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Frequently Asked Questions

Hurt by a negligent driver? Frustrated with an insurance company adjuster who seems to be giving you the run-around? Wondering if you'll be fairly compensated for your injuries? Virginia motorists hurt in car, truck, bicycle and motorcycle crashes often have many concerns and questions. Charlottesville based attorney Vaden Warren addresses relevant auto accident and injury topics in these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
  • What are medical releases? Why has the insurance company asked me to sign one?
    In many Charlottesville, Virginia Personal Injury Cases, insurance companies may ask victims to sign a medical release. Medical releases allow the insurance company access to all of your health care records. When you sign one for the insurance company, you have essentially agreed to allow them to request any medical history, even history not related to the accident. If you are handling your own claim, without the assistance of an attorney, it may be a good idea to gather your own medical records and bills and provide them directly to the insurance company rather than allowing them access to your personal information. Once you have signed the release, you are not able to regulate what they receive from your doctor's office. An attorney would screen the records before passing them onto the insurance company and would provide only the relevant information. There may be a chance, however small, that the insurance company will view something in your medical records that will cause them to deny your claim. Doctors are not always accurate in what they report and sometimes they make mistakes in the medical records, so it is important to filter the records whenever possible, particularly if you have a history of medical issues. In the case of hiring an attorney, you will have to sign medical authorizations for the attorney to obtain copies of medical bills and records and to discuss your case and treatment with your doctor, however, your attorney is working for you and an insurance company is working for themselves.
  • What is a Motion in Limine and how does it affect my Charlottesville, Virginia Personal Injury Case?
    A Motion in Limine is used in trial cases as a means for preliminary rulings heard by the trial judge before trial begins concerning the competency of witnesses, existence of privileges or the admissibility of evidence. These are issues in a case which need to be addressed before the actual trial begins. Motions in Limine can be made by either party, the Plaintiff or Defendant, and typically are used to narrow down the scope of evidence before trial and before evidence is presented to a jury. For example, if there is an issue which does not relate to the cause of the accident but has come up in discovery, this may be a cause to file a Motion in Limine. If this issue would only undermine the case but is not admissible evidence, then it would be best to issue a Motion in Limine. More specifically, if a Plaintiff has filed a complaint due to an automobile accident and the Plaintiff was injured due to no fault of his own, but he was intoxicated at the time of the accident, it is possible to use a Motion in Limine to eliminate any evidence being presented to the jury that the Plaintiff was intoxicated because it is not relevant to the case. Motions in Limine can be very useful if applied appropriately and can even make a significant difference in how a jury views a Virginia Personal Injury Case, which in turn could mean a better verdict for the Plaintiff.
  • I have not finished treating but I want to settle my Charlottesville, Virginia Personal Injury Case. What does this mean for me?
    Keep in mind that once you are ready to settle your case, the insurance company is not going to pay for "future" treatment. They are paying in full for your case and will not make any additional payments to you after it is settled. Many people are confused when the insurance company tells them that they will pay for the bills. However, they do not mean they will pay for all bills for the rest of your life if you continue to exhibit problems; they will only pay for the treatment you have already had at the time of settlement. If you are still having problems and are continuing to see a doctor, it is in your best interest to wait until after you finished treating before you decide to discuss settlement. While your doctor may recommend surgery, it does not mean anything until after you have the surgery. The insurance company will not be willing to pay for treatment that you may end up not having at all.
  • What is a retainer agreement and how does it relate to my Charlottesville, Virginia personal injury case?
    Virginia law firms create contracts prior to the business partnership with the client. These contracts are called retainer agreements. This document will contain all information regarding attorney fees, costs, and any additional information as per the attorney and client agreement. Most of the time, these are standard contracts. Many personal injury fees have a standard agreement of 33.33% or 40% retainer fees on their cases with the law firm "fronting" all costs. This means that the law firm will pay all costs (i.e.filing fees, service fees, investigation fees, etc.) in the case and then will be reimbursed by the settlement or verdict. It is important to read any contract carefully and ask questions if you do not understand something. While many firms will not collect attorney fees on a case if it is not successful, the client is still responsible for the costs spent in the case.
  • I think I had salmonella poisoning with serious injuries. Can I pursue the make of the product?

    If you believe you have contracted a food borne illness first check website for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. The most common types of food contaminations come from E-coli and salmonella. Often, the contaminated food affects many people; as the products are distributed there is an “outbreak”. The CDC responds to the outbreak and determines what food those exhibiting symptoms all have ingested. They are often able to determine exactly what product caused the illness and pull the products from store shelves and restaurant kitchens. In E-coli cases, the particular strand that causes illness can be linked to a particular product. E-coli can cause the kidneys to shut down. If caught in time, a recovery is possible, but may call for the affected person to have dialysis until the kidneys can recovery.

    Over the past year, The Warren Firm has helped a firm in Texas with approvals of settlements involving food poisoning or food borne illnesses. The two cases that we assisted with involve children. Fortunately, both children recovered from their illnesses. They were also able to make a significant recovery for their damages from the company that distributed the tainted product. While the Warren Firm assisted in these cases, the firm we worked with from Texas was very well versed in handling these cases. We would be glad to discuss with you your options if you have contracted a food borne illness.

  • What is Hearsay and How Does It Affect My Trial?

    As it applies in a Virginia trial, hearsay is evidence in court that is a statement made out of court being offered for the truth of the matter asserted. The statement rests upon the credibility of the person who made the out-of-court statement.

    Hearsay evidence is not admissible because there is no way for the opposing party to cross-examine the person who made the statement out of court. Cross-examination is one of the most important tenants of receiving a fair trial.

    The rule barring hearsay includes oral statements, written statements and even nonverbal conduct or communication. An example of non-verbal conduct from an actual Virginia Supreme Court case is the police asking a defendant's wife to bring them the shirt he was wearing when he came home. If the wife brought a shirt in but said nothing, her act is inadmissible because it is like a declaration that the defendant was wearing that particular shirt.

    In addition to it having to be a statement, it also must be offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. A statement offered for any purpose other than to prove the truth of the matter asserted is not hearsay.

    For example, the statement of a witness to a police officer would be admissible to explain why the police officer arrested the defendant without a warrant. The statement is not being used for the truth of the case but more to explain why the police officer acted in a certain way.

  • I was infected with fungal meningitis from a steroid injection. What should I do?
    If you live in the state of Virginia and have been infected with fungal meningitis from a steroid injection we may be able to help you. Investigators have been able to link three batches of the shots made by New England Compounding Company of Framingham, MA to the outbreak, including evidence that the medicine may have been tainted with fungus. 14,000 people are believed to have received this drug. Federal officials believe that the contaminated medication has killed 19 people and infected 247 others. Of these cases, 2 deaths and 41 illnesses occurred in Virginia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. According to the Associated Press, similar state and federal suits have been filed in New Jersey, Minnesota and Tennessee. If you, or someone you know, has been infected with fungal meningitis from a steroid injection call us at 434-688-0899 or email us at vwarren@warren-law.com to discuss your legal options.
  • Can my attorney find out the full amount of the Insurance Policy of the Defendant?
    Yes! In the state of Virginia, your attorney can find out the limits of the Defendant's insurance policy. This is done in writing by having the Plaintiff supply the date of the accident, the name and last known address of the Defendant, a copy of the accident report, and the claim number, if available, to the Defendant's insurance company. You also need to submit to the insurance company your medical records, medical bills, and relevant wage-loss documentation. If those items total or exceed $12,500, the Defendant has 30 days to respond in writing and disclose the limits of liability of their policy. Just remember, this is not a conviction.
  • What is the Statute of Limitations in Virginia?

    A statue of limitations is the time limit that is set by Virginia Code (the statute) in which a lawsuit must be filed. This is probably the most important deadline in a personal injury case, or any other type of case, because after this time limit has passed, nothing can be done and the claim is null and void.

    Generally, a personal injury case must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. To learn more about the Statute of Limitations in Virginia, click here.

  • Can I Receive Copies of the Records Subpoenaed in My Virginia Personal Injury Case?
    Yes, when your records have been subpoenaed in an Albemarle personal injury case you can get copies! All records submitted in your Virginia personal injury case or car crash are available for you to receive copies, including medical records. Typically, your attorney will take care of this for you.
  • What are "Costs" in my Virginia Car Accident Case and Are They Different From Attorneys Fees?
    Costs are not the same as attorney's fees. While each attorney or law firm may have different details involved in their contract, there are usually two distinctions: attorney fees and costs. Attorney fees and costs are not the same thing. Attorney fees will come out of the total amount recovered for you before any costs or other payments. Most personal injury law firms will work on your case based on a contigency fee, in which they will recieve 1/3 (or some other amount) of the settlement or verdict as the attorney fee. They may also agree that if they are not able to make a recovery for you, then you will not be responsible for any attorney fees. However, the Virginia State Bar requires that clients be responsible for the costs in their case regardless whether the outcome is successful or not.

    Costs are items that the law firm has advanced for your case. These include paying for copies of medical records, x-ray films, phone conferences or in-person meetings with your treating physicians, and if your case is in litigation, filing fees, service fees, court reporter costs and depositions of witnesses and experts who are hired to testify in your case. There are other items that may be necessary for the law firm to pay for in order to prepare your case for trial. Costs can range anywhere from $100 -$200 in a case where no lawsuit is filed, to tens of thousand dollars for cases that must be brought before a jury. You also want to understand if the firm charges interest on the costs advanced in your case.

    While it is important to consider what costs are being spent, you do not want to harm your case because your attorney did not spend the necessary money to adequately prepare your case for trial. It is important to take all necessary measures to ensure your case the greatest chance of success.

    Ultimately a cost is simply a loan on your case. Your attorney is loaning you the necessary means to fund the case. At the end of the case, you are responsible for the funds that were advanced.
  • What is the trial procedure of my Virginia personal injury case?
    All trials are conducted in basically the same manner. They involve the following steps:

    1. Selecting a Jury: in a jury case, the first step is to question prospective jurors to determine whether they can be fair and impartial.

    2. Opening statement: after jury selection, each attorney has the opportunity to tell the jury what the case is about and what proof will be presented.

    3. Presenting witnesses: the plaintiff's attorney calls witnesses first and presents the plaintiff's case though witnesses and exhibits. The defendant's attorney is given the right to question these witnesses when the plaintiff's attorney has finished asking them questions. When the plaintiff has finished presenting witnesses, the defendant's attorney is given the opportunity to call the defendant's witnesses, and the plaintiff's attorney has the right to question the defendant's witnesses.

    4. Argument: after the testimony is complete, the plaintiff's attorney may argue on behalf of ht plaintiff. The defendant's attorney is then given the right to argue, and the plaintiff's attorney is given a final chance to argue the plaintiff's case.

    5. Instructions: after all the testimony has been presented, the judge will instruct the jury as to the law firm. The jury then goes to the jury room and decides which party should win and the amount of money, if any, to be rewarded.
  • What does subrogation mean in my Virginia car accident case?

    Subrogation is the manner in which an insurance company tries to recuperate money that it has paid out. Subrogation can take two different forms in your personal injury case in Virginia. One is related to your health insurance, the other is related to your uninsured or uninsured motorist coverage.

    Health Insurance

    If your health insurance pays for your medical bills from a car accident and then you recover money from the liability insurance company (the auto insurance company for the person that caused the wreck) then your health insurance company may be entitled to "subrogate" the money they paid for your bills from the money you receive from the auto insurance company.

    Virginia has an "anti-subrogation" law, meaning that if your health insurance policy is written under Virginia law, the health insurance company cannot recover any of your personal injury proceeds.

    If you health insurance policy is written under federal law, specifically the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) then the health insurance company has a right to "subrogate" the money they paid out from your personal injury proceeds. Under ERISA the health insurance company is entitled to their money before you ever get anything.

    Uninsured or Underinsured Automobile Insurance

    Subrogation in this context comes when your insurance company has to pay you for your injuries because the person that caused the accident did not have any or enough car insurance to pay you for your injuries. When you buy an automobile policy in Virginia you are also buying uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. If your company has to pay you any compensation for your injuries, they can try to "subrogate" or collect money personally from the person that caused the collision.

    There are other forms of subrogation but these are the main two that you may come into contact with a Virginia personal injury case.

  • I was hurt in a Virginia car accident, but the defense might have cause to believe I was contributorily negligent. Can they prove that?
    If a defendant says that you're contributorily negligent as his defense, then the burden of proof falls upon him to demonstrate exactly how you, as the plaintiff, were also instrumental in the accident, and that your negligence was either a direct or close cause of your sustained injuries.
  • How many people are on a Virginia personal injury case jury?
    Personal injury cases fall under civil action, which have different rules for jury panels. Usually, 7 people are chosen from a group of 13, unless a special jury has been allowed, in which case 12 are selected from 20 people.

    It is possible that more jurors can be called when a trial is likely to be protracted, as deemed by the discretion of the court. If the court believes that more jurors needs to be called, these jurors will be selected in the same way that the initial jurors were and be required to have the same qualifications.
  • How is an unbiased jury chosen for my Virginia personal injury case?
    The process of choosing a jury is called voir dire examination. The court and the attorneys for either side can question the pool of jurors chosen about anything they deem relevant to the case to ensure that each juror doesn't have a connection to, interest in, or bias towards the matter at hand. Evidence can be used to support the claim that a juror should not be allowed to serve. Jurors who know information about the case that could make them unbiased are required to reveal what they know even if they are not directly asked. Lastly, people can also be exempt from serving as jurors if their spouses have been called to serve on the same jury panel.
  • What evidence can I present at my Virginia personal injury trial?
    You can provide all "relevant evidence" to support your claim. Relevant evidence is defined as any information that can be used to prove or disprove a statement presented to the court. This information must also be indispensable; if a statement can be proven without that evidence, then it is deemed irrelevant and is inadmissible. As long as it passes these requirements, any evidence can be admitted in trial (excluding police accident reports).
  • In my Virginia personal injury case, can anything I discuss with my attorney be used against me in court?
    No. The relationship between you, as a client, and your lawyer is called "attorney-client privilege" and provides that anything you discussed with regards to the case cannot be disclosed. This is to ensure that you feel comfortable and secure talking to your attorney.

    This rule extends to any of the attorney's agents. In cases where there are multiple defendants, the rule still applies and cannot be broken without the consent of all defendants. It is also still in effect even when you attend a conference without your attorney present.

    You, as the client, not the attorney, have the right to waive, or deny, this privilege. It may be done by directly waiving the right or by someone inferring a waiver because of your actions.

  • In a Virginia car wreck case, what is ordinary care?
    It means to take precautions, judging the situation as a reasonable person would have and reacting as a reasonable person would have under the circumstances. It is a very relative term and it is often up to the jury or judge to decide what constitutes as "ordinary care" and whether the defendant acted with ordinary care or not.
  • I was injured in a Virginia car accident. Shortly afterwards, someone contacted me and directed me to hire a certain law firm. What should I do?
    If you've been in a car accident and a law firm representative shows up to the hospital or your home unsolicited, you should not talk with them. They are most likely a runner for an unethical law firm. Runners receive accident reports in improper ways and go to visit the victims to try and convince them to hire a certain law firm. They are paid by that firm for the cases that they bring in. The Virginia State Bar does not allow this type of conduct.
  • What is "contributory negligence"?
    "Contributory negligence" means that the injured person did not act as a reasonable person should in that situation. As a result, he is partially responsible for what happened to him, so all the fault cannot be placed on the defendant.

    For example, a cyclist may try to claim damages from a collision, but if the crash occurred at night when the cyclist was not wearing bright clothes or a using a light, then he can be considered as a contributor to what happened to him and would not receive damages.
  • What is "assumption of the risk"?
    If person X is harmed by person Y, X can sue Y for damages. However, if X was aware the Y's actions would put X's safety at risk and X voluntarily exposed himself to that situation anyway, then X cannot claim damages from Y.

    For example, if you know that you're friend is drunk and you get into a car with him anyway, then you cannot sue you friend for the injuries that drunk-driving crash might cause you.

  • After my Virginia premises accident (slip and fall), the owner of the property fixed the dangerous condition that caused my injury. Doesn't that prove that they were negligent?
    No. Fixing the dangerous condition is not allowed to be used as evidence to prove that the landowner did something wrong. It is called a "subsequent remedial measure". The reasoning behind this public policy rule to exclude this from evidence is that if it were admissible, it would discourage the landowner from making improvements which could keep others from being hurt in the future.

    The rule excluding subsequent remedial measures can be a big issue in a Virginia premises liability, also known as a slip and fall case. If the jury hears that the defendant fixed the problem then it is possible that it is more likely that the jury would find in favor of the injured party.

    However, the subsequent measure is not excluded when offered for another purpose for which it may be admissible in certain circumstances, such as when trying to prove who owned or controlled the property.
  • I was hurt in a Virginia car accident. The driver of the other car caused the collision and was working at the time of the collision. Is his employer responsible to compensate me for my injuries?
    The quick answer is yes, the employer of that caused the collision is reponsible for its employees and must compensate you for your injuries so long as the driver/employee was within the scope of his employment.

    For example if the employee was driving from one work site to the next as part of his job, he is most likely in the scope of his employment. If on the other hand the employee is skips out of work to drive to a movie, then he probably is not within the scope of his employment.
  • What is "maximum medical improvement" and why does it affect my Virginia personal injury case?
    Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is the pint in your medical treatment when you doctor determines that there is nothing further they can do to imporove your condition and that it is likley a permanent condition. The treating physician may recommend that you begin treating with a pain management doctor to help manage the chronic condition.

    MMI is important in your Virginia personal injury case because most times you will want to wait to resolve your case until your injuries have resolved or until you have reached MMI.
  • In a Virginia personal injury case, what does "liability" mean?
    Liability essentially means who was at fault for the accident.

    To be successful in a personal injury claim in Virginia you must prove that the person who caused the accident was negligent. Negligence is the failure to use ordinary care.

    In a car accident case, it means who caused the crash. Sometimes there is "good" liability and sometimes lliability is "tough". The best way to understand this is by examples:

    Example 1: A person is injured while stopped at a stop sign because he is hit in the rear by a person who is texting while driving their car.

    In this example the liability is almost absolutely clear. The person sitting at the stop sign could not have done anything to cause the collision, she was simply stopped at a stop sign. The other driver was driving while distracted and was the cause of the collision.

    Example 2: You are drive through an intersection that is controlled by a traffic light. You and another car collide in the intersection. The other car was coming from you right. You say you had the green light and the other driver says they had a green light. There are no witnesses.

    Liability in this instance is tougher because it is simply your word against the other persons word. While the jury can still believe you version there is no independant evidence to support either side. The jury woudl simply ahve to determine which person they believe.

    The other consideration in Virginia when determining liability is contributory negligence. Essentially this mean that even though the other party was negligent in causing the collision, if you were also negligent and that negligence was also a cause of the accident, then you cannot recover for your injuries.
  • In a Virginia personal injury case, what does "coverage" mean?
    Coverage means is there insurance and if so how much insurance is available.

    In Virginia the minimum car insurance coverage someone can carry is $25,000. That is the minimum you can carry if you have insurance. You are allowed to pay a fee to the Commonwealth of Virginia and carry no insurance.

    Coverage is import to understand in personal injury cases because it will often limit the ammount of recovery to the injured party. Lets say there is $25,000 worth of insurance and the jury awards you $75,000 for your injuries. The insrurance company will pay you the $25,000 and the person that caused the collision will owe you $50,000. The reality is that most people do not have $50,000 sitting around to pay you. If you try to collect the money from the individual they will likely file for bankruptcy and the debt may be discharges.

    This is why it is so important for you to have ample uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
  • What is my Virginia personal injury case worth?
    Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to put a value on your Virginia personal injury case, whether it be a Virginia car accident or a premises liability case.

    Ultimately, the value of a case is what a jury will compensate you when the case is tried. Since each jury varies because it is simply 7 people from the community, it is hard to say what a specific jury will do.

    We do know that there are many factors to determine the value of a Virginia personal injury case. Five of the most important factors are:
    • Liability
    • Damages
    • Venue
    • Plaintiff
    • Attorney

    For a full discussion of these factors read:

    Five Factors that Affect the Value of a Virginia Car Accident Injury Case

  • In a Virginia car accident case, what is the difference between mediation and arbitration?
    Mediation and arbitration have some similarities and some differences. In both cases, the parties agree to an alternative to trying their case (mediation and arbitration are frequently referred to as alternative dsipute resolution or ADR). If the case is a Virginia persoanl injury case such as a car accident case, then the insurance company representing the defendant will also need to agree to the mediation or arbitration.

    Mediation

    Mediation is a process where the two parties agree to have a third party come in and help them try to settle the case. Usually a retired judge or an experienced attorney is hired. The parties usually meet in one room and each discusses their position of the case with the other side. The two parties then go into separate rooms and the mediator meets individually with each party, the injured party and then the insurance company and thier attorney. The mediator helps point out the risk that each party has if the case goes before a jury and pushes both sides to come to an agreement on settlement. The process is not binding on either party and each party can leave at any point.

    Arbitration

    There are two major types of arbitration, binding and nonbinding. In both types the parties hire an arbitrator that they can both agree on. The arbitrator is usually a retired judge or an attorney with signficant experience in the subject matter of the pending case. Both sides have and opportunity to submit documents and make arguemetns that support their position on the injuries or the liability of the case. The arbitrator makes a decision on the value of the case. If the arbitration was binding, then the parties have agreed to settle for that amount. If it was not binding, then the parties are not bound by that decision.
  • What are the odds that I will win my case if I decide to decline a settlement offer and take my case to court?
    Even as an experienced Charlottesville personal injury attorney, it is impossible for me to estimate the odds of winning in court without knowing the specifics of your Virginia injury case. As an injury attorney who devotes personal attention to each and ever case that I take, I will be able to discuss your options with you as I get more familiar with your individual case. As I've mentioned before, your case isn only worth what a jury will award you at trial, and each jury is made up of individuals with biases that are impossible to judge before the trial actually takes place. Also, as more and more cases are being publicized as "frivolous lawsuits," jurors are becoming more skeptical and cynical about the civil process. For example, Linsday Lohan recently sued to makers of an etrade commercial for using the name "Lindsay" in their commercial. While these cases are certainly the exception and not the rule, they make the news, which in turn, affects public opinion.
  • Am I required by law to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle in Virginia?

    Virginia motorcycle laws are organized under two separate categories, “road” and “off-road.” Under Virginia law, helmet use is required at all times whether on Commonwealth maintained roadways or off the beaten path. For more information concerning motorcycle use laws in Virginia and across the country, visit the American Motorcycle Association’s website.

    Interestingly, a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2006 showed that states with laws requiring helmet use of all motorcyclists saw fewer fatal motorcycle accidents than those states that did not have helmet laws. The NHTSA also reported that helmet use is responsible for a 29% decrease in the risk of death while operating a motorcycle and that helmet use is 67% effective at preventing brain injury to riders. It is estimated that if all motorists had worn helmets in the year of the study, 640 lives could have been saved.

    The best way for Virginia motorcyclists to avoid serious head injuries is to wear a helmet.

  • What are compensatory and punitive damages?
    As the term implies, compensatory damages include actual losses for which you are entitled to receive compensation. These losses can readily be proven and include two types: unliquidated damages and liquidated damages. Unliquidated damages in Virginia neglicence cases involve pain and mental anguish, the injury and its affect on your health, invonvenience, and scarring while liquidated damages include: medical bills, lost wages, and property damage for which there is a measurable dollar amount.

    Punitive damages, also know as exemplary damages, are damages inteded to send a message or reform future behavior. Punitive damages are based on the idea that the defendant will be less likey to repeat a behavior if they are required to pay for it. They are also intended to send a message to the community as a whole that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. Although compensation for punitive damages does go directly to the plaintiff, the purpose of these types of damages rests on the shoulders of the defendant. Because punitive damages usually compensate the plaintiff in excess of their provable losses, they are typically associated with cases in which the defendant displayed reckless behavior with disregard to human life or safety. One of the most common examples in Virginia is a person causing an automobile accident while driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • Why should I be cautious about when dealing with insurance companies in Virginia automobile accident cases?
    People seem to have a general misconception that insurance companies exist to take care of them in their time of need. In fact, just the opposite is true. The insurance industry is notorious for denying the claims of their insured, going so far as to use deceptive techniques to exclude individuals from the compensation they deserve. Insurance companies have a great number of talented attorneys working to ensure that they don't have to pay out a cent more than they have to, and these attorneys deal with injury claims on a daily basis. The bottom line: do NOT trust your insurance company.

    An attorney that has experience in Virginia auto accident cases can help neutralize the insurance company. They deal with defense attorneys on a daily basis and understand what information to disclose at what time. You have probably all heard the terms "ambulance chaser" or "frvilous lawsuit" at some point in your life, common stereotypes of a personal injury lawyer. In working with an experienced, trustworthy Virginai personal injury attorney, however, you will find that these stereotypes DO NOT apply. A good personal injury attorney genuinely cares about your well being and want to see you make a recovery. Unfortunately, sometimes if you deal with insurance companies on your own, they realize that you are inexperienced and infamiliar with the legal process and may take advantage of that fact.
  • What types of personal injury claims does The Warren Firm handle?

    Vaden Warren of The Warren Firm PLLC, a Virginia injury law firm located in Charlottesville, Virginia handles a wide variety of injury cases. He predominately focuses his practice on injuries associated with automobile accidents that occur within the Commonwealth. He also frequently deals with tractor-trailer or semi-truck accidents that occur on Virginia's roads and and highways. If you have been injured in a car accident involving another automobile or truck, and the accident was not your fault, Vaden is highly experienced in getting you the compensation for your injuires that you deserve.

    Vaden also specializes in children’s injury cases. When a child is injured in a car accident or as the result of the negligence of another individual, the legal process differs from that of an adult personal injury case. Vaden Warren has specialized knowledge concerning how to handle a child’s personal injury case in Virginia and will work diligently with you and your child to ensure a fair recovery.

    The Warren Firm also focuses its practice on wrongful death cases. If a loved one has passed away as a direct result of the actions of another individual, Vaden is skilled to deal with the situation. He will work closely with you and your family to make sure that you are compensated for your loss.

    Being that The Warren Firm is a small injury law firm focused on personalized attention for each client, Vaden also accepts the following types of cases: Dog Bites, Bicycle Accidents, Slip and Falls, and Product Liability, but it should be noted that he is unable to take in a high volume of these types of cases unless there is evident liability and significant injuries and damages.

  • What is the difference between a settlement and a verdict?
    In a personal injury case, a settlement occurs when the injured party (plaintiff) and the insurance company of the person who caused the accident (defendant) come to an agreement on a dollar amount as compensation for injuries in return for resolving the case before it is heard in court. A settlement offer can be accepted before a trial date is set or right up to the date of trial. An experienced Virginia personal injury attorney will be able to counsel you on the pros and cons of settling with regards to the detials of your specific injury case.

    A verdict, on the other hand, is a decision made by the jury, either in facor of the plaintiff or in favor of the defense. A decision favorable to the palintiff in a Charlottesville automobile accident case would most likely take the form of "judgment for the plaintiff int he amount of $_____.__" with the dollar amount being the lump sum compensation for injuries that the defendant's insurance company now owes the plaintiff. In facor of the defense would take the simple form of "judgment for the defendant" in which no money is owed.
  • Will my prior conviction of a felony affect my Virginia personal injury case?
    Virginia law allows a person's convictions of a felony to be used for impeachment purposes. For example, if you were involved in a car accident in Charlottesville, Virginia and suffered injuries, and your case had to go to court, you would likely need to testify about how the accident happened, what your injuries were and how they affected you. You would answer the questions about these topics in direct examination by your attorney. The attorney hired by the insurance company would be able to ask you questions during what is called "cross examination." the insurance lawyer can ask you if you have ever been convicted of a felony. If you have, you would need to answer yes. The insurance attorney cannot ask questions that bring the circumstance of the case to the jury's attention. The insurance attorney also cannot ask you in cross examination if you were charged with afelony if you were not convicted. The weight to be given to the fact that you were convicted of the felony is up to the jury and can only be used to determine your credibility.

    The judge at trial may give instruction to the jury that says "During the trial, proff that a witness has been convicted of a felony was admitted. The only purpose for which that evidence was admitted was its effect on his credibility as a witness. You may not consider that evidence as proof of any other issue in the lawsuit."

    To answer the questions, you felony conviction could affect your Charlottesville personal injury case, but it may not. There is little doubt that during the negotiations to resolve the case, the insurance company of their attorney will bring up the issue to try to lessen the settlement. They will also bring up the issue of the case is tried. however, if there are independent witnesses to corroborate how the accident occured, and your injuries are very objective, such as a broken bone or scarring, then the conviction will not likely be much of an issue.
  • Can I make a right turn on a steady red light in Virginia?
    Yes, it is lawful for you to turn right on a solid red light provided that there are no signs places conspiculously which prohibit a right turn on red. Before turning right on red, a driver must come to a complete stop BEHIND the crosswalk and proceed cautiously while yielding to oncoming traffic from the other direction. This law also applies to left turns on ared which are legal on one way highways.
  • If an insurance adjustor calls me after my accident, what information should I tell or not tell him or her?
    If you have been injured in an accident, your best bet is to talk to an attorney BEFORE talking with an insurance adjustor, or at a minimum learning how insurance companies operate. Remember, attorneys represent YOU - they're on your side - while insurance companies are looking to pay you as little as possible. In fact, insurance adjustors are often rewarded for just that. If you talk to an adjustor first, no matter how friendly they seem, you run the risk of saying something that could damage your chances of getting any money to cover your expenses.
  • What is negligence?
    Negligence can be defined as conduct that falls short of what a reasonable person might do to prevent harm to another individual. Specifically in a jury trial in Virginia for personal injury, the jury is instructed that "Negligence is the failure to use ordinary care. Ordinary care is the care a reasonable person would have used under similar circumstances." The term negligence is most often used in reference to personal injury cases. If an injured person can prove that another person did indeed fail to exercise an appropriate level of care, it is possible for the injured person, along with the help of a personal injury lawyer, to collect damages to compensate for medical bills, lost wages, and other physical and emotional consequences suffered as a result of the injury.
  • What and how does a Virginia personal injury attorney charge?
    Most Virginia personal injury attorneys charge a contingency fee, usually one third of the final settlement. Some attorneys may charge up to forty percent for cases considered a higher risk. A contingency fee is a fee that you pay to the attorney if the outcome of your case is successful. Most personal injury attorneys do not charge an hourly rate as they want their services to be affordable in a way that allows the best resolution possible for you.
  • How long does it take to resolve a personal injury case in Virginia?
    When it comes to personal injury law, it is much more important to do things correctly than to get the case settled quickly. Remember, you only have one chance to settle your case. You will not get another trial if the verdict is not what you were expecting or hoping for.

    With that said, many cases will be ripe for settlement within six months to one year after the accident. Other cases involving significant injuries will take longer to progress through the Virginia Courts system. In many areas, it can take well over a year to even get a court date in the local courts.

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