Car accidents happen all too frequently in Virginia, and they can leave victims with severe injuries, medical bills, lost income, and emotional trauma.
If another driver caused a car accident that injured you or someone you love, you likely have options for obtaining compensation, but the last thing you need to worry about is dealing with insurance companies and pursuing damages from those responsible for your injuries and losses.
There are various types of car accidents you can get into, and having a skilled and compassionate Virginia car accident attorney in your corner can make all the difference in pursuing compensation.
Contact an experienced Fairfax car accident lawyer in your area for a free consultation about your claim and guidance and support throughout the claims process.
Below, we cover the various types of car accidents in Virginia and offer suggestions on how you can increase your chances of getting the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Types of Virginia Car Accidents
Car accidents can occur in various forms, and their causes and consequences can vary widely.
Here are some common types of car accidents in Virginia:
- Rear-End Collisions: These occur when one vehicle strikes the rear of the vehicle in front of it. They often happen due to tailgating, distracted driving, or sudden stops by the leading vehicle.
- Head-On Collisions: In head-on collisions, two vehicles collide front-to-front, typically at high speeds. They are among the most severe and often result in serious injuries or fatalities.
- Side-impact (T-bone) Collisions: These occur when the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another, often at intersections. T-bone accidents can lead to serious injuries, especially if the impact is on the driver or passenger side.
- Multi-Vehicle Pileups: Multi-vehicle accidents involve three or more vehicles and often occur on highways, particularly in adverse weather conditions. These accidents can lead to a chain reaction of collisions.
- Side-Swipe Accidents: In side-swipe accidents, two vehicles traveling parallel to each other collide, often because one vehicle changes lanes without checking blind spots. Merge accidents are similar and can occur when vehicles are trying to merge onto a highway.
- Rollover Accidents: Rollover accidents involve a vehicle rolling over onto its roof or side. They are more common in taller vehicles like SUVs and can result from factors like sharp turns or collisions.
- Hit and Run Accidents: In hit and run accidents, a driver involved in a collision leaves the scene without stopping to exchange information or report the accident. This is illegal in most jurisdictions.
- Intersection Accidents: Accidents at intersections can take various forms, such as failing to yield, running red lights or stop signs, or making improper turns.
- Parking Lot Accidents: Accidents that occur in parking lots can involve collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians. They often result from issues like distracted driving or limited visibility.
- Drowsy Driving Accidents: Fatigued or drowsy drivers can cause accidents due to impaired reaction times and decreased alertness. These accidents often result from falling asleep at the wheel.
- Drunk Driving Accidents: Accidents caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs can lead to serious injuries or fatalities. Driving under the influence is illegal in most jurisdictions.
- Weather-Related Accidents: Adverse weather, such as rain, snow, ice, or fog, can contribute to accidents by reducing visibility and road traction.
Understanding the type of car accident you’ve been involved in is crucial for assessing liability, determining the cause, and pursuing appropriate legal action or insurance claims.
The circumstances surrounding the accident will often dictate the steps you should take and the potential for seeking compensation or holding the at-fault party accountable.
Virginia Car Accident Statistics
In Virginia, a car accident occurs about every four minutes on average. Around two individuals lose their lives each day in Virginia car accidents, and around 178 suffer injuries.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has published the following car accident statistics for the Commonwealth in one recent year:
- 122,434 total vehicle accidents occurred
- Of those, 59,404 reported injuries, and 1,005 reported fatalities
- Alcohol impairment was responsible for 6,910 vehicle crashes in 2022, with 4,174 injuries and 274 fatalities
- Speeding was a factor in nearly 25,000 Virginia car accidents in 2022, with more than 13,000 injuries and 441 fatalities
Fairfax County reports the highest number of car accidents in the state, with 11,571 crashes. Other counties that report high numbers of car accidents include Prince William (6,025), Henrico (5,421), and Loudoun (4,604).
What Compensation Can I Get From a Car Accident Injury Claim?
There are two main types of compensation that you can get from a car accident injury claim:
Economic damages: You can easily quantify these damages in monetary terms:
- Medical expenses: This includes the cost of all medical care that you have received or will need to receive in the future as a result of your injuries, such as hospital bills, doctor’s fees, prescription drugs, physical therapy, and surgery.
- Lost income: If you had to miss work due to your injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for your lost wages. This includes both your lost earnings and any benefits that you may have lost, such as paid time off or commissions.
- Property damage: If the accident damaged or destroyed your car, you may be able to recover compensation for the cost of repairs or replacement.
- Other out-of-pocket expenses: This may include any other expenses that you have incurred as a result of your injuries, such as travel expenses to and from doctor’s appointments, childcare expenses, or the cost of modifying your home to accommodate your injuries.
Non-economic damages: These damages don’t have an assigned dollar amount and require an experienced car accident lawyer to quantify.
- Pain and suffering: This is compensation for the physical and emotional pain and suffering that you have experienced as a result of your injuries.
- Emotional distress: This is compensation for the mental and emotional anguish that you have experienced as a result of the accident.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: This is compensation for the ways in which your injuries have limited your ability to enjoy life.
- Loss of consortium (for married couples): This is compensation for the loss of companionship and intimacy that your spouse has experienced as a result of your injuries.
In some cases, the at-fault driver may need to pay punitive damages to punish particularly egregious behavior and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
The compensation you may recover will depend on the severity of your injuries, the extent of your losses, and the laws of the state in which you live. Speak with an experienced car accident attorney to discuss your injury case and determine what compensation you may be entitled to.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident in Virginia?
If you are in a car accident in Virginia:
- Check for injuries. The most important thing is to make sure that everyone involved in the accident is safe. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately.
- Exchange information with the other driver. This includes their name, address, phone number, insurance information, and license plate number. It is also important to get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
- Move your car to a safe location if possible. This will help to prevent further accidents and injuries.
- Call the police. The police will come to the scene of the accident and file a report. This report will be important if you need to file an insurance claim or lawsuit.
- Take pictures and videos of the accident scene. This will help to document the damage to your car and the surrounding area.
- Seek medical attention. Even if you don’t think you are injured, it is important to see a doctor to be checked out. Some injuries, such as whiplash, may not be immediately apparent.
- File an insurance claim. Once you have been seen by a doctor, you should file an insurance claim with your own insurance company. They will investigate the accident and determine who is at fault. If you are found to be not at fault, your insurance company will pay for your medical expenses and property damage.
Some additional tips to keep in mind following a car accident in Virginia:
- Do not admit fault. Even if you are unsure of who is at fault, it is important to avoid admitting fault to the other driver or their insurance company. This could damage your case and make it more difficult to recover compensation.
- Be careful what you say to the other driver’s insurance company. The other driver’s insurance company may try to get you to say something that could hurt your case. It is important to be careful what you say and to refer any questions to your attorney.
- Keep a record of all of your expenses. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and any other expenses that you have incurred as a result of the accident.
- Be patient. It can take time to resolve a personal injury claim. It is important to be patient and to stay in communication with your attorney.
Contact an experienced Virginia car accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash someone else caused. They can advise you on how to best handle the situation so that you don’t inadvertently do or say something that may jeopardize your chances of getting compensation. A lawyer can also evaluate your claim and support and guide you through the process of pursuing compensation.
Will I Have to Take My Car Accident Injury Claim to Court?
Whether or not you will have to take your car accident injury claim to court depends on:
- The severity of your injuries
- The extent of your losses
- The willingness of the other driver’s insurance company to negotiate a fair settlement
In most cases, car accident claims are resolved through settlement negotiations between the victim and the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the insurance company refuses a fair settlement, the victim may have to sue.
Even if you do file a lawsuit, there is still a chance that the case will be settled before it goes to trial. However, if the case does go to trial, you will have to present your case to a judge or jury and convince them that you deserve compensation.
Here are some factors that may increase your chances of having to go to court:
- The other driver’s insurance company denies liability.
- The other driver’s insurance company offers a low settlement offer.
- You have serious injuries or significant losses.
- You have difficulty communicating with the other driver’s insurance company.
- You have a complicated case.
If you are considering filing a car accident injury claim, speak with an experienced car accident attorney. They can assess your case and determine the best course of action.
The most important aspect of taking a case to court is preparation, and an attorney can gather all of your evidence and develop a strong case.
Going to court can be a stressful experience, but a car accident lawyer can protect your rights and get the compensation that you deserve.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Virginia?
In Virginia, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident. If you miss the statute of limitations deadline, you cannot file a lawsuit. This means that you will not recover any compensation for your injuries. Therefore, contact an attorney right away to learn of your options and start the process.
There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations. For example, if you were a minor at the time of the accident, you have two years from the date of your 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. Additionally, if you were incapacitated at the time of the accident, you have two years from the date you regained capacity to file a lawsuit.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Virginia Car Accident Attorney?
Most car accident attorneys in Virginia work on a contingency fee basis. This means that the attorney does not charge you upfront for their services. Instead, the attorney takes a percentage of your settlement or verdict if they get you compensation. If your attorney cannot recover compensation on your behalf, you shouldn’t pay any costs associated with your case.
Discuss the contingency fee arrangement with your attorney before signing a contract. They should explain how they handle the process and what percentage of your award they will take so you know what to expect.
Right Path Law Group PLLC Can Help with Your Virginia Car Accident Claim
Despite your best efforts and staying safe on the roads, a negligent motorist caused a car accident that injured you or a loved one. Now, you are dealing with the pain and inconvenience of your injury along with the financial costs of treatment and lost income you incurred due to missing work.
You shouldn’t bear the costs of your injuries alone, and you have rights and options for getting the money you need.
Reach out to the experienced Fairfax personal injury attorneys at Right Path Law Group PLLC for a free consultation about your claim. We have more than 15 years of experience handling car accident claims in Fairfax County, Prince William County, and all of Northern Virginia. We offer personalized representation and compassionate but assertive counsel to help you obtain the maximum financial recovery you deserve.