will file a lawsuit in civil court where a jury or judge will determine if the party named is at-fault and, if so, how much the victim deserves.
Should You Take the Settlement Offer?
The majority of personal injury cases do end with a settlement before the actual trial is scheduled by the court. With almost every personal injury claim the insurance company will offer a settlement almost immediately. Companies do this because they are looking to make the claim go away as quickly and cheaply as possible. It is very rare – if never – that these initial offers actually cover the amount of the victim’s damages. This is why a victim should never accept an offer without consulting with a Virginia accident attorney first.
Once the victim has a personal injury attorney representing them, the attorney and the insurance company will enter into negotiations in order to try to come up with a fair and just settlement amount. Typically, when the victim has retained the services of a seasoned attorney, the insurance company is much more open to fair settlement amounts than they are if the victim does not have an attorney.
There are several factors that the victim’s attorney will consider when they are advising the victim on whether or not any settlement offer from the insurance company is a fair one:
- The amount of the offer: Will the amount the insurance company is offering pay for all of the medical expenses – past, present, and future – that the victim’s injuries will require. The victim must also consider whether the amount will cover the amount of lost wages they suffered while recovering, as well as any future loss if the injury has left them with a permanent disability.
- Pain and suffering: In addition to the economic damages victims suffer, they are also entitled to damages for non-economic damages like pain and suffering. However, pain and suffering are subjective and there are different formulas that can be used to determine how much a victim should be compensated.
- How strong is the case: The stronger a victim’s case, the more likely they will prevail in a trial. However, if there are factors that could cause a jury to question any liability for the accident, that could affect the outcome of the case and/or the amount of any award.
Contact a Va. Accident Attorney for More Information
Personal injury cases can be difficult to prove without the legal expertise of a Virginia injury attorney. These cases can be complex and failure to provide sufficient evidence could result in a dismissal of the case by the court or a ruling in favor of the defendant (at-fault party).
At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our legal team will provide a free case evaluation to determine what legal options you may have and how to proceed. Call our office today to find out how we can help get you the financial compensation you deserve.