Overview of Personal Injury Claims in Virginia
If you were injured in some type of incident where the other party was at fault, you have what is known as a personal injury claim. Personal injury claims can be triggered by events like:
- Car accident
- Pedestrian accident
- Premises liability
- Slip and fall
- Dog bite
- Wrongful death
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability
It’s important to retain a skilled Virginia personal injury attorney to protect your rights and have someone on your side who will fight for you to get the compensation you deserve. If the other party was at fault, you are entitled to recover for damages like medical expenses and repair costs to your vehicle. Here’s what else you need to know about personal injury claims in Virginia.
Statute of Limitations
You have two years from the date of the incident to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the person who caused the loss. This is known as the statute of limitations. If you do not protect the statute by filing a lawsuit in time, the other side has no legal obligation to continue negotiations.
Contributory Negligence in Virginia
Virginia is one of only a few states left that follows the archaic theory of contributory negligence. This means that if you contributed to the accident in any way, even 1%, you are barred from recovery. Other states follow a more liberal theory of negligence called comparative negligence. For example, if you are found to be 10% at fault for an accident in Virginia, you would recover nothing towards your medical bills and physical damages. If you were found to be 10% at fault in a comparative negligence state, you would be entitled to recover up to 90% of your damages. This is why retaining a skilled Virginia attorney is so important.
Types of Damages Recoverable
In a personal injury lawsuit, there are potentially several types of damages you are entitled to recover for based on individual circumstances of the accident. The first type of damages is called compensatory. These include economic damages like medical bills, repair or replacement of your vehicle, and rental car expenses; and non-economic damages like pain and suffering. In addition, there is something called punitive damages that may be available in select cases. Punitive damages are designed to “punish” the at-fault party, and their behavior has to have been so egregious that it demonstrated malice or a willful disregard for other people’s lives, safety, and rights. These are very rarely awarded, but they are available in extreme cases.
Wrongful Death Claims
Virginia law allows for wrongful death claims where certain beneficiaries are entitled to file a lawsuit for damage. These damages can include mental anguish, compensation for future loss of earnings from the decedent, funeral expenses, etc. The law is very specific on who can file a wrongful death lawsuit, and in what order. For example, the spouse is first in line. If there is no spouse, it moves to the next listed category of beneficiary who is eligible.
Retaining a Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one was injured, or killed, in a personal injury matter, contact Cravens & Noll PC at 804-330-9220 to speak to one of our skilled attorneys. We have five offices conveniently located in Western and Central Virginia to assist you.
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