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Fairfax Car Accident Lawyers

Representing Car Accident Victims Across Virginia & D.C.

Car accidents happen every day throughout Virginia and D.C. Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents are still the leading cause of serious injuries in the United States, as well as the leading cause of death. The sad reality is that crashes will continue to occur as more drivers become distracted at the wheel with their phones and ever-evolving in-vehicle technology.

At Shevlin Smith, our Fairfax car accident attorneys understand that people injured in car crashes are often innocent and are the victims of someone else’s carelessness, recklessness, and poor judgment. This is why we focus our efforts on helping personal injury victims who have been harmed due to no fault of their own. With decades of combined legal experience, our team is capable of handling even the most complex car accident cases, offering compassionate, personalized services and uncompromising representation.

What are Common Accident Injuries?

Car crashes can cause any of the following types of injuries:

  • Severe brain injuries typically occur when a driver or passenger hits their head on a hard object inside or outside of the car. Brain injuries may include concussions, contusions, hematomas, skull fractures, and open- or closed-head traumatic brain injuries.
  • Spinal cord injuries can be the result of a blow to a vehicle occupant’s spine. When this occurs, spinal nerves can be damaged, which may lead to paralysis, bladder dysfunction, muscle weakness, and other adverse health effects.
  • Broken bones often occur in car accidents due to the significant force of impact. Broken bone injuries can include broken arms, hands, wrists, hips, pelvises, ribs, legs, and ankles. However, any bone in the body can break when a certain amount of force is present.
  • Limb amputation can occur in high-impact and high-speed collisions. Sadly, drivers and passengers could lose their arms, hands, legs, or feet in crashes, causing lifelong disabilities and challenges.
  • Serious burn injuries can result in the event of a vehicle fire. When victims of vehicle fires sustain third-degree burns, they may suffer pain, nerve damage, scarring, disfigurement, and other serious health problems.
  • Wrongful death can occur when someone loses his or her life in a fatal car accident caused by a reckless or negligent driver. When families have suffered the tragic and untimely death of a loved one in an auto accident, they have the right to pursue a legal claim.

Every year, millions of people suffer serious injuries in car wrecks and survive. However, they are left to live with physical problems that can cause disabilities and serious mental and financial issues. This is why recovering compensation after an auto accident is crucial to a victim’s overall health and well-being.

Another type of injury that can happen in a car accident is internal organ damage. This type of injury is often overlooked and since symptoms of internal organ injury aren't visible and can sometimes be delayed some injury victims are not aware of their injuries for hours or even days after an accident. Click here to read our blog post about what organs are most at risk after an accident and learn the signs and symptoms of internal organ damage.

Types of Car Accidents

When you or a loved one has been injured in a crash, it is important to learn about the legal process, your rights, and even to understand how and why the wreck occurred in the first place.

Cars can collide in a variety ways, including:

  • Head-on collisions are some of the most devastating and often the deadliest types of auto accidents. The force of impact is tremendous when two vehicles, traveling toward one another, collide. Common causes of head-on crashes include distracted driving, drowsy driving, and driving under the influence.
  • Rear-end crashes occur when vehicles in the rear crash into cars in front of them. Common causes of rear-end accidents include distracted driving, speeding, and tailgating.
  • T bone / side-impact collisions involve the front of one car smashing into the side of another vehicle, forming a “T” shape. Common factors in these types of crashes include speeding, distracted driving, running a red-light, and failing to stop at a stop sign.
  • Rollover crashes occur when cars turn onto their sides or roofs – leading to significant injuries and fatalities. Common causes of rollovers include alcohol, speed, and vehicle defects.
  • Accidents involving pedestrians often occur when drivers fail to see or yield to pedestrians. As a result, drivers hit pedestrians, causing them life-threatening injuries. Common factors in pedestrian accidents include drivers running red lights, speeding, and driving while distracted.
  • Accidents involving cyclists often occur when drivers make turns, attempt to pass bicycles, or simply fail to share the road. When vehicles hit bicycles, cyclists can suffer severe and often fatal injuries. Common causes of cycling accidents include distracted driving, reckless driving, and driving while drowsy or impaired.

What are the Main Causes of Car Accidents?

Whether commuting to work, driving children to school, or running errands, you probably use your car virtually every day to get you from point A to point B. While you might be a safe and defensive driver, all it takes is for one other driver in your presence to act dangerously – and your life is at risk. In fact, dangerous and negligent drivers are typically the main cause of crashes.

Some of the potential causes of auto accidents in Virginia, D.C., and across the U.S. include:

  • Distracted driving is any activity a driver does that distracts him or her from paying attention to the road and driving safely. Some of the most common types of distracted driving behaviors are texting and driving and talking on hands-free and handheld cell phones at the wheel. However, even eating and talking with passengers can cause a driver to be distracted.
  • Impaired driving is the act of driving a car while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While drunk driving is legally defined as having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher, any amount of alcohol or drugs can alter a driver’s mind and impair his or her ability to drive safely.
  • Reckless driving is typically considered excessive speeding. In Virginia, reckless driving is considered driving over 80 miles per hour or exceeding the posted speed limit by 20 miles per hour. When motorists drive this way, they often run red lights and stop signs, which can lead to very serious accidents.
  • Drowsy driving is when a driver continues driving even though he or she is tired. Most drivers who are battling fatigue don’t realize driving while tired can be just as dangerous as driving impaired or distracted.
  • Teenage driving can be a factor in crashes because teen drivers typically lack the wisdom and experience of seasoned drivers. As a result, teen drivers might make poor decisions behind the wheel that can lead to serious car accidents.
  • Elderly driving can also be a factor in collisions. As drivers age, they may suffer from vision changes, slower reflexes, and confusion—all things that can cause even the most experienced drivers to crash.

Although there are many causes of car accidents, the end result of crashes is trauma. Sadly, most people involved in collisions suffer injuries that range from minor to severe in nature. Our Fairfax car accident attorneys are dedicated to helping victims of traffic accidents recover from their injuries and move on with their lives.

How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim?

The statute of limitations on car accidents in Virginia is two years, this means that you have two years from the date of your accident to file a claim or you may lose your right to compensation.

Is Virginia a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?

No, Virginia is actually a fault state, meaning any person who is injured in a car accident or whose property is damaged can file a claim against the other driver or the other driver’s insurance company.

Additionally, Virginia follows a "contributory negligence" rule, meaning that if you are at all responsible for the accident that caused your injuries you are not eligible to pursue compensation.

Liability can fall in many different places. In some cases, liability is on a vehicle product manufacturer. In other cases, it is a different third-party company.

What Type of Compensation Can I Get After an Accident?

After suffering an injury, there’s no question that you will want to make the best physical recovery possible. Recovering after a car accident can include working with medical professionals to treat your physical injuries, working with psychologists to treat your emotional injuries, and working with legal professionals to help you make a financial recovery.

Generally speaking, there are three categories of damages an injury victim can pursue compensation for in a personal injury claim, economic, non-economic, and punitive. While economic and non-economic damages compensate for different things they both fall under the umbrella of “compensatory damages” which means their main purpose is to compensate the injured party for a specific loss.

How is Pain and suffering determined?

Economic damages, as the name suggests, compensates for financial losses the injured party suffers such as missed days from work and medical expenses while non-economic damages compensate for more abstract losses such as emotional distress and pain and suffering.

The term, “pain and suffering” refers to injuries that a plaintiff can suffer from a car accident. These are the damages that result from emotional and mental anguish, rather than the physical pain typically associated with an accident. Emotional and mental injuries can include:

  • Fear
  • Insomnia
  • Grief
  • Stress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

The insurance company does not have a specific method of calculating pain and suffering. In many cases, the actual damages will be multiplied by a number between 1 and 5 that is correlated to the severity of the injury. In other cases, the per diem approach will be taken. In this method, a specific monetary amount will be assigned to each day starting at the day of accident and ending at the day that the maximum recovery was reached.

Punitive and Compensatory Damages

Punitive damages differ from compensatory damages, their main purpose is to punish the negligent party for their behavior. As such punitive damages are not often awarded.

At Shevlin Smith, our Fairfax car accident lawyers can help you seek the following:

  • Medical damages. It is important to your overall recovery that you work with doctors, physical therapists, and psychologists. Accordingly, you should be entitled to collect for these expenses, such as hospital bills, surgeries, doctor’s visits, physical therapy, counseling, and other treatments or rehabilitation.
  • Lost income. In the event your car accident injury renders you unable to work or perform the same type of work as you did before the accident, you should be entitled to recover for your lost earnings. This includes loss of future earnings.
  • Pain and suffering. Many physical injuries can cause severe pain, agony, and emotional trauma. The more severe the injury, the more damages a victim can collect. These damages are based on the seriousness of the injury and pain suffered as well as future pain and suffering.
  • Out-of-pocket costs. When a car accident causes out-of-pocket expenses, such as fees for an ambulance ride, in-home services, or other expenses related to the accident and your injury, you deserve to be reimbursed for those costs.

Depending on the seriousness of your injury, you may be able to recover compensation for the past, present, and future damages listed above.

What is a Fair Settlement for a Car Accident Claim?

As you enter the claims process to pursue a fair settlement for a car accident, you should be aware of what constitutes a “fair settlement.” In order to obtain the compensation you well deserve, it is essential that you work with a knowledgeable attorney who knows the ins and outs of these cases.

There is no average or specific amount of compensation that you can or should recover from a car accident. It depends instead on the injuries you sustained and the amount of damage that your car suffered. Our Fairfax car accident lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company to pursue the best possible outcome to your case.

Dealing with the Virginia Auto Insurance Company

In most motor vehicle accidents, a dispute regarding who is at fault will surface. The not-at-fault party may wrongly assume that they do not need representation from an accident attorney, though this is a misconception since a battle with the insurance company will demand legal representation.

When it comes to handling the insurance company, assistance from a competent and knowledgeable auto accident attorney who understands the claims process will be immensely helpful. The insurance company will be quick to process your claim and attempt to minimize your payout. An attorney from our firm can ensure that the insurance company does not attempt to rush the process, however.

Additionally, our auto accident attorneys can help you work with and speak to the insurance company or companies dealing with your claim. The claim negotiator will likely try to act as if they are on your side, but in reality they are attempting to decrease your payout. For this reason, it is critical that you work with an experienced car accident lawyer rather than trying to handle the insurance company on your own.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Fairfax VA

To learn more about pursuing a car accident injury lawsuit in order to obtain a fair and just financial recovery, don’t hesitate to contact our offices. Our Fairfax car accident attorneys serve all of Virginia and Washington, D.C. and can offer a free consultation to answer your questions and explain how we can work to protect your legal right to fair compensation. We have a proven track record of successful settlements and jury verdicts; find out how our firm can help you fight for the justice and recovery you are owed.

Call (703) 721-4233 today to schedule your free car accident case review with our car accident attorneys in Fairfax VA.

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